Escuela de la Montagna

6 06 2007

I might as well start with the part my parents will dislike the most, in the hopes that by the end of this note, they will have forgotten the first part. The beauty of aging.

We just rode standing up in the back of a pickup, holding on to some iron bars of sorts, and driving on windy and steep roads to a little town about ten kilometers away from the school. I was reluctant to leave our little community,  but the town of Colombo is just as sleepy and friendly as our village of Nuevo San Jose and Fatima. Life is good.

The school is, in short, fantastic. We live in a little cement house with ten other students, and we are each assigned our own family to eat with and our own teacher. My family here reminds me of my family in Mali; we play games and discuss politics, life, the weather, and religion, each time with their faces waiting patiently for me to produce some semblance of Spanish. There are between three to seven kids in my house at any given time, so I have many opportunities to quiz them on school, examine their textbooks, or beat them in jacks. I have also started bringing childrens books in Spanish to the meals, which even the mother seems to enjoy. Yesterday, I brought a old favorite…Bread and Jam for Frances (Pan Y Mermalada por Francisca). It was a hit. After that, Syvester and the Magic Pebble…Mirai would be proud, right, Em?

The best part of the village of Fatima is that the families here founded the community after organizing on their coffee plantation to fight for their rights to land, fair pay and health care. After suffering for five years under the hand of an oppressive owner, they now live independently. They just got running water after six years of waiting, and this week, they started working on electricity.

It is a civil rights story in my own backyard. I have been listening to story after story of the secret schools and churches they established after they were forbidden to congregate. I feel like I am meeting future Facing History speakers at each meal, and I am in awe by the humility and quiet strength of this community; they have achieved so much with so little.

As for the Spanish, I am loving my teacher. As my Spanish improves, so does my Italian, unfortunately. French is out the window. However, I now speak an interesting mixture that people seem to understand, and it goes a long way during a game of soccer with the kids in the village.

The rain comes each day, providing time for naps and homework. I feel my pace slowing with each minute. I have a feeling I will spend more weeks here than planned…back to the mountains at the end of June…enshallah.

No pictures yet, but the area is mountainous, lush and gorgeous…best land for growing coffee in the country.

Enjoy and more soon!

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One response

4 07 2007
Alyssa

Glad to see a little bit of Morrocco has followed you to S. America! Enshallah is the name of the game, my dear- Love, Cuz

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