* Michelle Thoughts, * Peace Corps

Project Update: Part Two

A continuation from Project Updates by Michelle

Taking a break at Bluefields
Taking a break at Bluefields

Secondary Projects: Other things I’ve worked on outside of literacy pull-out groups, include:

  • Website and online marketing for family-friendly event by our host mom
  • Created marketing materials and signs for local organizations and businesses
  • Supported strategic planning meeting at The Source community center
  • Assisted in editing The Source rental agreement, volunteer training outline, and operations manual
  • Face painting at the school fair
  • Tech assistance for parent workshops at the school

In the works: I’m helping the school apply for a small grant to support a “Productive Classroom Environment Project” which includes
construction of partitions between each class where there are currently only chalkboard dividers. It’s a good lesson in community organizing as the bulk of the preparation and work must be done by the teachers and parents who may be either over-committed or not interested in putting out extra effort. I also want to work with a few of the class clowns in grades 4, 5, and 6 to use their dramatic energy in a productive way by preparing skits for school functions.

CultureHearing and understanding patois continues to get easier the longer we’re here. Two of my new favorite phrases from the kids at school are, “Mi NAH romp wit’ yuh!” (literally: I’m not romping with you) and “’Top yuh nize!” (literally: stop your noise). The first is used when another kid is picking on you, playing too rough, or going to get you both in trouble, so you tell him emphatically that you’re not going playing like that with him. The second is basically like “shut your mouth” and it sounds best when they say it twice fast.

My most recent Jamaican friends are two ladies who just re-opened a little produce stand near our house, on the roadside where I walk to and from the school each day. Yesterday they commiserated with me about the state of the school system and lack of parental involvement in academics. They were shocked to learn how many of the students at my school are so far behind in reading. It’s nice to meet people who feel passionately that things should be better.


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