​I can’t believe it’s only Monday. The whole “work every day” thing is starting to mess with my head to the point where I have no idea what day of the week it is anymore. It’s like I’m back in college again, and that’s an experience I vowed to never repeat. When we finally get to a day when I have nothing scheduled, I’m going to need to do some hardcore vegetating (preferably on a couch with a blanket and snacks) to make up for all of this go go going.

The winning tower. It was exactly my height 5′-7″ (170 cm), and I was terrified that it was going to fall on me when I was measuring it.

The kids doing a team building activity where the ground is lava and you can only stand on the bricks to get from the start to the finish.

We had Ingrid’s group, the oldest kids, for class this morning. Debbie had to bail on me to work on a time-sensitive project, so it was just me and Ingrid trying to manage the class. That’s great, except that Ingrid and I have some communication issues (aka she only speaks Spanish, and she speaks really quickly which makes it even harder for me to comprehend). Debbie explained some things to Ingrid ahead of time, but we still had to work out a few kinks during class. That consisted of Ingrid asking me things in Spanish, me squinting at her like I was brainless, her repeating herself, me responding with something that may or may not actually be relevant, her giving me a weird look, and me resorting to miming and charades (luckily, I’m a master of charades). To say that things went smoothly would be an outright lie, but I think I can honestly say that things went okay. The kids finished all of the challenges way more quickly than anticipated which left us with a bunch of extra time at the end, and we just gave them some free time to play until lunch.

Working on his map… Check out those road lines!

After lunch, we were back with Vanessa’s kids. Thankfully, Debbie was back. We talked about what kinds of things there are in cities (building types, roads/parks/plazas, rivers/hills/mountains, etc), looked at some examples of cities around the world (in video and photo formats… never have I ever before watched so many drone videos), and had the kids draw their own “maps”, including some of the building types we talked about, plus roads and a city border. Some of them took a little coaxing to get involved in the activity, but for the most part, they did a great job and came up with some cool drawings. One kid drew his dream beach house on one side of the paper and his city on the other, with a road connecting the two. Another kid got so detailed that he even put yellow lines in the middle of the roads.

Hard at work!

I was feeling pretty wiped after classes, but instead of having the usual free time before dinner, we had a meeting (Tony Kay, Jim, Julie, Debbie, and I) to talk about the service team that’s coming down next week. Esperanza de Ana, like many other international ministries, gets teams coming in from the US for weeklong service trips. I really appreciate the way those trips are approached by the team here. Often, weeklong trips are not very successful at utilizing the skills of the team members and filling a real need of the ministry. Here, everyone puts a lot of thought into how the team members will spend their time. They take an inventory of skills before making a plan and then try to come up with projects that are necessary and utilize people’s talents.
That’s all beside the point though. The point is, we all have a lot of extra things to do this week and weekend, plus next week, in order to make the whole process go smoothly. My biggest responsibility is cooking for the team. Luckily, since Delia (the chef) is here during the week, that only consists of one dinner and making scrambled eggs in the morning. I can definitely handle that.

For now though, I need to get to bed. If I’m going to survive the next two weeks, I have to take advantage of every opportunity to rest.

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