a little wiser, a little more humble

Thursday dawned blue and bright with the promise of another memorable day in Beja.  The countdown has begun to the end of our journey, and the realization that we will be arriving back home a little wiser, a little more humble and a lot more full.

Reba had a good afternoon tutoring one-on-one with her 3 students.  She used a variety of teaching tricks including everything from her candid pictures to “Mary-Had-A-Little-Lamb.”   Her future futbol player-student along with Manuel and Raquel all showed progress from the previous session.Arlene continued her tutoring with “Ke” which has turned into quite the renaissance session, with discussions on literature, poetry, and philosophy and even a little Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson and Laurel and Hardy thrown in.   Sounds like a lively discussion.
Mary and Joe had an interesting tutoring experience…teaching English to 11 teachers at the Santa Maria school.  The levels were all basic to advance but one take-away they had is the sadness about how possessing a negative attitude, such as the one displayed by a young teacher, can impact your life, and those around you.   Unfortunately, that type of thinking has the same affect the world over…but can be especially harmful in a country like Portugal.
Joe continued his Portuguese Ringling Brothers routine with Barbara’s granddaughter and her friend…which resulted in a relaxed yet productive tutoring session with lots and lots of laughs.  He rounded out his day by joining Luis at the library for a couple of hours of conversation.
The Polytechnic Trio (Bobbie, Diane and Paul) had an inspirational and emotional day with each of their two classes presenting their end-of-class reports.  Each student talked about influences in their lives and we heard many wonderful stories about books, movies, songs and, of course, the special people that played a role in our special students’ lives.  There were some very emotional moments and each student had a “break-through”, no matter how small or large, in being able to stand in front of the class and be vulnerable and confident as they “thought and talked” in English.   Quite the day indeed!
The Beja team capped off Thursday with a lovely hosted dinner at the Santa Maria school…although with a couple of empty tables, we were not quite sure who else was supposed to be there.  But that did not matter as the food was delicious and was served in a very quaint setting by a friendly and very proud school staff.  We were entertained by the effervescence of Carlos, serenaded by Ke, and some of us were given an exclusive private tour of the Science lab by our new friend Oracio…who has been working for 53 years in Beja… and for 29 years at this school.  What a charmer!
On our return to the hotel, we could reflect on what a charming place Beja is…and nature seemed to agree….as she provided a much needed gift of rain to our special home with its warm and wonderful heart.  It truly was a good night for all.
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