La Fundacion de Marina Orth (Marina Orth Foundation) was started by Maureen Orth, a former Peace Corps volunteer who served in Colombia in the 1960's. During her service, Maureen helped construct a new school in her rural community of Aguas Frias, which is located in the mountains near Medellín. In 2006, she officially started this foundation which aims to provide students with a quality and sustainable education that is centered around the use of technology and English. The foundation is currently working with schools both in and around the Medellín area to implement their vision.
One of the cool things about this experiencce was the fact that we were paired up with RPCV's (Returned Peace Corps Volunteers) who had served in Colombia during the 1960's. My main contact, Mary, had served in a few pueblos around Medellín,so she was very familiar with the area. We started discussing ideas for the week and how I could best assist her back in May. As the date got closer, my level of excitement and anxiety continued to rise.
When Michelle, Alex, and I arrived in Medellín (albeit 6 hours late due to some mechanical problems with our original plan), we were picked up at the airport by two staff members from the foundation, Alejandro and Susana. We enjoyed a pleasant car ride to El Carmen, got checked into our hotel, and then made our way to find some food. We were super fortunate that all of our meals were covered by the Secretary of Education from El Carmen. Afterwards, Susana took us to a local cafe where we enjoyed a glass of vino caliente (hot wine - which was absolutely delicious) and more conversation.
|When your flight is cancelled, the only thing to do is enjoy some Subway!|
|Vino Caliente - on point!|
Overall, the week just flew by! Over 100 primary and secondary teachers attended the workshops that were provided. I worked with the secondary teachers and had an absolute blast. They were beyond greatful and appreciative of the new techniques we provided them in the teaching of grammar, vocabulary, and English conversation. The entire week was done in English and I was just blown away by the high levels that the students possessed. It was such a breath of fresh air to be surrounded by dedicated, determined teachers that truly want the best for their students.
Below are some photos that help capture the week:
|Secondary teachers ready to get to work!|
|Mary, an RPCV from the 1960's, answering questions|
|Everyone loves the fly swatter game - adults included!|
|Working on final projects|
|Teaching is hard work, so naturally we had to treat ourselves to some ice cream!|
|Introducing comparatives and superlatives|
|Was surprised with the traditional outfit of the campesinos (farmers) of Antioquia - and they chose blue!|
|Michelle, Alex, and I with Maureen Orth, the founder of the Marina Orth Foundation and Peace Corps Colombia legend|
|All of the instructors for the week|
|With Susana, one of the many dedicated staff at the foundation who did a great job of putting together this fantastic week!|
|Some absolutely beautiful words written by one of the participants|