a BIG school in the little community of Ranchoito

We had been invited to a large rural school – to actually do several different things, but as we would need to fund each project ourselves, we agreed to come to share a book and then to do an art project with the students.  With 600 kids to work with and a relatively small budget we needed to get creative with our plan! The school is about 20 minutes outside of town and they have very limited resources.  We were told that although each student has a pencil, this pencil is collected at the end of class and stays at school.  We were also told that most kids probably would not have any pens or pencils at home.  With this information we decided to do an activity that would incorporate pencils.  We also wanted to share a book and promote reading as being fun – so, we brought out our Super Ladybug Girl book knowing we could all go in our bug costumes as the bug squad…We landed on making bug pencil toppers!

We thought this would be easy enough for the kids, fun, and something we could do quickly! The truth is, we had no idea what we were about to get ourselves into!

It was a hard morning.  As much as we’d love to say it went great, we left feeling whooped! Exhausted and a bit frazzled! They were trying to get us in to each class, and so we were in a constant rush.  Unable to really engage the students as much as we had hoped, frustrated with teachers who would not just let the kids do the project by themselves.  We were surprised when we were invited back…and for some reason we said YES!

We came back knowing a little more what our day would look like.  We had talked a lot as a family about how to better engage the kids – even if we were rushed again.  We also talked about ways to encourage the kids to try the activity.  One of our frustrations the first time was teachers doing the project for the kids, or kids just sitting there waiting for us to do it for them.  Our materials were pipe cleaners and pom poms – we knew they could do it!  We  tried out an old training formula we’ve used with our family for years, for learning how to do many different things.  If it works for learning how to put away dishes and clean toilets, maybe it will work to make a bug pencil topper out of a pipe cleaner! Step 1 is “I Do” – Show how it is done.  Step 2 is “We Do” – We try it together.  and Step 3 is “You Do” – Time to try it out on your own.  Thankfully this worked about 75% of the time!  It was still an exhausting day, but we left feeling really good about our time at the school and with the students! Thank you Jesus for walking with us one more day.

We’ve been busy in Chinandega! REALLY REALLY BUSY…and heart broken every single day by worse and worse poverty – and then God shows up in little ways and BIG ways to show us He is near.  It’s true, He is VERY near to these people we just weep for.  And, He is near to us too!

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