Hello hello lovely people reading this.
In two weeks time I am going to be jetting off to Cuba for Easter week with my adopted family; the Goddard clan! In the meantime, our second term here is coming to a close meaning I only have 2 months left of teaching in this beautiful country.
I honestly cannot put into words how much the time has flown by here, in the back of my mind we are going home in just over 4 months (so soon!) but I would never want to wish away the days here.
For those of you who don’t know, I am teaching Art here for kids in 1st-4th grade, so ages 5-12 (roughly). In 1st and 2nd grade we have been travelling the world in Art!
We started off with the Dominican Republic with the sugar cane fields that surround us here in the south, then up into the mountains where they grow strawberries in Constanza, then to the North coast to find white sand beaches and whales! From there we flew all the way down to the Amazon and found all sorts of colourful birds and animals living in the rainforest. Then we sailed across to Africa and hiked through the desert, spotting giraffes and elephants when we were lucky. After that we swam all the way down to Australia following dolphins, turtles and schools of fish. Our final stop was Japan just in time to see the cherry blossom before heading back home to the DR.
3rd and 4th grade were focusing on different types of art from all around the World. The four types we focused on were Taino (native to the Carribean), Aboriginal (work by indigenous Australian people), the Ndebele Tribe (South Africa) and Mosaic designs from Italy.
A major event this term was the Carnival on the 27th February which marks Independence Day! Izzy and I spent the weekend in Santiago with the other Project Trust volunteers and joined the carnival parade in La Vega! The costumes were absolutely incredible. The photos below show the Diablo Cojuelo (Limping Devil) who carries a whip or “Vejiga” (an animal bladder filled with air) which is used to hit people down the street, and trust me it hurts! The mask is supposed to represent the Spaniards who came and enslaved and whipped the natives on the island.
We also had our own celebrations in the school and made masks in art and dressed up in our own carnival outfits! The kids below are dressed as Tainos (the native Dominicans).
The last two weeks have been tougher as all of the schools have been on ‘huelga’ – strike. Luckily our school was only on half day strike, but it has been much harder to teach the kids as we have only been having half the number of usual classes. The reason for the strike was that the government were refusing to pay for the food (lunch, and bread and milk for breakfast), and without the food we were not able to have afternoon classes. This is especially difficult in a community as poor as ours as the families rely on this food as the main meal of the day for their children, and the poorest families cannot afford to feed their children so this is the only food they receive. Thankfully we are back to normal now though.
It is now getting dark and I can hear mosquitoes incredibly keen for a taste of me, so I will sign off here!
I hope you enjoyed the update and have also seen my most recent Vlog.