Thursday, August 18, 2016

Faces of Repelón: The Mother-Daughter Tandem

One of the best things about teaching is watching your students steadily improve their knowledge and abilities in whatever subject matter you are instructing them in. Whether it be English, math, science, or social studies, this visible change is inspiring and makes this profession so much fun. This reward becomes even more enhanced when parents become involved and help take charge of their children's education. This is the case with two of my students, Marbelis and Urimarcela. From the start of my classes last April, these two have attended pretty much every single one! It's so refreshing to see the interactions between them in class and how much Marbelis encourages Urimarcela.

Marbelis was born in Repelón in 1982 and was fortunate enough to grow up with a twin sister, Cibelis. Her mother, who was one of 14 children, was a very caring and hard working role model for Marbelis and her sister. Growing up in such a huge family really taught her valuable lessons about what it takes to be part of a successful family. It's apparent that these traits have been passed down to Marbelis.

Growing up, Marbelis and her sister did pretty much everything together. They played, studied, and even dressed the same. This became a bit of a game in itself for them as they loved tricking family and local community members about who was who. Despite, or thanks to the, the lack of technology, much of her childhood was spent outside, playing with her neighbors and other friends.

School was a marvelous experience for Marbelis. She was consistently at the top of her class. She received a scholarship to continue her education after high school and also was able to participate in numerous trips due to her high academic marks. Many of the same teachers that she had are still teaching today and greet her with enthusiasm when they see her. After school, Marbelis studied in Barranquilla, with hopes of becoming a bilingual secretary. She ended up receiving her degree and license to teach Castellana and English. She currently is teaching English at one of the other schools in town, I.E. Maria Immaculada.

Marbelis's first daughter, Urimarcela, was born in Repelón as well in 2004. Uri (the common nickname that everyone uses, including myself) has a younger sister. Her father currently works as a technician. For fun, Uri loves playing with her friends, watching televisión, and spending time with her sister. At school, Uri loves recess (what 12-year old wouldn't) and her English classes. On the other hand, math and PE are her least favorite activities during the school day.

According to Marbelis, Repelón is a very "cozy", safe town that is filled with good people who have a desire to better their lives. However, in order to fulfill this desire to better their lives, many people have to leave and move to surrounding cities, thus depriving Repelón of some of its best citizens. In Uri's opinion, the best part about Repelón is the library where she is able to do her homework with her friends.

Pueblo life is something that suits Marbelis well. She loves her life, her house, her family, and the fact that she gets to give back to a place where she has spent her entire life. At the same time, she does realize that sometimes it is difficult to achieve all that she wants to in life due to certain limitations that the pueblo presents. Uri views life in the pueblo as very tranquil and safe and likes that there aren't high rates of delinquency in town.

Both mother and daughter would love to visit the United States in the near future. Marbelis has had this dream since she was a child and started studying English in school. She sees the United States as a developed country that presents many opportunities for its citizens. She also wants to strengthen her English abilities and knows that living in an English speaking country is one of the best ways to accomplish this. For Uri, the United States presents her with the chance to also improve her English and to visit lots of famous touristic sites.

Personally, it has been an immense pleasure having these two in class together. Overall, parental involvement in their children's lives here in Repelón is lacking. To see that there are parents who care and want the best for their children is refreshing and encouraging. Marbelis is an amazing role model for both her daughters and the other citizens of Repelón. Uri has a very bright future ahead of her that is filled with endless possibilities. I have no doubt whatsoever that both will continue to do great things going forward!

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