words and songs

On Tuesday, I started working with kids who have trouble reading. PCDR’s education sector has officially transitioned from mostly ICT (Information & Communication Technologies) to literacy and basic education. I did some basic education training with my high school and elementary school teachers a few months back, and, despite initially thinking I would avoid it, I’ve now decided to give literacy a shot. Once the school year begins in August/September, I’ll go into the elementary school and pull kids out of class to work with them. But during the summer, I’m getting a head start by going to kids’ homes. I’m really enjoying it so far. I created alphabet flash cards, I’m using a literacy manual from the Peace Corps office, and I’ll also make some sound cards soon (phonetics, not computers…teehee). Not to mention, I get breakfast and lunch from the parents, which would be culturally inappropriate of me to refuse ;). So far, I’ve only completed two days with the kids, but I’m already starting to see some progress.

I also started an English conversation club at the language institute in town, which started on Friday. That was a lot of fun. I really like teaching English, but I thought a club would be a more relaxed way to complement those who are interested in learning and improving their English without competing with the already existing service. So far, so good.

I’ve started to come out of my shell more and singing at the local church I attend. I’ll admit, the thought of doing so has been a bit intimidating for me, up to and including now, for a couple of reasons. First, there’s the whole business of singing in general. It’s something that some people find hard to believe, but I don’t really consider myself much of a soloist. The idea of standing up in front of a crowd, or congregation to sing a song—just me—is not one that really appeals to me. The truth is my gift really is more for praise and worship, and that’s what I love to do, far more than singing a song alone. Leading the people of God into the presence of God is far more natural, comfortable and overall pleasant for me personally than singing a solo in church, or anywhere. The truth is my passion is not for singing; my passion is God, and singing just happens to be a tool I possess that enables me to express that passion to and for Him. That said, leading worship usually involves exhorting, or at least personal worship being expressed publicly. That’s just a bit of a challenge when I’m accustomed to worshiping God in English. Lol So for logistical reasons, I’ve been shying away from singing in church. I know it must sound silly, but it’s the truth. Anyway, I’m trying to get out of that now. I love God, and I have a gift that can serve the body of Christ…just in a language other than what I’m more comfortable with. But I know I would be upset with myself if I let the opportunity to engage in these sorts of worship experiences in Spanish pass me by while I’m here. I’ve been telling myself that to push through the awkwardness, which probably only exists in my own mind.

The days here have been hot, very hot, and walking around has not been an attractive idea lately. I’ve been passing a lot of time on my cool cement floor, enjoying breezes on my porch, petting doodoo (the dog), playing with my hair, trying out new recipes, reading this great book my cousin sent me (thanks, Ksaky), waiting for the mangoes to come in, agreeing with Dominicans about how unbearable the sun is, thinking about life after Peace Corps, talking to God, going through episodes of The Office that I’ve already seen, doing nothing with my neighbor, creating literacy tools for my kids, and of course learning more guitar. I’m not quite ready to post a video yet, but I promise I will soon. In the meantime, a summer care package would be great :). If you feel the need to send me any American chocolate, photos, books, or love in any other form, you would be my super star for life.

4 thoughts on “words and songs

  1. Laila! I didn’t know that singing solo wasn’t your thing especially since you do it so well? I guess you learn something new everyday. By November you should have that pasta with peanut sauce perfected so I can taste it 🙂

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