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Hola! Thanks to an internship grant from Reed College, I have found myself in La Manzanilla, Mexico, working for La Catalina Educational Foundation. After finishing school, moving out of my college home, and dashing around Portland, Oregon to purchase supplies for the foundation with my grant funds, I flew into Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. In the sticky heat, I took a cab and a 4 hour bus down the coast, to meet Nancy, program director extraordinaire, and Stephanie, another intern who has been in La Manzanilla since the end of april. Immediately, Nancy set me up in a wonderful unused rental home with Stephanie, and acquainted me with the beautiful town and the foundation's work within it.


This was barely two weeks ago. Already, I have begun teaching English in both the Telesecundaria (middleschool) and the Primaria (elementary school), as well as in LCEF's drop-in after school English classes at the Costa Alegre Educational Foundation. I have sat in on various classes and projects that are either offered or facilitated by the foundation, including adult English classes, a donation art class in a woman's home, and a sex-ed class at the Telesecundaria presented by CalState San Diego researchers. LCEF seems to be the place to turn to if anyone local or visiting wishes to initiate programs in the community.

Afterschool students lined up outside of the Costa Alegra Educational Center, home to many of LCEF's community programs. The foundation hopes to build two more classroom structures as soon as they aquire adequate funding.

I have also taken a week of complementary Spanish classes at the La Catalina Natural Language School (which I am continuing now), and Nancy has set me up in an intercambio (language exchange), with David, our water provider, who is turning out to be a fabulous teacher (hopefully he feels the same about me). I have met many local people (mostly hilarious niños), experienced a regional fútbol match and the festivities that followed when La Manzanilla WON!, and hiked around the area with Nancy and Stephanie, who have already become great friends.

Stephanie and Kelly at a La Manzanilla Championship Fútbol Match

Needless to say, I have been busy, but given the breathtaking tropical landscape (it really is) and the foundation's support of my learning and teaching, this is only a positive thing. I came to La Manzanilla to aid in community education projects, gain valuable teaching experience, and learn about educational nonprofits, and that is exactly what I have been doing.

Our hope is that this blog can serve as a place for Stephanie and I to narrate what we learn and experience as LCEF interns this summer. This will include sharing much information about LCEF's exciting projects throughout the community, and should be of interest to anyone looking into the foundation's work or a future LCEF internship. Enjoy!


-Kelly, LCEF summer intern

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July 11, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterdaday

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