It has been a while since my last post. I wish a happy new year to everyone. I have been living in Barranquilla, Colombia and I worked at an inner-city school from mid-September to mid-November. Most of the schools here in Colombia are private schools. The schools I have encountered are part of churches. The school where I work is called Colegio Nazareth Olaua. Colegio Nazareth is a pre-school to 11 grade school. The schools here only go to 11th grade – there is no 12th grade. During the school term, I work there Monday and Wednesday’s from 8:00 to 12:00 or 2:00. On the Tuesday, Thursday and Friday I had Spanish class form 9:00 to 12:00 or later sometimes. When I was helping out, I was sitting in on classes and grading papers. On a typical Monday, I would go to classes that where grades 6 – 12 . I got to help them learn English and I would talk a little bit of Spanish to them. I also graded papers during the 6th grade class because they were a little too much for me to deal with. Also, the class in Colombia are not like classes in the USA. In the classes here, the students talk and do not seem like they are listening to the teacher. The teacher can be up in front teaching or putting class work on the board and they are just during their own thing. It is very different, but they do learn things, so it works. The younger kids pay even less attention than the older kids. On Wednesdays I would work with pre-school and 2nd and 3rd grades. I did not think that I would enjoy that going into it, because kids are harder for me deal than adults – surprisingly, I discovered I like working with the kids. The older kids would not talk to me as much because I did not know a lot of Spanish, but the 3rd graders would do the work and then they would talk to me. I help them learn English and they help me learn Spanish. I had a good time working with them. I am not sure if I would want to work every day with kids – that could be a little much. I need to work with kids more to discover if this may be a path for me moving forward.
Also, on Tuesday I work at 7th church project. What 7th church project is that they have community center in a poorer area of town. This community center is where they have church on Tuesday and Saturdays. Church is from 4:00 to 5:00. They church’s mission is for single mothers in the community and they bring they kids, too. The community center is a two-story building on the first floor is where the adult had their services and on the 2nd story is where the kids would go and have they own services. I went to both of them. I end up helping out more with the kids with me and two other female leaders. The one leader would lead and teach the kids about God and myself, and the other leader would help with activities for the day. They did activities of drawing their families, schools, and other places. They had another actives in which the older kids read creation story and younger kids draw. I keep finding myself enjoying the activities with the children much more than I had anticipated.
It is now a summer break for the schools, since we are on the other side of the equator. It is quite warm and Barranquilla is an industrial city -larger than Charlotte – on the northern part of Colombia on the Caribbean coast. I am still striving to discern God’s plan for me here. I welcome your prayers and prayers for the people of Colombia.
John Paul Wilson
Welcome to the first installment of my blog! The first consisted of me traveling from Charlotte to Chicago to Newark and then to Stony Point, New York Conference Center – Stony Point is a multifaith, residential, intentional community dedicated to the study and practice of hospitality, nonviolence, peace, justice and environmental sustainability.
There are 52 of
us serving as Young Adult Volunteers throughout the US and the world.
We started with a welcoming dinner, worship and then broke out into small
groups. Generally, we had meetings with morning devotion and an overview
of the YAV experience, Bible study, and Vespers. Vespers is evening worship
and reflection. Morning devotion and Vespers had worship songs that were from around
the world not just form the United States of America. In the meetings we talked about White Supremacy
but not how it is talked about on the news. White Supremacy in the context we
talked about was that there are all these systems in place that are made to allow
white people to stay in power. They systems make sure that poor and vulnerable
in society have less power than white people and white males. Also, it teaches
white people that the more power the poor and vulnerable in society have, the
less power white people will have. White people are the ones that are befitting
the most from the system that are in places because the poor and vulnerable people
are often people of color and people with physical and mental disabilities. These
systems put white people and white males at the center, as well what they value.
Poor and vulnerable people and people with physical and mental disabilities fall
outside the center in a places that is called the borderlands. The center put
systems in places the keep the people in the borderlands in the borderlands because
they could challenge the centers power. The systems make sure the people in the
center stay in power. Knowing this had made me for to wrestle with my whiteness
and maleness. It makes me think about how the I am benefiting of the systems in
places because I am white and male. I am benefiting because I am white by being
ables to walk in to most spaces and no one tell me that I cannot be in that
space. I benefiting because I am males means that what I say it heard by people.
During that week
me and other yavs where at Stony Point we went to New York City. What we saw in
city was a rich neighborhood and poor neighborhood in Manhattan. The rich neighborhood
had a park with trees. It also had a church that takes up whole city block. The
church was big and looked like a catholic church. I think that is nice that church
it is there and serving the community. But the money that used build that church
could have been used to help community around the church instead of putting all
of the into money into the church. The poor neighborhood was made mostly of
people of color and I felt uncomfortable doing that. I felt uncomfortable doing
that because we were a group of white people observing these people of color
and not talking to them. I think that we made some of the member of that
community uncomfortable by doing that and also reinforced the center. It reinforces
the center because it we did not talk to them and that can be seen by members
of the community the we did not talk to them because they were people of color.
We had small
group meetings every day. Also, well as worship and learning about our upcoming
travel. On Sunday I went to church and got commissioned by them and they will
be fallowing me on my journey. On Monday traveled to Colombia and land in
I hope that people
reading this counite to fallow me on journey.
John Paul Wilson