Jocotenango had welcomed me with open, loving arms. I am staying at the volunteer house that is just five minutes away from Los Patojos, the school I will be teaching at for four weeks! The energy of Los Patojos is amazing. The children and teachers are full of life and creativity. I began learning right away about the classroom dynamics and the history of the program. This is not your average school. They focus on implementing arts, music, and culture into their school days. They want to provide a real support for their students and families, not just a strictly academic education. I knew I would fit right in this kind of environment.
It was difficult at first to get used to teaching 4 classes a day, averaging 20-25 kids in each class. The energy of the students really guided me through my own week of learning. I learned about the needs of these young people, what they wanted from a movement class, and what I could give them. Each day I had students coming up to me asking which day their group had dance class with me. This helped me so much as I was integrating into a community different than my own.
It was difficult for me to be away from everything very familiar to me, my friends, my family, my language, and my food. But I was completely welcomed by everyone in the community. It was very special. And the students love to move! They can’t get enough! Its amazing to experience young people who are hungry for more knowledge and to express themselves creatively. I am planning a presentation at the end of my four weeks to celebrate their training. I see them improving so quickly. Can’t wait to see what the next weeks will bring.
-Julia Horner, JUNTOSAmbassador ’17