We started our morning with a hot breakfast consisting of eggs, toast, homemade strawberry jelly, and fresh pineapple juice. Yum!!! After breakfast we gathered in the meeting room to wait for transportation to the San Marino School, pre-kindergarden through the tenth grade. The atmosphere of the school was very warm and inviting. All of the students were very eager to learn and practice their English-speaking skills. Most of the student were very shy, but after a short while the students were laughing, hugging, smiling, dancing, and speaking English. All of the students we worked with at the San Marino School were too cute for words. Their smiles warmed up the room as well as your heart.
At the San Marino School, we were separated into three groups and each group was responsible for a different age bracket and conducted a series of activities in the different classrooms. Some of the common activities included: class introductions, number identification, color identification, and animal identification. We worked on their English skills by conversing with the students through song and conversation.One of presentations that the third grade students had prepared for the English festival consisted of knowledge about certain animals. They would characterize themselves as animals of the jungle. They would start out by saying, “Hello! I am a lion. ROAR!” They would state the animal’s characteristics such as where they typically live, what they eat/don’t eat, and the type of animal they are (nice/not so nice).
Beep…..Beep….Beep goes the bell. It’s lunch time! For lunch the school provided a traditional Ecuadorian meal consisting of fish soup and a blend of popcorn, plantain, and corn kernels. Several interesting characteristics is that Ecuadorians add popcorn instead of crackers as well as freshly squeezed lime to their soup.
After our Ecuadorian meal, we had the opportunity to listen to classical Ecuadorian music played by Alberro and Juan Carlos Panchi. It was breathtaking listening to Alberro play the violin with such ease and having Juan Carlos play the undertones with the guitar. Juan Carlos wanted some McKendree memorabilia so Dr. Diuguid whipped out a plush Bogey Bear to give to Juan Carlos as a thank you for hosting McKendree students.
Back on the bus we go…Destination: Vivaldi High School.
The Vivaldi High School was a different experience than the San Marino School. When walking into the classroom, all sorts of emotions were running through our heads: fear, nervousness, anticipation, excitement, and eagerness. However, the atmosphere was very warm and inviting. Many of the students there were excited to see us and interact with people from another culture. Classes consisted of students ranging from fourteen to nineteen years old. Typically, the students asked about our backgrounds, education, and our purpose for visiting their campus. Mainly, the classrooms consisted of one or two students that stood out by their excellent English-speaking skills. Those students acted as interpreters for their fellow classmates.
Following the classroom sessions, the students joined us in the courtyard to take photographs and for socialization. A group of students gathered with a few of the McKendree students to demonstrate their musical and vocal capabilities while playing the guitar. They played various music that consisted of: AC/DC, Guns N Rose, The Doors, Red Hot Chile Peppers, Metallica, and classical Ecuadorian music. It was a captivating experience demonstrating the cross between the cultures of music. This group really expressed their talent and love for music.
Sadly, it was time to go and we had to say goodbye to the students of Vivaldi High School. After a fulfilling day of visiting the students we decided to stop for lunch at the Kario King restaurant where we continue to enrich ourselves with Ecuadorian food consisting of potato soup and chicken, white rice, and veggies.
We came back to the hotel to relax, rejuvenate, and pack for our journey to Tena, Ecuador. Off to the rainforest we go….
Sandra and Andrea