Thursday, August 29, 2013

Capturing creepy crawlies!

Thursday morning began bright and early with Profesora Marisela in her gorgeously painted classroom. I was to enjoin her students on an adventure through the woods to find and collect as many native insects as we could find. Such an assignment was both a frightening and exciting prospect considering the significant nastiness of certain many-legged creatures that, most certainly, had no interest in being captured and collected for study.

Almost immediately upon venturing out of the classroom, a giant hawk-wasp darted out from the forest and landed heavily on a nearby leaf, feeling around frantically with its bright yellow antennae, seemingly daring us to come closer. Nope. The brute took off and Mario bravely swung at it with a plastic bag, but just barely missed (perhaps thankfully).

Profe Marisela then divided the group into smaller teams and directed us towards different sections of the campus; my team ventured up into the shady trail area. En route I spied a beautiful yellow-and-black-striped moth resting on a classroom window and gently captured it in a glass vial, taking care not to disturb the students inside who were evidently engrossed in a test; they did not seem to mind the temporary distraction. After entering the forest it was not long at all before our group was uncovering ants, aphids, spiders, grasshoppers, roaches, moths, butterflies, beetles, and even a few creepy-crawlies that I couldn't identify.

Soon we were running out of places to put the bugs and, with the best intentions, decided to group the more compatible-looking ones together. Unfortunately, this tactic did not work very well as one tiny bug (la chincha) decided to deploy its trademark defense mechanism, which I learned was an explosive release of its bowels, thereby killing everything else in the vial except for an ant which was hard at work dismembering a hapless cricket. By the end of the period there stood several large glass cases at the front of the classroom within each containing the ensuing chaos from the collective findings of each team.

After a tasty lunch it was time for English lessons with Profesor Sergio's class. The students gathered into two teams, each team had one member that would face the others while I held an English word or phrase over their heads so the one facing the others could not see what was written. It was the task of the rest of the team to try and help that student guess the word or phrase without saying it directly. Each correct answer would earn that team one point, and each team had 60 seconds to guess as many correct words or phrases as possible before the next team would take over. I was delighted by the student's enthusiasm and energetic response to this activity, and soon we had successfully navigated through nearly six dozen flash cards; both teams were clear winners. We rounded out the end of class with a few games purely in the interests of fun and friendship: one in which a "Maestro" was secretly selected by the profe while a single student was outside of the room. The Maestro would lead the other students in clapping, snapping, or tapping gestures while trying not to let on to the "outsider" who was the leading the group, although they were almost always found out after the first few guesses. Everyone was in hysterics by the end of class and before I knew it the school day was over and I was sadly ending my last full day at Colegio.

Students guessing vocabulary in English

Students clearly enjoying the guessing 
game in English with Justin

Entry submitted by: Justin  

Message of the Day – Justin: "You must be free from prejudice and fanaticism, beholding no differences between the races and religions. You must look to God, for He is the real Shepherd, and all humanity are His sheep. He loves them and loves them equally. As this is true, should the sheep quarrel among themselves? They should manifest gratitude and thankfulness to God, and the best way to thank God is to love one another.

"Beware lest ye offend any heart, lest ye speak against anyone in his absence, lest ye estrange yourselves from the servants of God. You must consider all His servants as your own family and relations. Direct your whole effort toward the happiness of those who are despondent, bestow food upon the hungry, clothe the needy, and glorify the humble. Be a helper to every helpless one, and manifest kindness to your fellow creatures in order that ye may attain the good pleasure of God. This is conducive to the illumination of the world of humanity and eternal felicity for yourselves. I seek from God everlasting glory in your behalf; therefore, this is my prayer and exhortation." – Abdul Baha

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