What words can be used to describe Las Caritas in Cien Fuegos? There are not many words that will do my service site justice, but if I had to come up with a few they would be: loving, full of joy, and hopeful. Loving because I have received nothing but love since I entered this country; full of joy because all of the children smile from ear to ear no matter what is going on in their lives; and hopeful because these children have so much potential, they just need a push and someone to have hope in them in order to get them to reach their potential.
These are just a handfull of children. Most days we had
anywhere from 20-30 kids.
When I walked into the doors of Las Caritas for the first time with Kailee, we did not know what we were getting ourselves into. We were told to come ready to teach English so we were armed with simple phrases, numbers, and colors, and our Spanish-English dictionaries. Little did we know that they have very short attention spans and very loud voices. It was a difficult first day, but we got through it. On Mondays we taught English for about 30 minutes (short attention spans, remember?) and then played Pato, Pato, Gonzo (Duck, Duck, Goose) or baseball which is by far their favorite game to play. On Wednesdays we helped to keep the kids under control during art class and then played more games with them when they were done drawing, painting, crafting, etc. Throughout the semester during English class we have taught the children fruits, veggies, numbers, colors, simple phrases, days and months of the year, articles of clothing, simple verbs, and simple songs including Frosty the Snowman!
The infamous Pato, Pato, Gonzo
Throughout the semester we learned the quirks of all the kids. Estarlin is a spicy fourteen year old who will most likely grow up being a jevito or a tiguere (English translation would be something along the lines of Lil’ Bow Wow in the late 90’s, early 00’s). Clari and Leidy are in their pre-teens and usually end up taking control of the class when everyone is a little out of control. Jeson (pronounced hay-sun, English would be Jason) is a quiet ten year old who is all smiles and full of loving to give. Yordin is a VERY sassy eleven year old girl who knows a ton of English and is very intelligent. Michele is also eleven years old and very self-conscious; it is very apparent that she wishes she had lighter skin, which is considered “good” in the DR.
I could go on and on for hours about these wonderful children and what I have taught them, but that would be pointless. My time at Las Caritas has been spent teaching English and in turn learning Spanish. I have been preaching respect and have been returned with never ending love. I have given them silly bandz, paper, colored pencils, and chalk, and have received kisses, hugs, and high fives. They have taught me much more than I could have ever taught them, and I am forever grateful for that.
Chelsea and Kailee
Chelsea and Kailee