29.09.2009 91 °F
The Adventures of Tortilla Man
About a week ago or so, I heard the familiar call of the tortilla man making rounds on his dirt bike. “Tortillas! Tortillas!” in his smiling, feminine voice. I’m a regular peeping Tom these days and leaned over our breakfast nook and down into the street to see if Tortilla Man had any takers. As luck would have it, he did. One of my more outgoing neighbors, a strapping young lad of around 4, is a regular customer. He was standing inside his gated entryway answering “Tortillas!” And that is when I noticed the upstanding citizen of Villa Florencia, San Pedro Sula, Honduras, was wearing no pants. The Tortilla Man pulled up and asked how many they wanted etc., the older brother was there to do the actual purchase. And when the older boy ran into the house to get money, the pant-less one proceeded to bend over and pull his shirt up so the Tortilla Man could really learn to appreciate the true wonders of his being. The Tortilla Man laughed and I imagine, told him to put his shirt down. Then my wee neighbor laughed and skidded into the house to, I can only assume, eat tortillas.
6th Grade Spelling: Flirt
I gave a spelling test, also known as a dictation, on Monday. Their directions were to spell the 20 words dictated to them and then pick 15 to define. From Unit 4, their third spelling word was flirt. Ivonne Marie wrote on her test, the following:
3. Flirt: To talk lovely to someone.
Charming. And not at all what I said in class but I might just write Webster’s and recommend a new definition.
A Honduran Culinary Triumph
Take a little baggy. Pour in some milk, sugar and peanuts. Ingredients may vary. You made also add corn flakes or other cereal, chocolate sauce, brown sugar, vanilla. Put in the freezer. When completely frozen, take from the freezer, tear a corner off from the baggy and enjoy. No tengo palabras. Que rico!
A Tale from 4th, 5th, and 6th Grade
-5th: We are reading “Number the Stars,” a Holocaust story. We were reading a different Holocaust story in sixth grade two weeks before and it was a total bust. I planned this whole presentation and kids were not interested. So I had no hope for the fifth graders and didn’t plan anything. I was going to jump right into vocabulary but I couldn’t help myself, I had to give them some background. The next thing I knew I couldn’t get the kids to shut up. They had to tell me everything they knew about Hitler or the Nazis or movies about the Holocaust they’ve seen. As our conversation progressed the kids started asking, “Why? Why did Hitler hate the Jews? Why did this happen?” We talked a little and then I asked them why they think it is important to talk about the Holocaust? After some thought, one of them answered, “So that we never let it happen again.” And I just about started weeping. Isn’t that what every teacher lives for? The next teacher basically had to drag me out of the classroom.
-6th: I picked out a stack of books from the library for the sixth graders to choose from and read at home. I picked mostly books I’ve read so that none of them would be able to get away with anything. One of them did get into our Holocaust section and picked “The Diary of Anne Frank” and is almost done with it. Another picked “The Giver” and asked me if I could talk to the principle and ask if he could buy it from the school. I fought reading for so long when I was their age. "Few things leave a deeper mark on a reader than the first book that finds its way into his heart."(Shadow of the Wind) And to think I could be an instrument in that is more than I could ask for in my teaching experience. Some of mine were “Secret Garden,” “True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle,” “The Protector of the Small” series, “The Giver,” “Ender’s Game,” “The Hobbit.” I can’t believe I used to hate reading.
-4th: There is nothing currently redeeming about 4th grade. Eating cockroaches is more appealing to me than walking into that classroom.
I just played my first night game. One of my original daydreams about my life here was to start playing futbol. To keep away the sting of cabin fever, I’ve been tromping over to the home to see if I could round some of the girls up. I have come to learn and accept the fact that I am just a breeze across the mighty and vast ocean that is these girls. This is their show and I'm here for the ride. Without being thoroughly self-depreciative, let’s just say these girls are fierce and the two years of soccer in my youth did not carry to adulthood. Futbol runs in their blood, as Hannah rightly said. Come blood, sweat, or the absence of shoes, they know no boundaries on the concha. I've been struggling with finding my place with these girls but I think I've found my in and I've never felt more at home.
- A note on the political situation--things are getting more complicated. The temporary government issued a statement a few days ago that took many of the civil liberties such as freedom of speech and peaceful protest away. Because of international outrage at this, they quickly rescinded. But there's been no headway. Our surrounding walls have been peppered with graffiti, rumored to have been done by a gang funded by Zelaya. One of the teachers I work with didn't go to his second job today because the school is only paying supporters of Zelaya, the ousted president.
These people love their country and desire peace. Be mindful of the bias in the media. Keep Honduras and the safety of its citizens in your prayers.
Buenos Noches, mi familia. Gracias por su suporta y oraciones.