Punta Allen - a day away from Base
Volunteer Sophie, who is joining the marine expedition for a month is telling us about her Trip to Punta Allen. Once a week we take volunteers there to teach the local school children as well as playing with the kindergarten kids.
A day in Punta Allen is divide into 3 parts; firstly spending time with the Kindergarten kids, who are unbelievably adorable and full of energy, than teaching the secondary school children, who are ‘too cool for school´ and after a lunch break we played with the primary school kids in kiosk.
Thankfully the road between Pez Maya and Punta Allen had just been redone meaning the ride was slightly less bumpy and it only took an hour to get there. Because the ride was quicker we had an opportunity to stop at two Mayan ruins and get a quick photo opp. As a trainy Coral Greek I was particularly interested in one of the ruins that was built around an enormous Diploria Strigosa. The story we heard was the Mayans valued this particular Diploria because they moved it to the site and built around it.
First we visited the kindergarten students, 15 hyperactive bundles of joy. Teaching Spanish-speaking children English was daughting especially because my Spanish skills are limited to ´hola’ and ´gracias’ however as soon as we entered the class room they were jumping around, pulling on arms and (in one case) supermaning onto John´s back and language barriers became irrelevant. We did ice-breaker-like games to introduce ourselves and incorporated basic English. then continued to play games teaching them colours and animal names trying to keep them focused for as long as possible until moving on to the next activity. The kids were ridiculous cute and fun to be around and I think we all enjoyed are massive hugs at the end of our time there.
After singing the Good Bye Song to the younger kids we moved over to the secondary school. Although it was hard to keep the attention of the younger kids is was impossible to keep the teenagers enthusiastic about learning. However Rachel [our staff member in charge of the Punta Allen Project] was very good at keeping them interested and on task and us volunteers did our best to assist her by either passing out paper or assisting individual students. By this point we were all exhausted and it was time for a lunch break.
Although most of the food on base is delicious (except endless zucchini. John) we are limited to foods that keep without electricity [mostly vegetables and starch.] Therefore we often spend our weekends binging on meat and cheese and I personally take advantage of the opportunity to get an ice cold drink. So a nice bonus of going to Punta Allen is to eat at Lucy´s a local shop that cooks empanadas stuffed with meat and cheese wrapped in a doughy tortilla [yum.]
The last thing we do in Punta Allen is after-school games with the primary school kids. We walked on the beach and drew the birds we saw then played more active games like cops and robbers, which used up any last bit of energy we had.
On are way back to base we had enough time to visit La Piscina (the pool) which got its name because it was a very large area of shallow (waist high) water. It was beautiful and tropical and the perfect way to cool down and relax after a long day.
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