After our safe return to Barranquilla, we continued our El Pacto visit at two different primary schools. El Pacto is a group of churches that have established small Christian schools in very poor neighbourhoods with the purpose of loving these children and providing a safe environment to grow up in. Tal, Eden and Rhianna visited a primary school in Soledad. The children were learning directions and locations on a map in English. We had to help each group of children label a sheet of directions corresponding to a map of a town. The children then coloured in this map. Another class was labelling a picture of a jungle in English and we each helped the children one to one in the classroom. Tarah, Rachel and Honor observed an English class and hosted an activity using nature to learn the difference between ‘there is’ and ‘there are’. They were able to connect with some of the teachers again.
In the evening, we helped out again at the children’s after school club teaching English. The children coloured in pictures of animals. We also played a game called ‘animal snap’ where the children had to match pictures of animals with their corresponding word in English. This was a very competitive team between two teams so they had to match the words very quickly!
The next day we left Barranquilla again for a two hour bus journey to Cartagena. This is a beautiful historical city with lots of culture. We explored the local markets and a coffee shop and had lunch in a traditional restaurant. We also watched the sunset in the evening from the historical wall
On Saturday, we visited Fundación sus Propósitos, a foundation that is part of Tearfund. This foundation seeks to bring Colombian and Venezuelan culture together and provides arts activities to help children from difficult backgrounds express themselves and overall strive for the development and transformation of the Colombian Caribbean society. They provided music including a band of instruments, a dance class and a craft station for painting. The children also had a devotional session before these activities.
In the evening, Tarah and Honor shared about wisdom at a youth service. They shared about their personal experience and a passage from the Bible. There were really great conversations. The person who was supposed to be translating couldn’t make it but someone else who had strong English skills was able to translate which was such a blessing. It was relevant and well received.
Rhianna, Eden and Tal led a Bible study with young adults. This was in the local church in Barranquilla and was based on Psalm 139, focusing on identity. We each shared how we deal with our identity in our everyday lives.
On Sunday morning, we attended the local church in Barranquilla. We were provided with foods after such as rice and soup. Later this day, we did a grocery shop for our last week and moved into our new accommodation. We then met with our team leaders in the evening to continue learn more about the impacts of poverty from the ‘When Helping Hurts’ videos.
Monday was a day of preparation for our last week in Colombia. We worked hard as a team this morning and afternoon by buying supplies and preparing crafts for the children. In the evening, we had a dance session for women in the community. Honor led a contemporary dance lesson and later we had some Ceilidh from Rachel and Tarah. We definitely learned some new moves!
The next day, Honor, Tarah and Tal visited a school in Las Moras. They supported the teacher with her lesson by running an activity on nature. The children were starting the topic on air and water pollution. They helped the teacher with her pronunciation as this was something she didn’t feel confident on.
Rhianna, Eden and Rachel visited a school in La Central. The children were learning parts of the body and we practiced the song ‘heads, shoulders knees and toes’ which they really enjoyed. The other two classes were learning about animals and we had to draw the animal on the board and the children guessed them in English. We also assisted the teacher with English grammar when teaching the children ‘there is’ and ‘there are’.
On Wednesday evening, we hosted craft stations for the children at the school in La Central. This involved decorating cupcakes, jewellery making with beads, painting using potatoes as stamps and making and decorating crosses from lollipop sticks. The energy was very high among the children and it was a joy to see how excited and involved they were in each activity.
Tal, Eden and Rhianna visited the school in Soledad. The children were learning about professions and we helped them with the English pronunciation. The children had to identify the profession from a picture and say the word in English. They also completed a worksheet where they had to write the correct profession in English.
Tarah, Rachel and Honor visited a school in El Paraiso. They observed an English class and helped the children who were learning how to tell the time in English.
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