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Another Day at the Orphanage




Right then, my coteacher showed up today and she's bringing her friends in to teach English for the rest of the week. She offered to me the opprotunity to piss off for the rest of the week, but I turned her down. Going into the school twice a week has become a fixed part of my schedule that I really enjoy. Despite having an extra load of intensive classes dumped in my lap at the last minute I went to the school on Monday and rescheduled my classes for another time this week.

The kids seemed a bit surprised that I had taken the effort to make my way down to their place to organize a new time. I'm guessing they've gone through quite a few other teachers before me. It felt pretty good to be able to reassure them that I wasn't going anywhere. I also think they gained something from the respect I showed them as well.

Rather than just treating them like people who ought to be grateful I'm bothering to show up at all I pointedly wanted to demonstrate to them that I'm showing up because I take them seriously. I also try to take the time to shake their hands and thank them after each lesson to try to build the idea that this situation is going to be a long term one. I will be sure though to keep to our regular times in the future because apparently they have a bit of a siesta/nap time right after lunch that I interupted.

Despite being a bit tired and cranky looking the kids and the adults at the orphanage got out of their beds fairly quickly and made their way to class when I showed up at 1 pm. The lesson was simple as I was able to build off the morning's lesson of, "Do you like___?" that my coteacher taught them. She had stuck to the material in the book, which allowed me to broaden the concept by getting them to identify things they like that come from their surroundings. I finished the lesson by playing a couple games and doing a bit of pair work.

After the lesson I asked them what time they wanted to schedule for thursday's lesson. After a bit of hand waving, writing numbers on the board, and head scratching they requested 2 pm. The entire point of me asking was to make them feel like they are in control of their lives and I'm not some random element who is there to get a feel good moment on my vacation. Not that volunteering on your vacation is a bad thing.

However, keep in mind that young kids like these have alot of people trample through their lives. If you are going to be volunteering short term be very straight forward about it. Keep the kids in the loop about your pending departure time and don't make a promise unless you are ready and willing to follow through with it. I haven't seen any of this mentality at this orphange and I'm hoping I won't be seeing it in the future.

After finishing class I took a few pictures with those students who allowed me to take them. I asked before hand because these are human beings and not people at the zoo. By giving them the choice I make them feel like they are humans and not the objects of my pity. A couple opted not to have their pictures taken and seemed quite happy that I asked. The two girls who decided against their pictures being taken were allowed to stand off to the side and laugh at their peers.

Well to be truthful I was trying to poke one of them in the ribs and hold my camera at the same time. So they might have been laughing at me.

Here are the photos I took today:


One of my student's named Fred who is pretending he can paint.


A sample of their artwork


More of their artwork


Fred pretending he can paint again.


One of the boys running by at just the right time.


The rest of the class minus the two girls who were standing behind me.


One of my students who is a bit shy..


A view of the mountains from the classroom.


One of the boys who I found reading a newspaper at a store as I was walking to the school. He picked up my bag and carried it for me after I set it down to take a picture.


Sign of the school out front..


One of the girl's dorms.


The road leading up to the place.


First floor of the Orphanage that I think is condemned.


Exposed wiring running along the walls.


This is where they get thier water from down on the first floor. They then have to carry it in buckets up to the 3rd floor.



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