Thursday, July 19, 2012

Joseph's Corner: Third Day of Camp

The third day of camp has finished, and I feel like I am finally getting into a rhythm here. In the morning there are strict one-hour limits on classes, with quick transitions between each. Each camper's schedule is different, but Rowan goes to the computer skills class first thing in the morning, then math until lunch. Afterwards we seem to always go on trips, either around the city or to the "image factory," a local art studio which supports the BCVI and hosts the camps' art classes. These trips are the conclusion to the organized camp day, and when we get back someone from Row's family is there to pick us up.
Today I worked with Row again, it seems like he's the main person I'll be with while here, on how to operate Microsoft excel and PowerPoint. We were exploring uncharted waters here, because Rowan had finished every prepared curriculum for the camp last year and the teacher's plan was for him to learn how to operate new programs on his own, as training for when he gets or explores new programs. We got pretty far with PowerPoint, despite it being so visual, and he learned how to make a basic presentation with different slides, slide types, and backgrounds. Excel proved significantly more challenging, especially since I'm not sure how to use all it's different options (even though my dad's tried unsuccessfully to show me..sorry pops). So after about 20 minutes of floundering around, trying to figure out how to do different things, we had to give up for the day to move onto lunch block. But we're far from quitting. Tomorrow I'm coming back with a vengeance and will conquer this thing, hopefully.
In math class we worked on abacus skills with one of the catholic nuns who helped with the camp. In a group of five kids, we learned how to set numbers and multiply on the abacuses.
We worked on problems ranging from simple multiplication tables to four digit multiplications. Learning how use an abacus was pretty interesting, but it was crazy to think that this was one of the few ways a blind person was able to do math.
Lunch every day is a cooked, traditional Belizian meal. It always has beans and rice, grilled plantains, Belizian cole slaw, some kind of meat, and is always delicious. We have about an hour to eat and another 30 minutes for break before starting up again. But Row and I had a small delay today before we left for the art studio. A staff member of the Atlantic Insurance Company, a local insurance company, stopped by to give Row and the BCVI a contribution on behalf of the entire company and it's staff. I don't remember how much it was for, but just the action of an organization supporting the camp even after the walk and publicity had ended was pretty gratifying. At least I know now that what we did had more than just an ephemeral impact.
Art class was interesting. For the beginning of it we watched cartoons of Aesop's fables while molding play-do to get our minds into a creative mode. Then we did a little origami. First, we made a house which could stand up by itself, then made a little wallet. Row really loved making these figures, and was extra excited whenever he could fold the paper. The last thing we did was make a picture for feeling. We were supposed to make a picture out of different kinds of papers and materials that pleased the touch instead of the eyes. Row and I decided to make a landscape of the dessert and savannah at night, using sand paper as sand and felt as the camel walking in the background. I must admit, it was not the most visually pleasing, but it felt pretty cool.
Saturday the entire camp is going to the zoo, and I'm extremely excited to go! I stopped by it during the walk because it was one of the end points of a day, but have never been past the main building. Looking forward to the trip has made me want to skip tomorrow's camp altogether, but I'm definitely also looking forward to it.

Until tomorrow,

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