Actually, we really should be called the Bad News Balakan-ers. Trey and I were considering suggesting this name to our newly-formed team, but without watching the movie (the original only!), they probably would not get the reference.
Friday brought with it some of the most beautiful weather we have had this spring. The whole town was so upbeat. As expected, everyone and their mothers showed up to conversation club at 2pm. We had about 22 kids squeezed into my tiny resource room. Friday is our game day. I have learned that just like in America, it is impossible to get school-aged kids to focus on a Friday afternoon once school has been let out for the weekend! It was pure agony trying to give some semblance of a lesson while students were pleading with me to play UNO or Pictionary. Well, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em! Now, on Fridays (except for this Friday because of a student mix-up) students take turns teaching the class. They come to me in pairs prior to the club and discuss what they want to teach. They create a lesson plan and decide what we will do, be it an actual lesson, a movie, UNO, you name it. I find that it gives the students some practice in leadership and responsibility, as I just sit in the corner and act as an assistant while they are setting up and explaining things to their peers.
On this particular day, I had planned to stay in the office and offer games to any of the kids who wanted to stay indoors, while Trey was going to take other students out to the field at the local school to throw around a softball. Before Trey arrived, we started the club by discussing ideas for our newly formed volunteer club. The kids decided that they would like to start with a used clothes, books, and toys drive to donate to the orphanage/school on the outskirts of the town. I really cannot tell you much more about this place yet. I need to go meet the director on Monday and learn more, but it is a school for orphans, I at least know that. Either way, I am again so proud of my students. They want to donate all of this stuff as a way of introducing themselves to the school. From there, they want to facilitate clubs at the school, sharing with these less fortunate kids the games and lessons we have taught them over the past 4 months. I am also encouraging them to teach the kids other valuable skills that they have, including computer skills, sports, and musical instruments, among others.
Anyway, back to Friday. The second Trey walked in and offered a game of softball to the kids, they were gone; every last one of them left to go with Trey! He had saved the day!
So, we made our way to the field and played a full game of softball for about 2 hours; we managed to play two full innings and the final score was 6-5. It was a game straight out of the Bad News Bears, rife with schoolboy fights at the other end of the field, kids using cell phones while fielding, kid running the bases backwards, and kids “stealing” bases even though the play was over. After reaching home, some kids were then running back to first to run the bases again; they couldn’t get enough of it!
That night, I went to Stephanie’s house to make cookies for the host mom’s birthday (I don’t have an oven). Stephanie has a full, enclosed house with a yard, so Trey and I were able to hang out in our underwear in the sun throwing around a football and no one, save for Stephanie (sorry Stephanie), could see us. Great day!
The next day was equally as fulfilling. At both of our sports clubs, we taught the kids how to play ultimate Frisbee. Surprisingly, the kids have a lot of natural talent and they picked it up very quickly, or maybe it just seemed that way because I am so bad at it. Either way, it is such a wonderful reminder why I am here when I get home at 4 in the afternoon and collapse on the floor exhausted, sunburned, and covered in grass stains, only to have to get up because one of my boys is knocking on the door, wanting to give me his baseball permission slip that his parents finally signed and thank Trey and I for such a fun afternoon. Yes, I like it here.
In other news, GO HABS GO!