Today we had a pretty normal day here in Bahía, so I’ll just go through some of the details of what I’ve been doing for most of the month. This morning, I woke up around 6:30 a.m. to get ready, and we left the house at 7:30 a.m. to catch the first bus that takes us to the terminal. Once we arrived at the bus terminal, we had to catch another bus that takes us toward Las Coronas, which is a town that is in the direction of the school. Once we were on that bus for about 30 minutes, we had to ask the driver to drop us off at a side road that leads up to Primero de Octubre, which was the start of the 45-minute, 1.5-mile hike up to the school. I like to make it seem like it’s a really rough hike up the mountains, but it’s actually pretty enjoyable when the sun isn’t out too much! We got to the school around 9:30 a.m. and were welcomed by the teachers with so much warmth and appreciation. We took the first group of about 30 students, who range from age four to ten, outside to start our class. We did our normal stretching and warming up and then reviewed our English lessons before doing relay races, involving the use of more English, and playing “Duck, Duck, Goose,” which is one of their favorites. The same things were done with the second group of about 15 students, who are up to twelve years old. Today, we noticed that their English is improving greatly. We’ve also discovered that singing songs and incorporating actions and games with each lesson definitely helps them retain what they learn. It feels so rewarding. I just wish I could do something to help them continue to learn English once we leave!
After both classes, we returned to the house around 12:30 p.m. and had lunch with the group before going to our Spanish lessons at 2:00 p.m. After Spanish, we took a tour of the Saiananda Zoo near the bus terminal with some of the teachers and students from Genesis, the school in town that hosts our program. We didn’t know what to think of the zoo at first, because most of the people we told didn’t even know there was a zoo in Bahía! However, it turned out to be pretty impressive. They had birds from literally all over the world, and they showed us rabbits, turtles, horses, and even huge iguanas that hung out in the tops of trees! We also found out that it was a hostal that had beautiful landscaping and was located right on the water.
After the zoo, we came home to eat dinner and then, later that night, we hung out on the beach with some of the locals that we have gotten to know and had a great time! This trip has been amazing so far and I feel so lucky to be able to experience this whole new culture of Ecuador!