Lyndaloo makes work for her idle hands
Creativity is the name of the game. It started with activity worksheets for the children, then I moved on to an educational game called “Yo Puedo” – I can. And now I have an idea for an activity booklet called “Yo puedo”. The children are forever saying they can’t. I want to prove to them and show them that THEY CAN, because I know they can. Apart from that there’s been a spot of sewing – two shoe bags, two laundry bags and two Bikram yoga bags (with waterproof linings) – hand-stitched, of course. There’s another shoe bag planned with a suede base (the suede salvaged from that rucksack I purchased for school but lasted about two weeks). Oh, and I mended a bag by taking the zipping mechanism from said rucksack and attached it to my beach bag. Shout if you need anything fixing!
From mini to mega
The mini sewing kit I packed is now looking rather impressive after I discovered I had brought two with me and one included a fabulous strawberry pin cushion. Then, I discovered the stationery shop, Gónper, also sells sewing scissors so I bought a pair. The next thing: at the sales in the local supermarket I bought a little plastic box/pencil case which has made a fabulous sewing box. All this creativity has put me into orbit. Not to mention living in such a beautiful country which is still pretty undiscovered, the kindness of the people and the unconditional love of the children I teach. Shhh, it’s my little secret. (Note: Paula and Jeremy Dear give Nicaragua a glowing report in their blog Seventeen by Six).
Here’s one I made earlier…
The first thing I made was a laptop case for the charity director. She wanted a prototype that could be given to someone to create about 40 for the donated netbooks and laptops. Amped for Education has more laptops to give to La Esperanza Granada which means more children can get computer classes. At the moment, around 30 children are given computing classes at any one time. Remember, I said the classes can be enormous, so children at the back of the queue get turned away – but not for long thanks to the donations. What’s really great is that the children who get computing classes advance in reading, writing and arithmetic a lot quicker.
All you need is some sticky-back plastic
After much internet browsing I took to drawing pictures for the children to put syllables alongside and eventually form words. I handed the children my coloured bits of A4 paper which my doodles and they scrunched up the paper. I’ve now stuck them on cardboard and covered them with adhesive cellophane. Blue Peter, eat your heart out! It didn’t stop there … The children say they can’t read so I decided we’d learn how to spell the numbers from 1-20. Co-incidentally, there are 20 of these cards each containing four pictures. Five turned up to class so they were each given four numbers and four words and had to find the matching words and numbers. Result. Then they were given coloured paper and had to draw the numerical number corresponding to the word they had. Result number 2. And, there’s more: I’ve been teaching them the ordinal numbers from 1-20 and they’ve written those numbers on coloured paper and coloured-in the words for the back of these cards, too! It only took me three months to realise that getting the children involved in my education ideas and games would be so much fun for them, and me, and have benefits for future students, too.
Artist in residence
I remember all the stress of art class at school – trying to draw that piece of fruit or that bird that never quite worked out. A complete disaster. In fact, it was much the same for the sewing and cookery classes. I can now draw the human eye and label it in Spanish having drawn it over and over again for about 20 children in third grade who thrust their notebooks at me because they were struggling to draw their own. It was how I’d imagine a Rolf Harris book-signing to be: a pile of notebooks to be doodled in and an eager audience waiting not so patiently. The children seem to think I’m an artist. “Oooh, you drawings are great,” cooed Maribel, 10. Days later she was sniggering at my horse that looked more like a dog. We were all laughing. I’m hoping they get the message that anyone can draw – or at least try.
Always on my mind
I said in the last blog that I think about the children all the time. Sometime’s I wondering what will make them want to come to school or how I can help those who are struggling to make it through. They really enjoyed my worksheets and when I added word searches and the story book there was absolute silence – except for hilarious accusations of copying when the instructions asked for specific colours (“s/he’s copying my colours!” The Nicaraguan flag is blue and white. What’s to copy, I wonder?). One little boy, Juan, 10 was really promising at the start. In fact, I think he’s a really bright boy. But his story’s much the same as many others: he was looking after a relative – his grandfather. He fell so far behind that I put together nine elementary worksheets for him. Sadly, he hasn’t attended any more classes. Sometimes I think the children fall so far behind they’re too frightened to come back to school. I hope he comes back soon so we can work together and get him reading and writing.
The children are so kind – actually, that goes for the whole nation. A man on my route to school one day stopped me and gave me a bag full of mangoes. From the children I have received: mangoes, lollipops, biscuits, a mariñon, mamones, pictures, a hand-made paper fan and lots of hugs.
Where you at, yogini?
Er, yes, this is meant to be a blog through the eyes of a Bikram yogini. Sadly, my yoga has taken a backseat. However, I do miss it, greatly. I miss it so much I dream about it most nights. Generally, it’s about my local studio, which in my dream, seems to have gone downhill in my absence. I’m looking forward to resuming my practice very soon. In the meantime, I have two lovely trial Bikram yoga bags. With my sewing machine and the right materials I can make better versions and sell them!
To be continued…