Sunday, July 20, 2008

San Jose Espinero...aka "Middle of NOWHERE"

Sorry to leave you hanging for a while there! You've probably all moved on to bigger and better blogs by now ;-)
So, Thursday was amazing because I got to go to a little village (I don't know if it even qualifies for the title of village) called San Jose Espinero. When Mily told me about the school she tried to explain that it was far, far away but I had no idea! Since I still had the rental car I gave all the teachers a ride on the way. It was about 6:30 AM when we left so I made sure to have some good WAKE-UP music thumping in the car and we made our way up the hill.
I dropped all the teachers off along the way until we got to the last school which marked the entrance/trailhead to San Jose Espinero. The principal of the school quickly gathered 7 little rascals to help me carry the 45 lbs of books down the hill.
They were excited to help and even more excited to get out of school for the day! We started down the steep, muddy trail and I could immediately tell that these little guys had me beat on all levels. First, they all had rubber boots (like the kind you use to pour concrete) and second, they were well accustomed to these trails. I somehow managed to keep up with them without falling on my butt. One of the kids insisted that he was strong enough to carry an entire set of encyclopedias (about 20 lbs) in his backpack. I tried to convince him to divide the books between the kids but he seemed to be doing fine with the strap looped around his forehead.
After about an hour of hiking we got to the school and surprised the teacher. He rarely receives visitors due to the location of his school. It was thrilling to see his excitement when I announced the reason for our visit. This school was in serious need of books. It was a one-room school house with grades K-6 all in one room. There was no electricity or running water but there they were nonetheless. They were in the middle of a simple English lesson when we arrived so they took advantage of my presence to work on their pronunciation. All of the kids (and the teacher) are fluent in Spanish and a local dialect so when they learn English they'll be tri-lingual. The kids who know dialect usually have an easier time pronouncing English words because they have a wider range of sounds in their language.
We read a few stories and then let the kids have a recess to play a game of soccer. The two schools are basically rivals and they play each other every chance they can. The funny part is that the traveling team always loses because they have to hike an hour to get to the soccer! It was fun to watch them have so much fun! We had to head back right after the soccer game so I stopped by a little store and got the kids some "gasoline" (aka CocaCola and Doritos) for the trip back up the hill. The hike back was even harder because it was like climbing stairs nearly the entire hike (kinda like Camelback Mtn.). The kids were tired from playing soccer but we managed to make it back to the school with very few rests. It was an amazing hike! Oh, I almost forgot to mention that there were tons of little rivers and waterfalls all along the pathway and, in the distance, we could even see the largest waterfall in Central America (Chilascó). It was beautiful!

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