Last week was bilingualism week in Barranquilla. As Peace Corps volunteers who are here to help Colombian schools work towards their bilingualism goals in schools we were invited to visit schools throughout Barranquilla. On Thursday afternoon we all piled into a bus and headed out in small groups to five different schools. Me, Katie J, Colleen, Tom, and Jenna went to visit IED Marie Poussepin which is an all girls Catholic school. In preparation to visit the schools we were told to go in with no expectations and be preapred for absolutely anything. We were expecting something very disorganized and chaotic as has been our experience in many situations since coming to Colombia. We could not have been any more plesantly surprised.
When we arrived (an hour late due to an unforseen traffic problem) we were greated by staff from the school and ushered past hundreds of students to an air conditioned room. Next we were lead to a table covered with the Colombian flag and red, yellow, and blue balloons where we were showered with gifts (keychains, candy, dream catchers, bracelets, etc.) A nun entered and told us all to sit down. Then four students came in with silver serving trays and delivered watermelon juice, fruit salad, butifarra and bollo de yuca. While we ate we were shown a powerpoint presentation all about Colombia. Next came speeches in which we were welcomed to the school and told “Marie Poussepin is your home”.
When we finished eating we were lead out to the courtyard of the shcool where the entire student body and staff were already seated and quietly waiting for our arrival. We were seated in chairs front and center where we were introduced to the students. A group of precious little angelitos came out to greet us (Thursday was the dia de los angelitos). Then a group of about 15 girls came out in traditional dress and performed some Colombian dances for us. This was followed by speeches (completley in English) by a few students.
Overall I was so impressed with everything I saw at Marie Poussepin. The staff were so warm and welcoming, the students were amazingly well behaved, and the level of English was astounding. Not to mention the fact that the school itsself was adorable! It was a wonderful experience and I felt so lucky to have the opportunity to be welcomed into a school community like that, and to have the opportunity to share in the accomplishments of their students!
Until next time…..paz y amor.
P.S. For those of you who have been asking….I updated my contact page : )