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W W W . G L O B A L V O L U N T E E R S . O R G
Global Volunteers’ service programs adhere to our over-arching Philosophy ofService in every community. Specifically, local people are always in charge ofwork projects, and volunteers contribute to community-driven initiativesalongside local people. At all times, we observe our policy stating “Safety TrumpsEverything.” Orientation sessions are conducted on the first day in-country, andmorning and evening meetings give volunteers time to organize and reviewactivities. The team journal, shared at morning meetings, is a mainstay of every GlobalVolunteers program. A daily collaborative report by one or two team members,it reflects on the day’s work and experiences. In many partner communities,volunteers contribute to several projects in different locations during the day.Through the team journal, volunteers hear about the projects and experiencesof their teammates. 2This journal digest, complete with photos, is a collection of journal excerpts fromvolunteers serving in Poland.On our service programs in Poland, volunteers help lively students practice theirEnglish. During the summer months, Global Volunteers join two-week Englishlanguage “camps” – bridging summer break and the school year with skits,games, songs, field trips, and imaginative activities in English. During the schoolyear, volunteers work in classrooms with elementary and middle schoolstudents. The first week of this journal (pages 3 - 17) includes entries fromsummer camps and the second week (pages 20 - 31) includes entries from theschool year. Check out our website for available service program dates.While such journaling requireseffort, most volunteers reportthey love the variety ofrecollections and stories. Thejournal becomes an enjoyableway to communicate shared andindividual memories, andbecomes a unique keepsake foreach volunteer team. Volunteerstell us that many years later, theteam journal allows them toreminisce and cherish their timespent with local people andteammates. ebsite for availableservice program dates.
This is my fourth time at the camp. Why do I keep coming back? I love cities, butfor me it is a real treat to spend two weeks in the forest. The manor housegrounds are beautiful and my room is comfortable. The food is delicious. Thestudents are nice and it is fun to teach English in an informal setting. The Polishstaff is very supportive and Dorota is a great team leader. I enjoy workingcollaboratively with the other volunteers. Poland is a modern and very Europeancountry. The dollar goes a long way here and I have spent some awesomeweekends in Warsaw, Kraków, and Gdansk. It is a beautiful country and that iswhy I keep on coming back.Today we started at 8:15 with a sumptuous Sunday breakfast of pancakes withplum preserves, juice, fruit, rolls, real Polish butter, cheese, meat, coffee, andtea, all accompanied with good conversation. At 9:00 we were at work in theteachers’ room. Dorota welcomed the team to Poland. Then she explained thehistory of the Global Volunteers program in Poland. We learned that Poland wasthe first country in which English was taught by Global Volunteers. Dorotaexplained the daily teaching routine and we talked about the first day of classes,shared ideas, and learned from one another. I then reviewed the Guide toReymontówka Teaching materials, acquainting the team with the wealth ofteaching resources that have been donated by previous volunteers.Next we reviewed health and safety concerns and then we discussed GlobalVolunteers’ policies and guidelines. Dorota pointed out these policies protectboth the served community and the volunteers. The activities for the morningmeeting were explained. We also received a service planner log that we can useto document our time as volunteers.DIANE4S U N D A Y
We then established four team goals, namely: (1) To teach English in a fun way(2) To learn about Polish language and culture (3) To be inspired by others (4) To enjoy visits with friends and make new friendsWe also identified the characteristics of an effective team and this list is posted inour dining room to help us remember.We also reviewed the resources in the teachers’ room. Suggestions were givenabout how to use them.Next we began to work on the goal of experiencing Polish culture. Jeanne went tomass at the nearby church in Żeliszew Duży. The other team members went inthe yellow van to Kotuń. There our team visited the grocery store. Then we tooka drive through the countryside seeing farm fields, old wooden houses, a hugemushroom farm, as well as the church in Żeliszew Duży. Back at Reymontówka we enjoyed obiad. This meal began with a deliciousmushroom soup. This was followed by pork kotlet accompanied by both cabbageand carrot slaw and, of course, potatoes. Erin proclaimed it delicious and her firsttake-away from Poland. I sent a text to friend who writes a food blog and whoalso has lived in Poland for five years. She tells me that the basic proportions,using U.S. measurements, are one gallon of water, a cup of sugar, and 1-1.5 lbs.of fruit. SUNDAY5
At 2:30 the team gathered for a Polish lesson. This was provided by Magda, whois Dorota’s assistant for this camp. At 3:30 we met in the tent. The camp director,Pani Halina, bravely introduced herself in English. We also met the other campstaff. Then each of us introduced ourselves to the campers and staff. Followingintroductions, we moved to the Big Room where we met the campers in smallgroups. The campers range in age from 8-13 years. Many speak very goodEnglish already.At 5:30 we again gathered in the tent to learn which campers will be in ourindividual groups. Every volunteer emerged from a short discussion with theirnew students happy and excited for the coming day. At kolacja our group againfound a new food – pasta with whipped cream and blueberries. Of course, therewas the usual selection of cold cuts, cheese, and bread to make sandwiches. Theday closed with the volunteers preparing lessons for tomorrow in the resourceroom.SUNDAY6
I f l i f e w e r e p r e d i c t a b l e i t w o u l dc e a s e t o b e l i f e , a n d b ew i t h o u t f l a v o r .~ Eleanor Roosevelt
We began the day with another wonderful breakfast followed by our dailymeeting. Then it was off to meet with our students. We taught four sessions,each 45 minutes, with a 15-minute break between lessons.I have a group of ten students ranging from ten to twelve years. We did aBirthday Line-Up where classmates said when their birthdays were and linedthemselves up from early birthdays to birthdays later in the year. We then didanother line-up where students arranged themselves according to the number ofsiblings they had. This was followed by the name game; students had to say theirname after saying the names of students before them. Then we did the namegame plus one fact; students gave their name and told something aboutthemselves, e.g., “My name is Filip and I like to dance”.“Find Someone Who…” was a good way for me to get to know students. Forexample, “Find someone who has visited another country” was one of thequestions. Students went around the room and asked other students and me tofind people who did certain activities. Students reported back and I did a followup, e.g., “You said you liked snakes. Would you like to have a pet snake?”8MARKM O N D A YOur first day of teaching! I am sure that I speak for all when I say we are bothanxious and excited. Excited because I would meet my class for the first timeand a bit anxious because I didn’t know if the activities I had planned for themwould be at their level. Marilyn shared the Message of the Day, "Touch thefuture: teach" and pointed out that you may not see immediate results of yourtouch, like students who greet her years later.
Word Association was also successful. For example, the teacher says “hot”. Thenthe next student could say “cold”. “Snow” and “white” could be follow-upassociations. If students gave an association that was not immediately obvious,he/she had to explain the association. For example, one student said “mosquito”and the next said “angry”. When I asked why the student had said “angry”, sheexplained that mosquitos bite people because they are angry.Lastly, we played Jingo, which is like Bingo except words or phrases are usedinstead of numbers. The teacher describes a word and students must find thepicture that corresponds to the description. We started with “Summer Fun Jingo”.I think I will take Lori’s advice and ask students to define some of the words wetalked about, particularly holidays like the Fourth of July. It was an enjoyable dayand students were enthusiastic.After the morning of teaching, we enjoyed a wonderful lunch (obiad in Polish).We discussed our feelings about the morning of teaching and each of us shareda teaching activity that we felt was successful. Successful activities reported byother volunteers were the teacher saying a word, e.g., “snow” and the nextstudent had to say a word that started with the last letter of the word. In thiscase, the word would have to start with a “w”, such as “weekend”. Anothervolunteer reported success with a game of U.S. Geography Bingo. This will be agood follow-up to the short geography lesson I gave students today. The rest of the afternoon was for lesson preparation and much-needed rest. At8:00 p.m. began the initiation of the new campers. This included fun and gamesfor the kids. The evening program for the campers was karaoke. It was fun to seethe students so eager to sing popular songs. I was even able to sing ‘Mamma Mia’to karaoke with some of my students. The evening closed with ‘Sto Lat’ sung for acamper having a birthday celebration. All in all, it was an exciting, challenging, and fulfilling day. What will tomorrowbring?SUNDAY9
10HELENT U E S D A YToday at Reymontówka begins like many other days of summer camp. A roostercrows in the early morning hours, sounds of children fill the halls, smells waftfrom the kitchen where preparation of breakfast is well underway, andvolunteers continue to adjust lesson plans for morning English sessions. Wemet at 8:15 am for breakfast. Once again, the table was filled with wonderfulbreakfast food, including cold cereal and milk, yogurt and fruit, bread and rollswith butter and jam, a plate of sliced meat and cheese, and a hot plate ofscrambled eggs. Carafes of coffee and tea were served along with orange juice.Dorota greeted us and we talked about what the day would bring. Everyone waslooking forward to the afternoon trip to Siedlce.We gathered our materials and headed to our classroom spaces for a funmorning of English classes and activities. Today many of the teachers switchedstudents during the third lesson time with a Polish English teacher. During the fourth English lesson, we all gathered in the tent with a whole groupof children and played a game with music and giant dice. Dorota explained thegame and the teachers stood about the perimeter of the tent with numbers 1-6.The children gathered in the center of the circle made by the teachers andstarted dancing and running in the circle while Sylwia played pop music. Whenthe music stopped, the children had to run to a teacher holding a number.Someone then rolled the die and whatever number it landed on was called out.All of the children standing by the number had to sit down. The music wouldstart again and the die was thrown again. The dice were rolled many times andeveryone had a lot of fun!
The staff asked Jane to teach the children some cheers. Thanks to Dorota’stranslations, they understood what to do. Jane showed them how to do thecheer: “We’re big, B-I-G; we’re bad, B-A-D; we’re buff, B-U-F-F.” The girls loved“striking a pose” like Jane at the end of the cheer. Then Jane taught the wholegroup another cheer. “One, we are the Panthers; Two, a little bit louder; Three, Istill can’t hear you; Four, more, more, more.” Jane filled the rest of the lessonwith cheering with the children and even some of the Polish staff joined in. Sincethe children really enjoyed it, we decided to continue “cheer practice” duringanother session later in the camp schedule.The teachers gathered for obiad in the dining room. We shared pickle soup,bread and butter, tomato salad, chicken legs, rice, and yellow beans. Eachshared an idea from their morning lesson. Lori said she liked using HiddenPictures as the children enjoyed finding the items and it’s a fun way to for themto practice vocabulary. Sara and Jane reported they used large pieces of paperon which the children took turns tracing outlines of their bodies and thenlabeling part of the body as well as clothing.In the evening we had a traditional Polish supper which featured zapiekanki. Thisis a mini baguette covered with melted cheese and mushrooms. At the table onecould add dill pickles or dried onion toppings. The evening activity was theNiglandia game. The camp director, Jola, split the children into four groups forfour lands: Red, Yellow, Blue, and Green. She told a story about each land. Janeenjoyed joining with campers to make costumes, draw a sign, and develop acheer for the land to which she was assigned.After the game, there was dancing. Sara and Jane joined the students. Everyonehad a blast dancing in unison—well sort of in unison. It was fun when we messedup the dance, too. After preparing lessons for the next day, it is finally time forbed. Another memorable day comes to a close at Reymontówka.SUNDAY11
D r e a m a s i f y o u ’ l l l i v e f o r e v e r ,l i v e a s i f y o u ’ l l d i e t o d a y .~ James Dean
Our busy morning was followed by an excellent lunch, as usual, and then a visitto the Siedlce county government hall to meet with the newly appointed deputygovernor. The volunteers had an interesting discussion with her. We learnedthat the Siedlce county government is separate from the Siedlce citygovernment. The city has a population of about 78,000 and the county outsideof the city has a population of about 80,000. The deputy governor serves for fiveyears and may or may not be in the same political party as the county governor. In spite of Brexit, the deputy governor feels that English is still a valuable assetbecause of the travel opportunities and the opportunities it offers to live andwork abroad. There is no brain drain but the problem of low salaries meanssome Polish people look to other countries for better economic opportunities. In the evening, the volunteers join others present in the camp area to attend aspecial presentation of remembrance in the large room. For this is the day thatthe city of Warsaw and the country of Poland remember the Warsaw Uprising ofAugust 1, 1944.13EMMAW E D N E S D A YToday was a very busy day. Jim made a presentation about his hometown,Milwaukee. The highpoint of his presentation seemed to be the YouTubefeature that showed the Polish sausage winning the Milwaukee Brewers’sausage race. Three English sessions seem to run fairly smoothly for all groupson this fourth day of camp. An interesting presentation by Lori about thingsshared by her state of Minnesota and Poland rounds out the day’s Englishsessions.
On August 1, 1944 during World War II, the underground pro-western PolishHome Army launched an uprising in Warsaw against the occupying Germanswhen the Soviet Army was advancing toward the capital. The aim of the uprising,coordinated by the exiled Polish government in London, was to liberate thecapital of Poland before the arrival of the Red Army. The Russians waited on theleft bank of the river allowing Germans to suppress the outburst. The Red Army,although on the outskirts of Warsaw, did not intervene. When it did march in, 80percent of the city was destroyed and it was almost deserted. The Red Armyeventually liberated Poland from the Nazis in 1945. The Warsaw Uprising lastedover two months and led to the complete destruction of the city of Warsaw aswell as the loss of tens of thousands of lives (about 200,000 people mostlycivilians) as a result of mass executions or bombings. Rebuilding beganimmediately after the end of the war.WEDNESDAY14The presentation at Reymontówka includes a video documentary about theWarsaw Uprising in English with Polish subtitles, piano performance by a camperof “We Are the Children of Warsaw,” moment of silence in remembrance of theWarsaw insurgents who fought for freedom of their country of Poland, pianoperformance of an anthem, and video with a moving tribute to Polish survivorsof the Second World War. In honor of so many who lost their lives as a result of war and destruction, weshall remember them today and always!
First stop was to visit with Mariusz Chojecki, who grows mushroomscommercially. He showed us the large climate and humidity-controlled rooms inwhich he grows the mushrooms on shelves stacked from floor to ceiling. We sawspores just starting, which will have mushrooms in three days. In another room,we saw mushrooms that will be picked by Ukrainian women tomorrow. Thecrates prepared to ship were filled with beautiful large white pearls. Mariusz saidthey only hire women because they make the crates look nicer than men. As weleft Mariusz gave us a crate of the mushrooms, which we definitely look forwardto eating.Next stop was the palace in Korczew. It is in the process of renovation andabsolutely glistens. It was fascinating to see the picture of its condition in thepast, murals in the process of completion, painters’ tape still in places, and a hallto the kitchen that goes nowhere. All the work that it takes to bring such abeautiful place back to an elegant state makes one appreciate all the work thathas gone into many of the other sights we have seen in Poland.Today we kept to our usual morning routine of a great breakfast, Message of theDay and journal, followed by three periods of English. Fourth period was anacrostic scavenger hunt, which my group proudly prepared. Everyone seemed tohave a great time looking for the clues to the password.This was the day of our afternoon outing. It was particularly special because ofthe wonderful people we met. The list tops off with Sylwia’s adorable and ever-on-the-go 2½-year-old daughter, Kornelia, and Sylwia’s 13-year-old brother,Jacob, who wore his scout uniform especially for us. Jacob is a wonderful caringuncle whose sweetness with Cornelia was touching and effective as Korneliadelighted to explore every nook and cranny she could.15JIMT H U R S D A Y
My group enjoyed another game of Disney Hidden Pictures. The third and fourthlesson times found the students enjoying a film with English language dialogue.During the afternoon, the campers continued to be involved in rehearsals forthe evening program. Some of the volunteers went with Dorota to nearby Kotuńfor shopping and exploration. We gathered early for kolacja at 5:00 p.m. Wewere pleased to have Jarek join us for this meal. He brought apples gatheredfrom a family tree. We truly enjoyed this treat.At 6:00 p.m. the tent was full of parents and grandparents, siblings of campers,anxious campers, the Polish staff, and the Global Volunteers. We waited just abit to start the evening program thinking perhaps the passing rain shower hadmade difficult driving for some of the parents. But soon the show was on theroad. Marek Błaszczyk welcomed all to the final program. He introduced thePolish camp staff as well as the Global Volunteer teachers and Jarek. As theGlobal Volunteers were introduced members of their groups came forward topresent them with a thank you card and a Reymontówka t-shirt.16NANCYF R I D A YWere we hungry? It seemed everyone arrived early for breakfast. Today we hadboth the savory and fruit versions of the twaróg cheese, of course accompaniedby all the things necessary for fixing a sandwich. It’s hard to believe this is ourlast day. All of us felt our students had made great progress. It was hard to saygoodbye to them! Part of the morning was spent practicing for the bigperformance tonight for the parents in the tent.
First on the program was the theatre performance, Reymont’s Fairy Tale. Thisperformance borrowed details from a number of fairy tales. One part of theperformance was the presentation of princesses to the prince, for the kingwanted the prince to be married. I enjoyed watching the prince who by designdemonstrated disinterest in princesses by using his mobile phone or eatingpotato chips.The campers then quickly changed from their theater costumes to Reymontówkashirts. They then showed off their dancing skills. Next the children sang a song,Jestesmy Polka and Polakiem. Tom’s group was the first to present their Englishskills. They sang “In the Good Old Summertime.” This was followed by Jarek’sgroup who popped a tent on the dance floor. The children went into the tent andexited one by one to taste a concoction in a pot. They would exclaim forexample, “This coffee is disgusting!” or “This soup is terrible.” It was a great skitfor demonstrating use of adjectives. Another rousing dance was provided by thecampers using the song, “Light it Up.” Then Lori’s group presented ‘Tooty Ta’followed by Karen’s group with ‘The Hokey Pokey’. The students now offered asong, ‘Kocham cie Polsko’ (‘I Love Poland’).FRIDAY17Susan’s group then presented ‘Head and Shoulders’, but did it in such a way as todemonstrate the use of adverbs such as faster or very slow. Ed’s grouppresented ‘Old MacDonald Had a Farm’ complete with face masks for theanimals. A bell and tractor were part of this song, too. The students closed theprogram with a touching song that had the message: great moments such asthese are a rare life experience. The song closed with the students shouting, “Wehad lots of fun – Reymontówka number one!”It was very strange to go back into the manor house and not hear the students inthe halls. And so ended another very successful and fulfilling English camp atReymontówka. See you next year!
After this, we brainstormed for goals for the team for the week. Our groupdecided on the following team goals.1: To teach children in a fun and interactive way 2: To exchange cultures and ideas 3: To make new friends 4: To have a personal experienceNext, we developed a list of characteristics to help our team be effective. Theseincluded flexibility, encouragement, positive interaction, smile, cooperation,patience, integrity, non-judgmental, humor, and sharing. I then reviewed theGuide to Reymontówka Teaching materials, acquainting the team with thewealth of teaching resources that have been donated by previous volunteers.We were given information on our teaching assignments and school schedulesfor the week.21ALS U N D A YAfter a lovely local breakfast in our dining room, we met for our orientationsession. Over coffee, after breakfast, we each introduced ourselves. Next, wewent to the Teachers’ Room. Dorota began the orientation activities bydescribing the history of the Global Volunteers program in Poland. Wediscussed health and safety concerns as well as Global Volunteers’ policies andguidelines. Dorota described the morning meeting routine, including themessage of the day and the daily journal.
After this session there was an option to visit the local small village Kotuń. Wegot to look around a small grocery shop and buy some local goodies. Some ofthe staff and volunteers had decided to go to mass at the local Catholic Church,which was built in 1776. The local people are very proud of this church, so afterKotuń, we stopped by on the way back to collect them and have a look at thebuilding. The church is very pretty and religion plays an important part of Polishlife.We headed back to the historical manor house for lunch. Lunch in Poland is themain meal of the day and is usually two courses, soup and a main dish. Thismeal began with a delicious mushroom soup. This was followed by pork cutletaccompanied by both cabbage and carrot slaw and, of course, potatoes. With fullbellies and after a little free time, that afternoon we had a Polish language lessonwith Dorota. She is a very good teacher and had us all speaking greetings and afew phrases quickly. However, Polish is not an easy language to learn!At 4 p.m. we got to meet teachers from our schools to discuss what they wouldlike us to do, this was a great experience and I think every one of the volunteersleft feeling less nervous and more excited about teaching! Tomorrow we willstart planning our lesson plans for teaching Tuesday to Friday mornings. In theafternoons from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. we will be volunteering at a community centerwith 10 to 15-year-olds, helping them practice their English.After dinner we caught the train in to Siedlce and went to a recently renovatedbrewery called Brofaktura where we finished the day with a few drinks.SUNDAY22
All of my fears were allayed. I was surprised at the students’ high level ofproficiency. They understood me and I understood them. I was also surprisedwhen a student in the first class told me why English was important in perfectlyclear English. I was also pleasantly surprised when a student told me in thesecond class that some Americans were barbarians because we don’t alwaysmake tea in a tea kettle; she had heard sometimes that Americans use amicrowave. Barbaric is not a high-frequency word.We also talked about pets, places students had traveled, and their families, andthey tried to guess answers about my life. I dictated ten sentences about my life,i.e. “I used to live in Africa” and students had to guess if it were true or false. Wegot into some interesting mini conversations that played off the questions. I hadenough time to get to everything. It was a well-spent morning for me and I hopeit was for the students.We then were treated to a brisk walk guided by the very capable Czarek to seethe impressive St. Mary’s Cathedral. Afterwards we went to a grocery store to dosome shopping. Dinner consisted of spaghetti with grated cheese and the usualbut delicious cold cuts, tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers. I was very tired atthe end of the day, but it was a good kind of tired.23LUCASM O N D A YToday was an exciting day. We had an excellent breakfast of French pancakeswith California plum sauce. It was rather like the excitement of Christmasmorning because we all were to report to our school assignments for the firsttime. What kind of students would I encounter? Would they understand me?Would I understand them? Did I plan enough to teach for 1.5 hours? Would thestudents be engaged in the lesson? Would their level of English be sufficient formy lesson plan?
My next class was with the kindergarten and I love singing songs with them!We did The Hokey Pokey and a lot of other songs. We also played "I like it" andagain, nobody likes spiders! Dagny was a great assistant in this class.My last class was with a very energetic group of ten-year-olds. We sang andplayed bingo and "I like it." And I think we took the decibel level a little toohigh, but it was definitely my fault for being overly enthusiastic! It is a very funclass! The eleven-year-old girls still love to talk to me, especially when Ryan isaround. We went back to the lodging, tired but happy. Dagny and I playedmore BINGO and we all shared our days as a group at lunch. We also went tothe Community Center, where I played more BINGO and Josh had a nice chatwith the older children. I also put together some materials and plans for thenext day.24JACQUELINET U E S D A YTuesday was a chilly and rainy day, but my family was up and ready to go! Wearrived at the school and I started my day with the class of nine-year-olds. Iwas to teach religious education and tried to base my theme around Noah'sArk, but I am not sure if the kids knew what I was doing. In any event, they alljoined into my rendition of "Old Noah Built an Ark" to the tune of OldMcDonald and laughed at my silly attempts to act like a horse, pig, chicken, etcWe also tried a Guess Who? game with some animal stickers, but it was abovethe language level, so I quickly modified it and did a lot more animalimitations, which included Dagny riding on me like a horse. We then played "ILike It"with animal flash cards. The kids loved it and we all now know that weall do not like spiders and everyone really likes dolphins and cats!.
T h e t r u e m e a n i n g o f l i f e i s t op l a n t t r e e s , u n d e r w h o s e s h a d ey o u d o n o t e x p e c t t o s i t .~ Nelson Henderson
Zbigniew began by reading newspapers and discussing issues. He gave a lectureon the Universe and the implications of The Big Bang Theory. He continued withvertices, faces, and edges supplying the equations s+v=e+z. Later he comparedthe speeches of JFK and Alexander the Great and had his class discuss.Fourth period, Avery delivered an informative presentation on Texas and Florida.There was much interest and many good questions. The session concluded witha rousing rendition of Cotton Eyed Joe with many students joining in thedancing. Not to be outdone, three young men provided some hilarious laughswith their version of YMCA.26KARENW E D N E S D A YIn class today, Karen’s students gave them national park presentations. Susan’sclass played Jeopardy and Scattegories. Annie’s class played a word game,created a Gratitude Tree, and learned a new card game. Lynn’s class worked onphonics to increase vocabulary and discussed what they had learned theprevious day. Avery presented a case study on heart transplants (who deservesthe heart and why), played Jingo, and practiced dancing for later as well aslearning a few Polish dances. Matthew engaged his students in a game ofResistance, the resistance and one Merlin, a strategy and persuasion game thekids seem to love. They played three times.At the morning meeting, Karen gave the Message of the Day and Jacqueline gavea thorough repeat on the previous day. Dorota spoke about the day’s upcomingevents: cleaning crew tending to our rooms, afternoon hike, and the eveningdance activity. New Polish words were in the food and drink category: lody (ice-cream), lod (ice, pronounced ‘lute’), kawa (coffee, pronounced with a ‘v’), herbata(tea), woda (water), prosze (please), poprosze (a very polite please), toaleta (toiletwith ‘triangle’ for men and ‘circle’ for women).
The children, Matthew, Avery, Lucas, and Karen went on a hike to DolinaKoscieliska. It was rather ambitious. Departure time was 1:45 p.m. The grouparrived back home sometime after 7:30 p.m. Some of the group elected toproceed into the canyon and climb the ladder to a vertical cave. Some anxietybut lots of smiles and cheers as people exited the cave.The children, Matthew, Avery, Lucas, and Karen went on a hike to DolinaKoscieliska. It was rather ambitious. Departure time was 1:45 p.m. The grouparrived back home sometime after 7:30 p.m. Some of the group elected toproceed into the canyon and climb the ladder to a vertical cave. Some anxietybut lots of smiles and cheers as people exited the cave.WEDNESDAY27
In the morning we are off and running – most of us to different locations fromvarious elementary school to high schools to the university. The only other timeI recall a similar chaotic scenario is when my brother and I would leave early forhigh school and our younger sister followed an hour later for elementaryschool. And just as it was then, everyone here is out the door lugging variousthings: papers, magazines, lesson plans, words to songs, and even pictures ofanimals. Lucy has so much stuff she uses a knapsack. At first I was puzzled as towhy she would pack up as if she were leaving. I was pleasantly surprised when Ilearned she was staying yet I could not imagine how in the world she managedto find so many things for the younger children to do. However, judging fromthe singing I heard later in the day at the community center and the joy in thechildren’s voices, I quickly concluded Lucy had packed the most perfect items.28OLIVIAT H U R S D A YIt’s Thursday today. We know more about each other and the rhythm of ourteam has come together. Breakfast is always filled with the soft hum ofvolunteers sharing their plans and hopes for the day knowing full well that mostthings will not go as planned. And those unrehearsed moments are the mostprecious, such as when the children in Chuck and Dot’s class inquired if theymay give them a hug and lined up in an orderly fashion so their friend who wasnext in line could take their picture with Dot and Chuck.
Jim, Connie, and I continue our half hour commute to the university where wefind ways to improve the conversational English of the students. Czarek, ourPolish language teacher who is a third year (final year) at the university, wasenormously helpful to me the evening before when we worked togetherexchanging ideas as to topics the university students might enjoy. When I thinkback over these days, the class I enjoyed the most was the one where theprofessor stayed through my lecture and added comments and thoughts aboutthe difference between the United States and Poland. It was a wonderfulcultural exchange.In the afternoon, Connie and Jim tutor women who are committed to improvingtheir English language skills. The remaining volunteers go to the communitycenter in Kotuń and socialize with children and adolescents. Thank you, Dorota,for putting with me with the adolescents. I have even learned how to play Appleto Apple!In the afternoon, Connie and Jim tutor women who are committed to improvingtheir English language skills. The remaining volunteers go to the communitycenter in Kotuń and socialize with children and adolescents. Thank you, Dorota,for putting with me with the adolescents. I have even learned how to play Appleto Apple!THURSDAY29
The day began with a bittersweet feeling that our time was coming to an end.Omelets, in this case, and a naleśniki folded with jam inside, greeted us forbreakfast. My days in Poland went by so quickly. Today was our final day ofclasses with the students. Using question words, I tried to force the students to speak. When they canprepare and read, they definitely do better. By this time, teachers saw that theycould leave the class with me and work continued while they were elsewhere.Seeing if I could explain their new vocabulary words using simple English was afun, spur-of-the-moment challenge. We got to the textbook sheets that she hadgiven me that first Sunday. I found myself using two very slang expressionswhich I did explain – ‘pain in the neck’ and ‘peanut gallery’. All of our classeswere very relaxed and fun, as we wanted to enjoy our last lessons. We spent lotsof time doing engaging worksheets, playing games, and just enjoying eachother’s company. We played a Jingo game, but again I used the teaching strategyof having them first draw Jingo cards and write sentences with those words. Atthe close of the class, the students presented me a box of Ptasie Mleczko candyand figurine of a small angel as a gift for my last day.There was a tangible bittersweet feeling in the air, knowing it was our last class.There have been great friendships and bonds made between everybody.Something everybody will remember forever. A quick visit to their church wasfollowed by a simple barbeque of kielbasa, mountains of pastries, and punch. Itwas a jolly time and the students sang for us – and we for them a little. Weanswered a few of their questions on American life. 30EVELYNF R I D A Y
Upon our return from town, we enjoyed our final dinner together, consisting ofcrepes. After that, farewells were in order. It was our last chance to seeeveryone. Hugs were exchanged, as were emails and pictures, and everyonewent their separate ways.I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say that our time in Poland was somethingwonderful. The language barrier proved to not be an impediment toconnection, and I regarded my relationship with the children as somethingspecial. There was a point where, tired, I asked Anna if she thought this waswhat being a parent was like, at least to some degree. I think the children taughtme so much, maybe more than I even taught them. I’m going to miss Poland,I’m going to miss its people and the gorgeous countryside. I’d like to personallygive a huge thank you to everyone that participated; it was so nice to meet all ofyou. I hope to return someday, and I await that opportunity with muchexcitement.FRIDAY31
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