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Connecting with the students

For some reason I never announced to our group that today is my day, Thursday, which comes from the Norse expression for Thor’s day! Happy to stay mindful of that fact to myself, I was able to move peacefully into sharing the Message of the Day by one of my personal heroes, Thich Nat Hahn. I was happy to share a somewhat difficult topic with the group given that I have strong feeling about the topic of global warming.

Our day at Colegio went somewhat predictably with Ali, Laura, Mark and their daughters, Mara and Madeline, going off to the biodigester excavations, while Mary and I headed off to Jorleiny’s room to help her class begin their conversational English practice.


An outdoor English class activity

Jorleiny is a somewhat short, but extremely dedicated instructor with an eye for fashion and seemingly impossible to wear but exceedingly fashionable footwear. Given my own perambulation difficulties, I am always in awe of anyone who can wear stilettos on uneven ground that actually resembles the foothills of the Andes. After morning break, Mary and I went back to work with the students, while Ali, Laura, Mark, and their daughters returned to flinging dirt.

While working in the classroom with the students was rewarding I couldn’t help but respect all the hard work put into excavations for the biodigester, especially by Laura, Mark, and Ali. Based on our earlier conversations with Karen, the Technical Director at Colegio, the trenching for the biodigester supply lines was significantly ahead of schedule, and it was clear to me that those three in particular had really put their hearts into the work.

In fact, the excavations were so far ahead of schedule that the crews had finished the trenching and were now excavating a large pit for the biodigestor tank. Back in the classrooms it was truly amazing to watch Mary work so hard to connect with all the students.  Given her smile and the twinkle in her eye, even the most unmotivated student would look up from their cell phones and participate. At lunch we were all presented with a huge amount of food and we shared a humorous story or two.


Digging the pit for the biodigester


Working hard to dig a 6-foot-deep pit!

After lunch, I helped out at the dig site for a few hours while Mara and Maddy helped students with their English. We all finished up around 4 p.m. and went off to prepare for our celebration dinner at a nearby restaurant. With colorful drinks in hand we toasted our successful volunteer adventure and shared stories about our lives at home. After our dinner, all of us but Mary took the taxi back into town to fetch crepes for dessert.


Mary and Mara in English class

Entry submitted by: Thor  

Message of the Day – Thor: “By eating meat, we share the responsibility of climate change, the destruction of our forests, and the poisoning of our air and water. The simple act of becoming a vegetarian will make a difference in the health of our planet.” – Thích Nhat Hanh, The World We Have: A Buddhist Approach to Peace and Ecology


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