Monthly Archives: January 2010

Our Media Debut

The WT Volunteers in 6th grade

Yesterday, one of Barranquilla’s major newspapers came to the school to interview “the gringos.” Basically, they got some comments from us, then asked to watch us interact with some kids. This was actually hard to orchestrate since school hasn’t really started yet so most of our students weren’t there. We all ended up going to one of Aisha’s 6th grade classes, where we introduced ourselves and answered the kids’ many questions about who we are and where we come from. I have to admit that I LOVED being with the sixth graders – they reminded me so much of my homeroom back at Roxbury Prep. Not that my 3rd and 4th graders aren’t super, because they are, but the 6th graders display a level of maturity and insight that is lacking in the younger grades. A good example is the questions they asked. In the 3rd grade, it was “How do you say shark in English?” In the 4th grade, students were fixated on whether or not I had a boyfriend and how to say ‘bonita’ in English (so they could call me “beautiful”, haha.) Meanwhile, the 6th graders asked things like, “What made you decide to come to Colombia?” Okay, I’ll admit I’m a little jealous that Aisha got 6th grade… but I know I’m going to have fun with my 8- and 9-year-olds. They have a ton of energy and are seriously some of the most caring kids I’ve ever met.

Anyway, our story was featured on the front page (bottom half, but still!) of El Heraldo today. We were sort of misquoted, and they got some info wrong (for example, I’m the history major who has always wanted to live in Latin America, not Lindsay) but if you can read Spanish check it out here: La ‘Misión Gringa’.

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Here we go!

As this is the first weekend I’ve had off since arriving in Colombia 3 weeks ago, I figured now was the perfect time to start my blog (my apologies to those who’ve been waiting.) So just to recap, I arrived in Bogotá, Colombia’s capital, on January 4th. I spent two weeks there with the other volunteers for an intensive orientation. We took Spanish classes, got lessons on Colombian culture and safety, sat through hours of TEFL training, and even got to sample teach at a bilingual school. At times we all felt like we were on information overload, but for the most part the training was very useful. The best part of those two weeks, though, was getting to know the other volunteers. What a wonderful and impressive group of people! We all bring different skills and experiences to the table, and ultimately we all came for the same reason: to make a difference in a developing country through teaching English. Most of us also came with the goal of learning Spanish and with the desire to truly immerse ourselves in a Latin American culture. Now we’ve all split into our various sites (Cartagena, Isla Barú, Manizales, Quindio, and Barranquilla) and even though I miss being with the group I’m happy to be on the coast and I’m sure everyone is going to have an amazing year.

Women of WorldTeach Colombia 2010

Women of WorldTeach Colombia 2010

Men of WorldTeach Colombia 2010

Men of WorldTeach Colombia 2010

I’ve been in Barranquilla, Colombia for a full week now. Bogotá was an impressive city (check out my Facebook album if you haven’t seen it yet: If You’re a 5 in the US, You’re a 5 in Colombia) but I LOVE Barranquilla. Coastal Colombia is so different from the interior. I feel like I’m living on a tropical island. It actually reminds me a lot of Puerto Rico. Not to mention the fact that costeño Spanish involves swallowing S’s and using words like guineo and embuste – sound familiar? So to all of you who thought I’d come back with a Colombian accent, it turns out I’ll be talking like a costeña, which essentially means I’ll sound Puerto Rican! LOL. So, a quick list, since you all know I love lists:

Favorite Things About Barranquilla So Far

  • My host mom Margarita, who is downstairs right now making us blackberry smoothies
  • My host sister Katherine, who’s been teaching us how to talk like Barranquilleros (this involves using “super” and “full” a lot – as in “FULL-rico”)
  • The Caribbean breeze that makes 90 degree weather feel pleasant
  • The beaches
  • The fruit man on the corner who makes yummy malteadas de guineo (banana shakes) and gives me free samples
  • The empanada man who travels the neighborhood with his cart full of empanadas, arepas, and papas rellenas
  • My awesome co-workers from Aliarse, the organization running community classes at Pies Descalzos after school.
  • Chivas. These are multi-colored buses open on the sides and filled with benches. Add the Carnaval musicians in back, a few bottles of Ron Medellin, and aforementioned awesome co-workers, and you’ve got a serious party bus!
    Chiva

    CHIVA!

    And a shot of the musicians:

    Musicos

    Musicos Carnavaleros

    Well folks, that’s all for now. Thanks for reading! 🙂

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