Karen Ocon, a native Nicaraguan employed by the Peace Corps, visited us for an hour at the school in Buenos Aires today. We held class in a ramshackle room usually used to store bicycles. Our regular classroom had been transformed into a theater, the iron barred windows covered with paper to block out the goings on inside. A talent show was to be held there later in the afternoon and tickets were being sold – no peeking allowed. We had our own talent show on display in our makeshift classroom.

The children pulled up their favorite lessons to date. Karen meandered around as the children shared and spoke as animatedly as their creations about their work. I gave her my enthusiastic ‘elevator speech’ about OLPC, Waveplace and the Nicaraguan pilot. I am hoping that she will write a short piece for our newsletter with her impressions. She seemed duly impressed not only by the awesome display of creativity but also the children’s focus and the mutual engagement between the mentors and children itself. Once she had viewed their choice they immediately delved back into their work. She commented that she had never seen this kind of ready engagement in an elementary school environment in Nicaragua before.

After her visit Roxanna went into today’s lesson that involved advanced scripts. David, Geovany and I responded to the many requests for one-to-one assistance. Shyra was also on hand working on familiarizing herself with the XO. The children love to come to her aid.

Exploratory time found the children headed to the sound recorder that was introduced yesterday. They are thrilled to be able to give voice to their characters and sketches. This enhancement seems to be impelling them to further embellish their stories.

Suddenly the children began shutting down in unison. I attributed it to the talent show that was soon to be under way. They moved their desks outside and placed them in a semi-circle. And then Marcial and Geovany (who had slipped away unnoticed) appeared with two beautiful sheet cakes one wishing David and the other myself happy birthday. The children burst into song with gusto. It was a lovely surprise. There was ice and soda and merriment. We also recognized Marvin, a child who celebrates a September birthday. I received tons of hugs and kisses and handshakes. It’s a day I will always hold dear in my heart.

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