Today one of the girls in my class came to school with bruises and cuts on her legs. She told me that her dad had spanked her with his belt- the side with the buckle. She had whelps in some places from the belt and in other places cuts and sores from the belt buckle. In one spot she had a bleeding area the exact shape of the belt buckle. My assistant talked to her to make sure that I understood her correctly. She also asked her if she learned her lesson and would obey at home after this. I was a little taken aback since that was hardly the point. I then talked to the principal about the child. His response was that it was normal and nothing was to be done about it. I am so disappointed in my principle. I thought very highly of him until now. He did not even act shocked or bothered by it. What kind of place thinks that is normal and does not try to help a child? Obviously, since it is legal to beat your child here, I cannot do anything to change her home life but I want to help her in some way. I feel very hopeless. Please pray for her and wisdom for me.
After mispronouncing a word in English Tyler said, “Well, I guess that a start. I have to start speaking bad English to learn Spanish.”
Last week we watched a movie in my class. When the kids complained that it was in English I explained that our school is an English speaking school and therefore our movie had to be in English. Josep, one of my newer kids, responded, “The school is not in English, only the Mrs. is.”
I was explaining to one of the kids in my class that she needed to speak English more. Her response, “Oh, since you speak bad Spanish, you need me to speak English.”
When asked by her teacher what the acronym for United States of America would be, Emma responded, “Texas.”
One of the girls in my class asked me who in my family speaks English. I told her that all of my family does. She then wanted to know which school they went to, to learn English. No matter how much I tried, I could not get her to understand that they did not go to school to speak English, that we speak English at home like she speaks Spanish. This was beyond her 5 year old comprehension.
Another of my boys wanted to know why I am so white. Funny it took 6 months for him to notice but ever since then he keeps comparing my skin to his and saying things like, “My palms are white but you’re whiter” or “My mom has white skin, but not that white.” I think I might be getting a complex about my skin.
During dance class one of my kids was sent to sit down. When I ask him what happened he responded “I don’t know Miss, but I think I was playing.” I love the honesty.
While learning about animals and their homes I gave the kids a worksheet that had a doghouse, fishbowl and spider web. They were supposed to draw the animal that belonged in each house. One kid however was not listening to my lesson on animals because in his spider web he drew Spiderman!
Normally we meet with our house church Cautulaca on Sunday mornings. I work with the kids and have Children Church while Shannon teaches the adults. The following are pictures of the kids that come on a regular basis although I have had up to 13 kids. Public school starts again on Monday so I think more kids will begin coming once they get back into a routine. Tyler especially loves going to church and getting to play with the kids. They are all very patient with my Spanish and are eager to learn.
This week instead of our regular service we had a meal and invited the neighborhood in order to get to know them. The following are pictures from Sunday. Most are of the kids- because the are cuter. I hope you enjoy.
I do want to introduce one person first though. Luis. We first got to know him through Maritza when they were dating and he spent a lot of time at our house. Even though she is no longer here, he still comes over once a week in addition to attending church on Sundays. He was raised Catholic but accepted Christ and was baptized about a year and half ago. His family does not approve of him going to a protestant house church but he has been faithful. Sunday he brought 5 nieces and nephews, his daughter and his mom! It was thrilling to see that God is using him and beginning the work in his family. Please continue to pray for Luis’s influence on his family- his parents and all 10 brothers and sisters!
Maritza has been living and working with us for five months now. She has helped me in learning Spanish and especially in understanding the Lenca Indian culture. She has also become a good friend of mine. While living with us, she has been away from her family for the first time, she has become more outgoing, has started teaching Children’s Sunday school at church and she has gone from not caring if she finished school to wanting to be a doctor. However, this week when we returned from Christmas, Maritza did not show up for work. This is very unlike her as she has never done that before. We tried calling on several occasions but never reached her. Her sister stopped by last Wednesday and told us that Maritza is not coming back to work. She assured us that is was nothing that we had done but that it was a personal decision of Maritza’s. We are very troubled by this for several reasons. A little over a month ago Maritza told me that she had a new boyfriend and that he is thirty (she is 18.) An age difference is normal here but 12 years is a little much. However, her family celebrated this because he is able to provide since he is older. Their aspirations for Maritza are for her to get married and have children though not necessarily in that order. Rumor has it that her boyfriend is married and has one other girlfriend. We have also heard that they have been getting drunk on the weekends. It is fairly normal for young girls to date older men- even married ones but it still breaks our heart. Since dating him, her attitude has change and her work ethic. More concerning is that she has stopped going to church. For all this to change so suddenly is very concerning. We are sure that the new boyfriend has had an influence on her decisions and on her pulling away from the church. Please join us in prayer for her, that her eyes would be open to His will. Please also pray for us that we would have wisdom and grace in dealing with her.
Since writing this post a week ago, we found out that Maritza got married and moved two and half hours away. We have not talked to her and have no way to see her. We are very sad to have lost this friendship so quickly and abruptly. Please continue to pray for her as she begins this new life, that God would place people of Peace in her life.
On a lighter note, the day after her sister told me that Maritza was not coming back to work, her sister showed up to our house again while I was at school. She cleaned, cooked and moved into Maritza’s room. We were very confused by this and asked a Honduran what was going on. Apparently, one way to get a job here is to just start working in someone elses place. We had decided not to replace Maritza so we had to tell her sister we would not to be hiring her. It was a little on the awkward side and yet another example of the difference in cultures.