It feels good to be home after a long, full, beautiful, tiring day. Whenever I am at CDP for a full day, I am ready to rest well in the evening, and reflect. It feels good to give a lot of yourself to people you care about, and to receive a lot of love right back. That’s how I feel when I’m with the kids at both CDP and PDC.

Every Monday, my friend and fellow volunteer Kelley and I give English classes to the girls. This week was our second week of classes. It is always an adventure, and it is challenging with so many girls at different levels and who learn in different ways. Most of the girls know Hello, What’s your name, Nice to meet you, How are you, Thank you… the basic greetings. When I helped teach English with the girls, when I was here two years ago, they absolutely loved singing Head and Shoulders and Hokey Pokey, so we’ll have to get that going again. English is not an easy language to learn… the way we pronounce our words is pretty random, especially compared to a language like Spanish, whose pronunciation makes so much sense! The girls are doing great though, there are silly moments, frustrating moments, adorable moments, and high- five moments. I know that teaching and learning go hand-in-hand. As ‘teachers’, Kelley and I aren’t just depositing information into the girls’ brains. It is about dialogue, about being flexible and sensitive to how people learn, and being humble enough to admit when we feel overwhelmed or when we don’t know how to do something. The teaching/learning process has begun, and who knows what rest will look like.

Today was also Tia Jaqui’s birthday, our ‘jefe’ here at NCV. Jaqui’s compassion and wisdom, for the kids, the tias and volunteers, and her passion for justice, never ceases to amaze me. The girls love her a lot – they all wrote a little message and drew a picture on a heart-shaped birthday booklet that we made, and a few of the girls helped bake a delicious chocolate cake with whipped cream, chocolate chips and strawberries on top. I am extremely passionate about dessert, especially chocolate and whipped cream, so this cake made my day, especially in such a joyful atmosphere. Lunch was also delicious: chicken in the solar oven with salad and yuka, a potato-like food that I absolutely love. It was great to see everyone eating, laughing and singing together in celebration of Jaqui’s life, even amidst the chaos of getting the afternoon girls to school.

I find that every day I spend here is filled with small, seemingly insignificant moments that hold a lot of meaning for me, moments in time where the clock doesn’t matter, where ‘accomplishing’ something or being ‘useful’ isn’t so important. Things as simple as sharing my ipod with the girls and seeing them dance and sing to the songs when they think no one is watching. It’s pretty cute. The sun is setting… I love this time of day when the sky is saying, “it’s ok to rest now”. Felicidades, Tia Jaqui! Until next week.

– Jeanette