Thursday, October 6, 2016

Faces of Repelón: The Kindred Spirit

Walking down the street on my way to school, I constantly hear shouts of "Profe!" or "Gringo" or "Teacher". Most of the time I just return these greetings with a headnod, slight wave, or thumbs up. However, whenever I run into Leidy Perez, one of my community class students, I always have to stop and get a little update on her life. She's just one of those people that draws you into a conversation whether you have the time for it or not. It's moments like this that get my day off on a great start before it even really begins!

Leidy was born here in Repelón in 1986. She grew up with three sibilings, while her parents were hard workers who provided lots of love and support for their children. Unfortunately, her mother passed away from cancer while she was young. However, she didn't let this untimely event hinderher from enjoying life.

One of Leidy's favorite memories from her childhood was the arrival of Christmas every year. On this special day, she was able to share special memories and time with her family that she didn't always get to see that often during the year. Leidy also fondly recalls playing with her sibilings and friends in her neighborhood. Together, they would play in the streets, go to the pool, and participate in various events/trips, such as going to see the animals at the zoo in Barranquilla.

The time that Leidy spent at school was overall a very positive and great experience. Her closest friends were like an extended family and they participated in many activities together. She thorougly enjoyed her English classes (which was apparent while she was in my classes) and dreaded attending her math classes. After graduating from high school, Leidy went on to study occupational health. Althought she currently does not have a job, she is continuing the search every day.

The thing about living in a small pueblo, espeicially Repelón, that really is attractive to Leidy is the fact that the citizens are super friendly and sincere. She also feels that she is free to live her life how she wants to without many outside influences telling her what she has or needs to do. At the same time, she acknowledges that there are not many opportunities for work. This lack of options leads to a lot of suffering amongst many of the people who live here.

In the future, Leidy would love to visit the United States. To her, the USA represents a land of many opportunities to both continue her study of English and to work. This is made possible by the fact that it is a very developed and beautiful country. She also feels that the USA is an example for the world on how to handle and create viable political and economical systems. Leidy also feels that the USA does an admirable job of collaborating with other countries around the world in finding solutions to problems and issues that arise around the world.

The entire time that I have had Leidy in class has been a pleasure. While she isn't always the most vocal student, I have found that when she does participate, she her anwers are always spot on and correct. It goes to show that it takes all types to make a successful classroom. Loud, quiet, extroverted, introverted - all of these personalities help to create a learning environment that allows each student to thrive. It was been encouraging to see that amount of progress that Leidy has made since the first day of class. She is truly an example of perseverance and hard work.

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