With September comes the beginning of Guatemalan Independence Day celebrations. Today I drove five 6th graders and two teachers from El Hato to INVOL, the teacher college, to represent our school at a district Acto Civico (student assembly). On our return, I was asked if I could give five more 6th grade students and a teacher a ride to the town neighboring El Hato. In Guatemala, there’s always room for one more. I was kind of wondering how many people could fit in my five-passenger Hyundai, Tuscon. The answer is at least 14 (four adults and ten 6th graders), and I’m pretty sure we had room for one more.
I dropped the Guardiania and El Hato students off just in time to make it to Oxford Bilingual to drive the next group of students to El Hato for our 3rd annual Diversity Day Celebration. The Las Manos librarian, Alejandra, planned the entire event and overall it went very smoothly. Our students led an assembly, followed by poetry and traditional dance. The Oxford students voted on the El Hato students’ art, which was entered in the contest earlier in the day. The art contest winners were applauded with no noticeable hard feelings, and all the students had fun creating more Independence Day decorations together.
Diversity Day is an interesting name for our bringing together of students from El Hato and from the school my children attend, Oxford Bilingual Montessori. The schools are physically so close, yet worlds apart. The youngest kids don’t seem to notice the economic differences. My almost four-year-old son explores and plays in the same manner no matter where we are. Last week, while admiring some El Hato kids cutting firewood with their machetes, he commented, “I wish I was a kid who was supposed to cut wood.” The children a few years older begin to ask questions. On the way up I was asked by a five-year-old Oxford student if only Guatemalans attended the school in El Hato and if it was the only school in El Hato. When these two groups of kids from very different backgrounds are brought together to do activities most kids enjoy, they can just be kids together. The differences are forgotten.