Estrellitas to the Rescue
Trip Start Sep 05, 2005
48Trip End Nov 07, 2007
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The most frustration comes with my inability to motivate my Escojo groups and have a normal meeting which doesn't end in me yelling. When traveling out to Los Limones, I was confronted by several youth who decided to come to the meeting when it was good and convienient (about two hours after we were supposed to start) and continued with me running after teenagers telling them to stay put, losing my cool a few times when teens would disrespect others and then finally throwing youth out of the meeting when I couldn't take it any more. It was as if someone had released a bag of Redalin to a bunch of five-year-oilds
The next day, I attended mass (the padre from the church brings me back to Pimentel after the service so I don't have to pay a motorcycle taxi to take me all the way back) I noticed that I had accidentally left several posters from my talk on the wall behind the clergy which outlined the various symptoms and signs of STDs including all sorts of graphic details, all displayed for the whole congragation to eye during the mass. It was one of those Homer Simpson "DOH!" moments and only added to my overall frustration as I ran quickly after mass to tear the posters down.
Upon returning to Pimentel, I asked myself the same question I ask myeslf often when things don't go right..."What am I doing here?!" But then that question was answered by the Estrellitas.
For those of you who don't remember who the Estrellitas are (it means "little stars"), they are the club of little girls I have on Tuesday nights. I don't know how this little club got to be such a success but it seems to be the best thing I have going. The girls always come to the meetings and tell me when they cannot come
The girls brought their own ingredients and we also added some of our own special ingredients I had lying around to put in the middle (pasta sauce, peanut butter, apples, anything and everything).
While waiting for the dough to rise, the kids put together their own version of "Starsearch" and even made point charts for the judges. The kids performed their best and there was even a Simon Cowell of the group, Viki, who gave people low scores for whatever reason, just for the sake of controversy, but not to be outright mean. I got to be the MC and used a flashlight as a microphone.
After our "D.R. Idol" show, we got back to making the empanadas. Christofer, an honorary estrellita (even though he is a boy...I can't be too exclusive when I am trying to teach kids values) was kneading away, when some of the girls told him to get out of the kitchen because "Men aren't allowed in the kitchen". I saw this as a great opportunity and told them that he could be in the kitchen if he wanted, just as any man! After his empanada turned out to be a ball of mush, I decided that maybe it was best afterall that men weren't allowed in the kitchen..but I would let him back in any time just to say that I had defeated machismo!
The meeting was a huge success and we gobbled down the empanadas with much ferver.
A week later, I decided that it would be a good idea to start a garden that I had been thinking about starting since I moved into my house in April. With the help of the Estrellitas and a few other neighborhood kids, we set to work. We cleared the top of a filled-in latrine (more commonly known as an outhouse). I bought wood and cut it to make a box which we painted white. We went all over the place to find good soil to throw into the mix, but mostly we found sand. We quartered off the box and made a grid of seeds and put in the seeds in each square of the grid so we could remember what we planted. I used seeds that friends from the states had sent. All of this I thought might take a few hours, but in the end (due to rain and trouble finding the dirt) it took about three days. The kids were determined, and didn't stop, even when I was exhausted from heat and wanting to call it quits, they kept on. The project was so rewarding, I am hoping that we can do other gardens around the neighborhood for our neighbors of flowers and vegetables. I realized not only am I planting seeds of veggies, I am planting seeds in these estrellitas that I hope will last a lifetime.