[Province of Spain – South] “On my journeys I see many girls who have never had any teaching and this ignorance is the root cause of slavery.” St. Louise de Marillac.
We are Lydia and Cira and we are two Primary School teachers from La Milagrosa School in La Oratova, Tenerife.
People think that our experience began on March 19th, the day we started our journey to our African country but as we are two extremely adventurous young women, our trip really began when we were invited to do some kind of volunteer work in other forms of Vincentian service.
We wanted to have some profound experience that would mark our lives for ever and that as the years passed we would know we had made the right decision.
And this has turned out to be the case. For 17 days we tried to give and to receive. After an hour and a half’s journey by plane from the Canary Islands, we came to ATAR, MAURETANIA where we found a country that is rich, and at the same time, poor. It is rich in resources and raw materials with possibilities for the future but for the ordinary people, it is a poor country. These people who have no hope of improving their situation, have no statutory right to sanitation or to education. It is here that we discovered the meaning of poverty, of living from day to day, of being without water. Rubbish, flies and goats freely take over the streets. But the worst form of poverty we encountered was in the people who have the power to overturn this situation but turn their faces away from it, even when their people are dying of hunger.
We found Nursery Schools and Nutrition Centres as well as Centres for the Handicapped. These works were directed by 7 Daughters of Charity who faced these challenges with enviable energy and were a great example to all who came their way. We saw them battling against adversity and, in the face of many difficulties, devoting their lives to others, day after day. But they find great happiness in being with the poorest and most needy people and receive from these, smiles, affection and kindness.
We did what we could. Our main aim was to offer training to teaching monitors in Nursery Schools. These women do not need any training in order to open a school of this kind so their teaching methods were very basic but they were open and receptive to whatever we were able to offer them. From the very first day of our formation work we were well received and the classroom was filled with women wanting to change their way of teaching and anxious to learn something from us.
The days passed by and we were greatly surprised to find that although, at the beginning, we thought that the women would stop coming because of family circumstances, the heat and the effort involved in coming to the evening classes as well as the many kilometres some of them had to travel, more and more of them kept coming. For a whole week they didn’t mind being rather squashed up in the classroom, feeling the heat or working for long hours without a rest break.
We gave them training in how to teach their classes in a simple, clear way and we taught them to recycle and make use of whatever resources they had for teaching. We completed this training by accompanying them every morning in their Nursery Schools and observing how they were applying what they had learned.
This long experience became something unforgettable because everything turned into a lesson on LIFE and the notion that material things do not bring happiness, became a reality,
It was 17 days of non-stop work. This seemed to last only a short time but during it we were able to do much more than we could have dreamed of, and for us it was a time of great happiness.
Taken from the website: hhccespanasur.org