Expectations are SOOOO Overrated!

Monday in Farallon:  This morning we all woke up with a plan. The construction people were going to be helping the contractor build a bathroom in a house, the ESL group was planning on going right into the school and doing what they told us to do, but guess what, we learned very quickly that plans, expectations and even ideas are so overrated!

After eating our great home cooked breakfast the ESL group walked down with Mark Upton to the school, located only 3 doors down from his house. We got there right at 8 o’clock expecting to see all the kids ready to go. But no, ten minutes later kids are still trickling into their class rooms. Everything was VERY laid back, kids would just walk in and out of their class room as they pleased. We would be teaching one grade and in the door way we see little kids from all different ages peeking their heads in just to see what was going on, then they would wander around a bit before returning to their class rooms, most of the times the teacher wouldn’t even realize that they had left, and even if they did know that the kid was gone, they didn’t care. The Panamanian life is just so different, they have no schedules, their lives are not structured, if something comes up, then that is what they will be doing for the day.  They don’t need to check their calendars, or make arrangements, they just go. While the lifestyle is very nice at times it makes it a little bit hard to teach because the kids feel the freedom to do what they want, but the classes were very successful in my opinion. Today the ESL group taught the kids the months of the year, and while we were expecting a little bit of English background to work with, what we had planned still worked awesome with the kids’ minimal knowledge of the English language.

Construction: (from Karen Cuellar)

We were planning on 2 construction sites in Farallon.  Each site must have an harbanillo (construction supervisor), and our job is just to do what they ask of us at each site.  Well, as our title implies, we did not have a leader at the second site, so that group transitioned easily to the school to weed the yard for the morning.  They were surprised when the students would just walk out of their classrooms to help them.  At the bathroom site, our group learned how to sift sand through a wire grate so it could be mixed with concrete mix.  They asked us to bring the sand inside their house, and we mixed the concrete right on their living room floor!  That was a surprise.  Then we carried in bricks to the harbanillo who built the cement wall to outline the bathroom.  It was neat to see how they didn’t need all the fancy tools that we in the States see as necessities.  These guys cut rebar with a hand saw, cut holes in the walls with a chisel and hammer and used a string for leveling.  We were soaked in sweat but are richer for the experience.  I may or may not have conked out after lunch :-)

As this post is getting a bit lengthy, I think I will close for today and update you on our VBS efforts later.  Thanks for reading this and praying for us daily.