Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Our day in Strzala and at the community center in Kotun

Message of the day: "A life is not important except the impact it has on other lives" – Jackie Robinson (shared by Barbara)

Today we began our day with breakfast and a team meeting.  My Mom had message of the day and Cassandra had the journal entry.  After that we went to school in Strzala.  We first taught in the third grade.  We made American flags with the children .  They were very excited to do this and were especially careful to make sure they had all 50 stars on the flags.  We also played "Bingo" which the children love to do.  
We had a short recess which Jack and I played American football with many children and Alexandra jumped rope with other children.   The children are quite interested in playing football and holding the ball the correct way. 
We had  a 6th grade class after the break and we tried to do some more talking with them -  We had everyone stand up and introduce themselves and say something about them.    We asked them questions and had them ask each of us a question.   The time went by very quickly.  
For the third class period we split up and my mom and Jack went to a second grade class and Alexandra and I went to a class with 15 and 16  year olds who asked to speak with us.  We told them a little about ourselves and they asked us questions.  They seemed very eager to speak with us and find out things in America.  
We went to lunch where the children like to come up to us and say hi and want to spend time with us.  Surprisingly the lunch food was very good. (not like at our school back home) 
Following lunch we met with the 5th grade boys.  They were shy at first but then warmed up.  We spoke to them about what they wanted to be when they grow up and most would like to be football players  except for a couple who would like to be electrical engineers.   We then played bingo and they were having such a good time they asked to stay and play more instead of go to recess. 

 After school we were lucky to have Agnes the teacher who has been helping us at school  take us on a small tour of Siedlce.  We were able to visit the palace  which was very beautiful with its marble staircase.  We also visited two churches one the cathedral was massive but beautiful and the other a smaller church that was just as pretty.  
When we were done in Siedlce we headed to the community center.  Alex and I got to share a little bit about ourselves.  We played "Bingo" with the children  - they seem to very enthusiastic about this game! After the community center and our walk home we had a Polish lesson with Iwona.  I found it very interesting . 

As usual our dinner was delicious followed by some delightful desserts Cassandra brought from town.  

Today was a good day -   I love seeing all the smiles on the children’s faces when we come to their classrooms  and how happy they are just to say hello to all of us.  It makes me feel really good to be helping the kids with their English if it is only for a short time -   I love how friendly they all are and how nice they are to us.   Even though we don’t always speak the same language and it is hard for them to find words I like bonding with the girls in the older grades and finding out we have some of the same interests even though we live thousands of miles apart- 

As for the rest of the volunteers  Cassandra was ill this morning and missed her classes.  She was touched to find out through letters and notes how much she was missed!!!  Rene spoke about how important relationships are whether you are volunteering or doing anything.  He spoke about an autistic boy in one of his classes and how well the boy does with his work.  Kenita spoke of her day at the school for the disabled and how it was struggle to get the English program into this school and that it would add value.   Ralph spoke about his afternoons with a few older kids and that they are hard workers. 
Overall -   volunteering and giving back to the Polish community is so important.  I will always remember  the experiences I have had in Poland and the amazing people I have met .  I would love to come back again  each year even when I am an adult.  

Journal by Olivia