The following was written by a group of students from Newton, MA, who were visiting SJDS:
Hi, we are a group of students from Newton, Massachusetts! We came down to Nicaragua for two weeks this month with the Sister City Project in San Juan del Sur. We have spent a lot of our time here working in this fabulous new library.
Since weÃ¢Â€Â™ve been here weÃ¢Â€Â™ve done a lot of activities with the kids in the library and learned about their lives in the process. Each day, the library is full of kids coloring pictures, checking out books, and playing games Ã¢Â€Â“ things they never were able to do freely before the library was set up. The children are full of smiles as they finish each picture and proudly show everyone. We all grew up with an abundance of toys and crafts and were amazed to see how little all the kids have here.
Our first activity with the library children was bubble making. We brought tubs of soapsuds onto the plaza across the street and handed the kids giant bubble makers. Their faces lit up as each of them make their first bubbles. Children of all ages ran around blowing bubbles and throwing suds on their friends. By the end, they were using anything they could find to blow the bubbles. It was both rewarding and thought provoking to watch the children play with bubbles for the very first time. Our two weeks has been filled with new experiences like this one.
One afternoon we introduced the kids to Jello. The kids enjoyed playing with and eating the new substance. While mixing the Jello the kids discovered that by mixing red and yellow, the Jello turned orange. The kids were entranced as blue and yellow made green and red and blue made purple.
While weÃ¢Â€Â™ve been here we have also created puppets for a successful theatre puppet show, played catch with new baseballs, and helped the kids create games from scratch. After the games are over, the children enjoy reading to us from colorful storybooks. They get so excited to read out loud to us from books since few books are available in their schools.
We are sad to leave this amazing project getting started here. The library has drawn many adults and children now. This is the only lending library in Nicaragua that allows books to be taken home to read. The library has also introduced the children here to so many projects they would not otherwise have been able to experience. Thank you to the library staff and volunteers for this amazing opportunity and experience!
-Christine Fletcher, Laura Gutowski, Elizabeth Montague, Erica Lessem, Margot Koch, Julia Kastner, Josh Silverstein, Jerry Crosby and teachers: Kathy Knight, Jen Sopko