BootsnAll Travel Network

Volunteering at Manos de Colores

So, I think it´s about time I talked about what I´m doing here in Xela, as far as volunteer work, that is.

The original school I had chosen while in the states was El Nahual Spanish School, and they have many programs available for volunteers. I will be writing about my experience there later on towards the end, and I will give links to them here at that point…

For now….

For those of you interested, I found the school and the programs for volunteers listed on website.

However, for those of you interested in coming here to Xela at some point and volunteering, check out Volunterlogue online…or simply show up and ask what programs are good. I´ve heard lots of different things about the programs here..and it definitely pays to do your homework before agreeing to do something here long term, as there are like 300 choices of organizations. I have heard some negative things about some places..but like I said, it´s best to do your homework yourself. I, for one, have found Manos de Colores a very satisfying volunteer experience.

That said, my experience within the framework of the Manos de Colores program at El Nahual has been very interesting. Manos de Colores is basically an afterschool program-and in some cases, a substitution for schooling itself-for low income, poor children of school age in the area of Nahual.

There are many different classes taught, and currently until the end of December, I am one of the art teachers.

The conditions for the classes are much different than you expect, in the sense that one classroom I teach in is small and crowded, and the other one is a few houses down the road, and is taught in a sort of lean-to garage. There are supplies..but all of them are donated by the students they are precious. I have been buying the supplies for our class, as things like construction paper are scarce.

The children themselves are a bit wild and unruly, in particular when compared to kids at home. But once they are engaged in a project, they really get into it. They love the art classes..and for many kids here, this is there only experience with art. Art is not normally taught in the public schools…and creative thinking and doing is not valued, unless expressed ina more traditional way. Private schools have some art classes, but in general I think these all cost extra money.

The real challenges for me lie not so much in creating projects for the kids to do, but the difficulty with the language. I still have only learned present tense in Spanish, and can understand what´s being said if basic vocabulary is being used…but the kids speak quickly, and often I´m at a bit of a loss as to respond to their questions. Luckily for me, this week I am paired with another volunteer whóse mastery of Spanish is impressive. My studies this week have mostly focused on learning vocabulary for the classroom. The second challenge is dealing with so many different kids of different developmental levels and levels of skill. In both classes I teach, there are several children with developmental problems/who are slow, or think differently. For example in one of my classes,which is for little kids, there is an older child, who seems to be autistic.

The two classes I have right now are 1st and 2nd graders, and 6th graders. The 6th graders have been working on Libros de Comicas-comic books about themselves. I was a little unsure how this idea would go over, but it has been a huge success-the kids have really gotten into it. They were each given a booklet I photocopied of about 10 pages, complete which boxes for drawings, sections for storylines, and places for the appropriate BAM! WOW!
POW! and they were asked to imagine themselves as superheroes, and choose a special power. They really got into the special power thing-everything from the superpowers of super sonic hearing, invisibility,super eyesight, super taste!…etc. The example of mine was I was ¨Superchica Alta¨…¨ser gigante¨(super tall woman, with the super power of being able to become gigantic) and I drew my cover picture with me enormously towering over the city of Xela, holding a chicken bus, with people falling out of it…

In the younger class, we have more room to spread out, so we´ve been doing some messier projects. This week we did small mosaics of animals that my co teacher came up with..and on Thursday we will be doing gigantic mosaics on cardboard of indigenous women in their traditional clothing.

I am really enjoying the classes and working with the kids..sometimes it´s a little crazy, because for alot of them, their lives are very difficult, and this is there only fun time during the week-just to play, to have fun, to be a kid. I have to remind myself of this alot here!
The key to making the classes work is to prepare alot in my time off; to try to create something that kids like and at in engaged in, feel good about doing; and deal with behavior problems consistently.

I will post photographs of the kids and their projects after I take more photos this week of them.



16 responses to “Volunteering at Manos de Colores”

  1. Hi,I have finally read all of your updates….WOW…you are having an amazing experience. (Just a reminder, I met you when my daughter and I came into the Winters retail shop where you completing your last week of work)nrnrPlease let me know if there are any supplies I can mail to you….will be more than happy to do that.nrnrWill keep following your updates and am considering possibly meeting up with you at one of your destinations that you will be at next year.nrnrBe carefulnrnrCindy

  2. Travelclown says:


  3. nadine says:

    Gigi! you GO!! what a wonderful adventure you are on! i loved the story about cooking italian food for your hosts… thank you for sharing your experiences with us. all the best to you. i’m looking forward to more of your stories!

  4. Kathy Moore says:

    Hi, gigi It is so amazing to travel with you via your blog. You are a natural teacher, giving these children life changing experiences. I am glad you are going back to winters. I hope to see you there some day.

  5. Useful, for the point and nicely written, some uncomplicated adjectives I’d prefer to use to describe this perfectly written piece of info.

  6. Have you ever thought about including a little bit more than just your articles? I mean, what you say is fundamental and everything. Nevertheless think of if you added some great pictures or videos to give your posts more, “pop”! Your content is excellent but with pics and clips, this website could definitely be one of the most beneficial in its niche. Good blog!

  7. I do love the manner in which you have presented this specific matter and it does indeed present me personally some fodder for consideration. However, because of just what I have personally seen, I just simply trust as the reviews stack on that people today stay on point and in no way start on a tirade associated with the news of the day. Yet, thank you for this excellent piece and though I can not agree with the idea in totality, I regard your point of view.

  8. Hi there, I enjoy reading through your article posts. I had to to write a little comment to support you.

  9. Reanna Beute says:

    Woah! I’m really loving the template/theme of this blog. It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s difficult to get that “perfect balance” between usability and appearance. I must say you have done a great job with this. Additionally, the blog loads very fast for me on Chrome. Superb Blog!

  10. friv games says:

    I simply want to mention I’m very new to blogging and site-building and seriously savored you’re page. Almost certainly I’m going to bookmark your website . You certainly come with perfect articles. Appreciate it for revealing your website.

  11. The Autism Dada

    I found a great…

  12. Myrl Tafoya

    I found a great…

  13. Kaley Gerlach

    I found a great…

  14. junimeridio says:

    pick package insert for hydroxychloroquine management – how to buy hydroxychloroquine chemonucleolysis hydroxychloroquine use for covid19

  15. okbet says:

    Hi just want say that this article is very nice and very informative article.I will make sure to be reading your blog more.
    Okbet Sports Betting Online

  16. khbraalryad says:

    عامل تركيب أثاث إيكيا هو فرد مهني مؤهل يتخصص في تجميع وتركيب المفروشات والأثاث المباع في متاجر إيكيا. هذا العامل يلعب دورًا حيويًا في توفير تجربة استخدام مريحة ومرضية للعملاء، حيث يقوم بتحويل الأجزاء المفصولة إلى قطع أثاث جاهزة للاستخدام. يتطلب هذا الدور مهارات فنية ودقة عالية في العمل، بالإضافة إلى فهم جيد للتعليمات والرسومات المرفقة مع منتجات إيكيا. كما يجب على عامل تركيب أثاث إيكيا أن يكون قادرًا على التعامل مع مجموعة متنوعة من الأدوات والمعدات اللازمة للتركيب. من خلال جعل عملية تركيب الأثاث أسهل للزبائن، يسهم هؤلاء المحترفون في تعزيز سمعة إيكيا وزيادة رضا العملاء.

    عامل تركيب اثاث ايكيا

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *