W is for….

Looking back through the last several entries, I realise that I have not written anything about work of late, so I started worrying in case people think we aren’t doing any, so this is a little blog about work.
Last week and this week I have been out at the children’s home in San Marcos. There’s a page about the children’s home on our main site with some pics if you want to find out more. School broke up for the summer holidays, and the plan is that I am going to spend a couple of days a week “catching up” a few of the kids in the home before the start of the next school year. These last two weeks I have been using some new literacy material from Alfalit. Alfalit have a website, at www.alfalit.org (You may find the front page of their website rather patronising, in a “helping the poor helpless” sort of way, but if you get beyond the front page, they are a key organisation in literacy work in Latin America, and their materials are pretty solid.) I have two kids who have never been to school and have no idea what to do with a pen, and another two kids who have missed a lot of school and have some massive gaps. There’s another lad who I’m not quite sure where to start with, but I ought to be gathering up sometime soon, and another girl who hasn’t been picked up yet, but she’s next in line particularly for numeracy.

At the moment I am working with all the kids individually. Initially I tried to do group activities, but their needs are very different, and their concentration is not that good, so they distract each other too much, which means that I’m now teaching them one after the other. This is pretty intense. When I am not teaching, then I spend most of the time outside playing with the kids, or hanging out with the older ones. San Marcos is in a great location, so once a trip, I try and escape for an hour or so and have a walk, which is a joy and delight to be out of the big city and enjoying the hills or the river.

Back in Cordoba, we are visiting in the Hospital Rawson on Thursdays, which I wrote about in a previous blog entry. Today we met some new people, and had some good chats, as well as visiting “old” friends who have been in for a long time. One of my ongoing tasks is to produce some sort of simple gospel presentation in leaflet form which we can use in the hospital, which isn’t in tiny print, doesn’t use unhelpful jargon, and doesn’t use an antiquated version of the Bible. We started by going to the Christian bookshop, but all of their material failed on at least two of the three counts, so the next line was “Hazel, you’re good with a computer…” At the moment what I am working on is an incongruous mix between “Two ways to live” (bland, simplistic, but accessible) and the Nicene Creed (beautiful but completely inaccessible). Trying to reduce the gospel in its entirety onto a folded sheet of A4 in large print has given me a new respect for the writers of both the Nicene Creed and Two ways to live, even though I loathe the triteness of the latter.

At the weekend, we were at Barrio Sacchi on Sunday, and church in the evening. Last Sunday in the afternoon I was doing some preparation for teaching the kids at San Marcos, during which I made the important discovery that the material which my finger is made out of is less robust than the closed cell foam which I was cutting letter shapes out of. In the background, sometimes the foreground, and sometimes blocking out the sun altogether, we are mired in two lots of admin, one with the immigration office, and the other over health insurance, although on the immigration front, we think we might have finally collected enough rubber stamps. We were there on Monday, and they’ve now told us to come back mid January.

Tomorrow we are taking the day off!

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