David and Nancy Slinde Speaking at their "Sending Service"

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Another Bang

Projects, programs, possibilities, pastors, people - - - they all seem to pile up at once. After 6 months of waiting, moving and immersion, the mission began like the shot of a starter gun.

One Sunday afternoon, one of the pastors and his leadership team arrived at our gate. We had had a meeting at the church a week earlier to discuss their interests – education for Nancy and a business proposal for David were top on their list. They told us they had a meeting scheduled the next morning, Monday, with one community to determine their priorities. We received a phone call in that afternoon to learn they wanted English classes to begin TOMORROW!

One of the leaders came to our house on Tuesday afternoon to join us on the journey so we could know the bus route and arrival place. The location is in a yard under a tree along with the cows and chickens. Another great surprise was the class itself. We were told about 15 students ages 10 to 15 so the lesson was prepared with that expectation.

Actually, there were 30 students, ages 5 – 20. The first class could be viewed two ways: as a disaster or as a learning experience for the teacher and her assistant. We’ll choose the latter. Besides the heat and animals and terrified students was the incredible education range from K through 9. We all survived and we are bonding as we learn together. Another interesting component is that as I use my limited Spanish to teach them, often I get blank looks. Their leader explains “we don’t say that – our word is in Nahuat”, so we are also learning the native language.

The students came without paper or pencils, but we came with supplies. We have been purchasing supplies for the visual and writing experience. We also purchased a printer for producing ESL material. All material is custom made for each class. Think about prep time for each

We now have 4 classes that meet on Tuesday, Friday and 2 on Sunday in two different communities. We are proceeding slowly but surely. The sizes and ranges of the classes continue to astound us. We have a 21 year old who is in 4th grade, an 18 year old in first grade, and a 16 year old in 1st year of high school, a 17 year old in the 2nd year, an 18 year old in the 3rd and a 26 year old university graduate. There is also the usual mix of grades and ages. Talk about different learning systems and maturity. We are hoping that after we have a solid foundation of basics we can find time to split into more appropriate learning levels. At this time, we have about 120 students with more to come.

Time is a critical factor as now we are working with an NGO on a project for women, a business project for the church, a potential project with the mayor of Batres, and we are waiting to hear from two more zone churches about their interests. Everyday is a new experience and a new opportunity.

David y Nancy