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Visiting Schools in Rural Colombia - Tattered Passports
Visiting Schools in Rural Colombia

In our previous post about teaching in Monteria, I mentioned that Kon and I were fortunate enough to be placed in two of the highest performing public schools in Monteria. So when my mentor, Yanalis, offered us the opportunity to visit rural schools outside Monteria, we immediately agreed.

 


 

We caught a ride with the principal of one of the schools and started the hour long drive. Crammed tightly in a sedan with the principal, Yanalis, and another fellow, Anna, from France, we happily watched the fields of corn and pastures pass by.

 

 

Arriving at the first school, the principal asked us to say a few words. Unprepared, I said something along the lines of, “Hello, My name is Chelsie. I am from Wisconsin in the United States where it is very cold. (shiver dance) I am happy to be in Colombia.” Not my greatest introduction but the students didn’t hear a thing- they were too busy staring at the three of us. Most of these kids had never travelled more than 30 km outside their home, nevertheless met a foreigner. They were intrigued to say the least.

 

 

After we all introduced ourselves, we joined the English teachers from the school and went to a local woman’s house for a bite to eat. We were served the traditional thick Costaño cheese, eggs, and yucca. For desert, we had café con leche, or maybe it was hot chocolate? We couldn’t tell what we were drinking but it was DELICIOUS. It came with a coating of crème that rose to the lip of the mug.

 

This guy kept us company while we ate.

 


 

The second school was a bit bigger and we were lucky enough to be given a tour of the premises by the principal. The first room we peaked our heads into had a group of kindergarteners who stole our hearts. I mean, look at those little faces!!!! I’m still melting.

 

Cutest group of kindergarteners!

 

Those little faces!!

 

Next, we stopped by a few English classrooms to introduce ourselves and take some necessary “selfies”, as they called them, with the students.

 

 

When Yanalis pulled all of the other teachers into a meeting, us foreigners were left to ourselves in the courtyard. Naturally, students flocked to come say hi to the gringos. However, these students were super shy so most of them would come up and say, “HELLO!” , giggle and run back to their pack of friends. Eventually, we coaxed some students into practicing introductions using a broken mixture of English and Spanish. Once we let on that we knew A SMALL amount of Spanish, the flood gates opened. Students started speaking at a hundred miles an hour in heavily accented Spanish which led to gestures and dances in an effort to communicate with one another.

 

This high schooler could speak a bit of English and helped translate. He insisted on a photo together. : )

 

After the students shared all of their favorite English-speaking singers, and commentary, they eventually ran out of intrusive questions to ask. Colombian students don’t have much of a filter, which can be equal parts refreshing and traumatizing. For example, one of the older boys was being flirty so I told him, “Kon es mi novio.” And once they knew Kon and I were a couple, they immediately wanted us to kiss. Although inappropriate, it was mostly funny. We deflected by saying our goodbyes and taking a few more selfies.

 

Meeting some English teachers and their students!

 

On the ride back home, I couldn’t help but smile. The day had made my heart so full. Time and time again, it’s always proven that the people that have the least are often times the happiest. This is Colombia- beautiful, welcoming, and undeniably jovial.

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