My time volunteering at El Hato was a wonderful and heartwarming experience. I had the opportunity to help the elementary school kids learn how to use the new laptops, to play with them, and to read to them. They caught on to the computers in no time, and were fascinated by the educational games provided. Reading to them was very enjoyable as well. I found myself surrounded by a multitude of little girls within minutes of having commenced the first story. I read to them in English and Spanish, and even did some translating from English to Spanish. We read many different stories such as “Magic School Bus,” “Dora the Explorer,” and, most popular of all, “Green Eggs and Ham.”
The next week, I came back and expected to do something similar – read to the kids and help them with the computers. I did so for a while, but then I found myself wrapped up in teaching the art class. One of the teachers was out, and Señorita Alejandra, who normally teaches the art class, had to teach the English class in the next room. She left me in charge of instructing the kids on how to put together a felt penguin. The kids were very well behaved and very helpful in cleaning up after they had finished. I was impressed at the degree of respect they showed me.
Another delightful experience was teaching the kids how to play cards. My mother and I gathered them in a circle and explained to them how to play war. They were delighted and were all scrambling to put down their card and see whose was the highest.
One of the boys noticed the cell phone in my pocket and politely asked to see it. I showed him how to take pictures and video with it. He spent the rest of the afternoon intrigued by it and taking many pictures and videos of his classmates. I regret not having been able to help out for more days, but the length of our trip would not permit more than a few visits. Having had the opportunity to help these bright, eager, intelligent children was a memorable experience. I hope to come back soon.