Thy mercies, O Lord, are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. Lamentations 3:23
Here at CICS we’ve started a new school term, with the same students as last year and some new staff.
Roberto and Ruth Ramirez have two sons – Roberto Jr. is 14, and Dorian is 9. They live in Casa Twila, the little house past the shop. Roberto works as the Maintenance Man and Dorm Father, overseeing Miguel in the afternoons, and Ruth teaches the youngest three students, 9 yr. old Miguel, 9 yr. old Jairo, and 7 yr. old Antony, although the last two have not been coming to school regularly.
Myra Berrios is teaching the four teenage girls – 18 yr. old Maria, 16 yr. old Teresa, 15 yr. old Beatriz, and 13 yr. old Paola. Myra worked here at CICS as a cook five years ago, so she already knew sign language and she loves to tease everybody and make strawberry shakes for us in the afternoons when it’s so hot. I fear the strawberries will soon be gone, but then she’ll probably make mango shakes instead.
Eliazar Rodriguez is the third new teacher, and his class consists of 16 yr. old Eduardo and 10 yr. old Joel. Eliazar often gets teased about having to duck through doorways because of his height, but his energy and example will hopefully help motivate Eduardo to do better at his studies.
Veronica Rosales is cooking again this year, and she does a fabulous job of it! Her choco-bananas (bananas frozen on popsicle sticks and dipped in chocolate coating) are always a favorite with the students, and 4 yr. old Dwight Aguilar loves to help her measure flour when she makes bread or cinnamon rolls. She often takes time to work outside as well, weeding or watering the flowerbeds.
Bethany Thompson is again working as the Dorm Mother, helping Beatriz study her words and other homework, teaching her to sew a dress of her own, and listening to her stories of what happens at her house over the weekends.
David Glick is teaching English to the hearing students at the church school again this year. Nata picks him up every Monday morning, along with Beatriz and Miguel, and he has classes Monday and Tuesday afternoons, and then buses home on Wednesday. It’s good to have him around – he worked as Dorm Father for the second half of last year, in addition to his classes, so it feels like he’s part of the staff here.
Also here at CICS is Darin Hershberger, working with Open Hands Ministry. He’s using CICS as his home base between visits to different countries. From February 23 to March 23, he was in Mexico and Haiti, and this weekend he’s planning to go to Guatemala. While he’s here at CICS, he helps Roberto with maintenance work and joins heartily in all our games after supper, sometimes counting his cards in Creole (the language spoken in Haiti). He worked here as a Dorm Father several years ago, so he knows a good bit of sign language as well.
School commenced on February 8th, and we had classes for a week and a half, but on the week of the 20th, there was a ministers’ conference here in El Salvador, so we didn’t have school.
Nata Aguilar, the director, was in the States from March 8th to March 22nd, and the day after he returned, our water pump broke. We had no water from 7pm Thursday night until 11:30 the next morning. Since water is fairly essential, Nata took his truck over to the church to fill and haul back a couple of barrels. Becky and the children, and Myra, Eliazar, and Darin went along to use the rarely-used shower stalls in the bathrooms at church.
We also had two visitors from the States, Heather Sensenig and Janessa Martin. They sewed curtains for Myra’s classroom and bedroom and played with the children at recess and after lunch. Miguel and Antony especially soaked up the attention, showing off and misbehaving even more than usual. Their teacher, Ruth, says that they don’t obey or pay attention well in school, and they are very behind for their age, easily forgetting what they’ve been taught the previous year. Miguel’s homework one day was a page of math problems, addition and subtraction, using the numbers one through seven. Veronica tried to help him by giving him seven toothpicks and telling him to physically add or subtract, and then count up the rest for the correct answer. Visualized in that way, he was able to figure out each problem, but more often than not, he would just try to guess, or sign, “I don’t know, I don’t know!” So Ruth is a little frustrated, reluctant to move forward until Miguel has mastered the basics.
Spike Ball, and Trashcan (or Twelve) with Skip-Bo cards are the new favorite games to play after supper here, and we’ve also been playing Skip-Bo and Dutch Blitz. When trying to explain to Joel how to play Spoons, Myra told him he needed 4 cards of the same number, so he was trying to get four of the number 4 and didn’t pay attention when everybody grabbed for the spoons. It took several rounds to get him to understand that he had to have four cards of any number and that he needed to watch for when someone grabbed a spoon.
Myra has been teaching her girl students about pronouns and conjugating verbs. The concept has been difficult for them to grasp but will greatly improve their reading and writing abilities. When signing, there is not much distinction made in the way you say, I run, He runs, We run, etc, but when reading or writing, there is a very necessary and important distinction, and if they can learn this, they will be able to read and write much more fluently. As it is, they struggle to read their Bibles, and when they write notes, we struggle to understand what they’ve written.
This past week, we’ve had an outbreak of colds and sore throats. Sniffles and sneezes all around. But praise God for our usual good health! Thank you all for your prayers and support. May God bless you!