Monday, October 29, 2007

October News

Last Saturday October 20th - We held the Hekab Be Cinema! Admission to this event was 20-30 plastic bottles for recycling. The kids watched "The Simpsons" and enjoyed popcorn and orangeade and had a great time! Special thanks to Ivan and Benimar Gonzalez for providing the projector and assistance, CEA for Chairs and the Movie Screen and to local residents Alice & Bud Blatner for the film.

We are in the 5th week of English classes for Adults with wonderful results, so much so that we are continuing this free course that offers 6 classes a week thru the month of November.

Next week´s main project will be learning the song (in English) by Stevie Wonder “I Just Called to Say I Love You.” The following week they will be working on “scripts” the subject of which will be job related, so they can learn how to converse with the tourists specifically about their work. Carlos and I, despite more work, are thoroughly enjoying teaching these motivated students.

On a happy note! We have “officially” adopted the Escuela Iniciar (Pre-Kinder). This is another non-governmental entity that has 33 students and 2 teachers, no electricity, had no water, no books, very little school & art supplies. The garden attached to it was literally too dangerous for the children to play outdoors. The teachers' organized the parents for cleaning up the grounds using machetes and the library´s weed-eater. We also provided 2 garrafons (those big jugs) of water with a water pump, early reader books, jigsaw puzzles, blocks and other educational toys, school and art supplies, and a first-aid kit. Perhaps the best gift of all is their becoming part of Hekab Be´s mentoring program!

The library kids and teens are doing well. They are all learning and having fun doing it! We are working with quite a few of the Kinder students at present (please feel free to come by the library and volunteer your time teacher-assisting) they are learning phonics and drawing and coloring pictures. Last week they had a mini “lecture series” on Formas- Shapes.

One of our new 7-year old students Panchito (Miquel) was born without a right hand – but he is doing very well under the careful tutoring of Reyna (our new assistant teacher) and is writing now with his left hand.

Another reality bite regarding education here in Akumal. As usership of the library continues to climb (among children and adults) and the public Kinder as well, the Secundaria (Middle School) is suffering a decline. Recent stats show that 40+ students were expected to arrive at the middle school from the graduating 6th grade at the Primaria. Out of that number 14 actually enrolled. Why? Some parents are sending their kids to school in Chemuyil and Tulum.

The Primaria is understaffed with only 5 teachers, including the director who is teaching both 5th grade, and 3rd grade which meets in the afternoons. This is yet another one of the reasons the library is indispensable to this community. We are able to help those students who are in these overcrowded classrooms or at the mercy of inadequately staffed and supplied schools. Due to our tutoring/mentoring programs we are currently looking for an additional teacher-assistant to help out in the afternoons.

This week we will be preparing for Halloween and The Dia de Los Muertos. The windows of the library are happily decked out in jack-o-lanterns for Halloween and for November 2nd we will have a contest with the older kids (with prizes) for the 2 best Dia de Los Muertos art project.

More art! Beginning Tuesday November 6th, the library will host drawing and painting classes. These will be free, with supplies provided and will be taught by local accomplished artists.

Please keep in mind that you can donate to the library via this blogsite to help us fund these projects and future ones as well. We also have a real need at present for several donors to sponsor “at risk” children and teens and disabled little people who need special attention.

Thanks again for all of your support we literally could not do what we do without your help!

Dios Botik, Gracias, Thank You!

A Note from Reyna, our newest staff member:

Soy Reyna Isabel y quiero decir que si me gusta estar trabajando aquí en la biblioteca Hekab be de Akumal y también estar trabajando con los niños y enseñarlos, por aurita no tengo ningún problema y espero que no tenerlos y me siento muy bien trabajando aquí es una experiencia para mi estar conociendo a los niños y a los que vienen a visitar la biblioteca de Akumal.

My name is Reyna Isabel, I want to express that I love to work here at this Library, also I like to work with the children and teach them, for now I don´t have any trouble and I hope not to have them, I feel very nice working here because meeting the kids and visitors it´s a nice experience for me.

and A Note from Carlos:

I´m a Maya Man, I was born in this beautiful place called “Akumal”. My parents are originally from Kantunil, Yucatan (a small town located at 30 km. from Merida City), I speak Mayan. I have and do teach Mayan to the tourists and local people.
I have a very interesting and unforgettable time working with the kids and adults here at the Library. Because I know that I have a little bit of knowledge to share with them, for example:
I love to show them how to use the computer, read them books, teach them English, teach them Maya, Sing with my guitar with them.
Every time we are planning the education programs I just imagine how they will enjoy them. Now I understand that in this job we need to be like a kid so we can understand them and touch their heart.
Also I enjoy working in the library garden because I love the plants, well, in conclusion I love everything I do here.

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