I have now been volunteering at Project Somos for over a week, and I have learned volumes. Greg and Heather´s vision to enable the family unit to survive through endured hardship is inspiring, and even more so considering what a great success they have had in realizing their vision.
I have been occupying myself with several different tasks in my time at Project Somos. One endeavour is working with the mothers as a teacher. Antonieta is a young mother of two. She never had the opportunity to learn how to read or write. Before coming to Project Somos she lived most her life as an orphan working in conditions that could only be described as slavery. The transition from her poor living conditions prior to Project Somos and now, are monumental; shedding light on the restrictions of being illiterate. Antonieta was becoming frustrated relying on the other mothers and children in the house assisting her with simple tasks such as when to take something out of the oven, or to dial the phone. When I began teaching her she was very eager, and every day she makes a visible effort, telling me that she studies every night. It is amazing to me, the progress I have witnessed. Learning is truly not something that comes easy to her and I suspect that she may have a learning disability. However, with her hard work she has gone from not being able to recognize any number to now being fairly accurate at recognizing and writing the numbers from 1-10. This week we are working on the teen numbers and the months of the year. Again she is struggling but I suspect that she will grasp this task just as she did last week.
Moreover, I have been working with the remaining two mothers Marta and Ana. I am teaching them conversational english and they both are ever so zealous to learn. Every day they both come with their pens and notebooks ready to learn. This morning Marta came up to me, reading some words she had written on her arm in an effort to memorize some of the most common english verbs. Both mothers have young children to look after every day, and (they have said), they are basically constantly washing their babies clothes for the young ones have not yet mastered the art of potty training. Marta expressed to me that she enjoys these classes we have every day because it is an hour to focus on herself and skills she wishes to develop, in a world that generally centers around her children. Learning skills like english at Project Somos is a great opportunity for these women who could not imagine such an opportunity in their lives before arriving at Somos.