I have these two pictures from our recent trip to Guatemala up in my classroom, and the kids ask about them a lot. They've asked all kinds of things, including are they my kids?, but I love getting to tell about them. I love getting to talk to my students about the opportunities I've had to travel, and what a mission trip is all about. I love telling them the ways that these kids are different than them, and how they're the same too. How the boy in the lower picture makes his home in the city dump, but is also very joyful and kind, and how the families in the top picture live in tin houses with dirt floors, but they know their needs are met in Christ.
This week with my 4th and 5th graders, we're reading about what it's like for children to go to school in Guatemala. How often, they have to walk a very long way and have class with children of many ages all packed into one room. Also, how very few families can afford to send their kids to school past 6th grade and how many of the villages only have primary schools. We also talked about how this leads to a cycle of inaccessibility to education that keeps many villages in poverty. It made my students feel very lucky and thankful for the opportunities that they have for education here, but they didn't stop there. They immediately began brainstorming about how we could raise money, like we're currently doing for Haiti, to help kids in Central America out with their education. I don't know how much of a notion these students have of their own families' struggle to provide a better education for them. What they could see is that there is need somewhere else, and they wanted to do what they could to help in the face of a need like that. And I was really proud of them.
And, by the way, these types of conversations are one of my favorite things about being a Spanish teacher.