Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Accompaniment of Scholarship Students

One of the projects I have been working on this year is accompanying the Foundation Camino de Emmaus in their workshops. One of the goals of the foundation is to support children in getting an education. They do this through scholarships to students ages 6 through college aged. In all of Colombia they give more than 200 scholarships every year! The foundation is a separate entity from the Lutheran Church, however they work collaboratively, and even have their offices in the same building as the Lutheran Church central offices. The scholarships go to either members of the church or people who are somehow connected to the church. One of the requirements to receive the scholarship is to attend an annual workshop.

The group of students who receive scholarships in Bucaramanga. Alexandra on the right, in the gray striped shirt,
is the projects coordinator and scholarships coordinator for the foundation. 

I accompanied the foundation in about half of these workshops this year. This was an incredible opportunity for me to continue to get to know many more people from the different churches. The workshops were all a little different, but followed the same theme of "mi proyecto de vida" roughly translated as 'my life project' with a better idea translation being 'who I want to be'. 

Hopscotch: family, school, church, friendships,
work, profession, partner and children, health,
hobbies, and finally my life project. 

Students in Tunja playing the hopscotch. Everyone was really
into it - even the students in college. 
We used several different activities to talk about the different options students have, aptitude tests to help students find their strengths, and talked about the importance of having a plan for your life...being the protagonist in your life. 

Zulma is leading jeopardy (which has become our go-to-game this year) to talk about the importance of our faith
and God's plan for each of our lives.  She used the exampleof Joseph (the prodigal son). The categories in this
game were: Joseph, Trivia about Colombia, famous sports players from Colombia, Name that hymn, note-worthy
youth from the Bible, and famous people from around the world. This photo is from the workshop in Ibague. 

In Sogamoso we made family trees to
talk about family relations and how that can shape
what type of jobs we choose.
These footprints were in the faith part of the
workshop (lead by Zulma), to remind the students
to have goals and work toward their goals - trusting
in the Lord. Each student wrote Psalm 37:5 "commit
your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act".
Another portion of these weekends is the opportunity to visit with the students who are receiving scholarships, see how they are doing, and just generally check-in. I also accompanied many of these visits. These visits are always interesting to me, hearing stories, talking about life, and just learning about people. We are always warmly welcomed into the homes and a large snack is given. 

During our visits in El Cocuy, this young student
proudly showed us her school uniform. Uniforms
are used in almost all the schools in Colombia, and
are usually very similar to the one shown here. Students
have two types of uniforms, a skirt and shirt (or dress
pants and shirt for the boys) and the other a wind-suit
for the days when they have gym/sports class.

Another visit in El Cocuy, these brothers were very interested
in showing me the stuffed animals that their aunt sells...
they normally are not allowed to play with them, but they were
given a pass since we were there. After they showed us the stuffed
animals they showed us their garden - huge garden where they grow
a lot of food. 
We finished the last workshop of this year on Saturday, in Bogota. Where all the students from the different churches came together for a big workshop instead of several smaller ones. This workshop (because of the size of it) was totally different from the others. I was with Stella, the Executive Director of the foundation, with the elementary students. 

In Bogota, all the students used magazines, newspapers, or their own art skills, to tell their life story. For the elementary
students this was a rather easy task, however, for the high school, college students and parents, it was more difficult.
Here Stella (in the back shirt) is showing the stories that were created and talking about the similarities and differences
in all of them...similarities being family, animals, and technology, and differences being types of jobs they wanted,
interests they had, and many more.