This week I am working at First Baptist Church of Austin's Vacation Bible School and Creative Arts Camp. The theme this year is The Heifer Project, an organization that allows people to donate money in order to buy animals for people in impoverished communities in the world. If you haven't heard about them, I encourage you to check out their website and learn about their approach.
In the mornings, I am teaching Missions, which really delves into what the Heifer Project actually does. Each day we'll be focusing on a different animal that the Heifer Project uses, and then on Friday, we will vote on which animal the children want to buy with the offering money they brought for the week.
Today we talked about goats and India. I had a globe and showed the children where India was, and where Texas was--they were very impressed that it was just about halfway around the world! We talked about why goats are so great, especially for poor communities--adaptable to many climates, can deal with rougher terrain, cheaper than cows, another form of milk that doesn't have lactose, etc. We heard a story about a girl named Reena who never got to go to school, but when she got a goat from the Heifer Project, she got to start her own business with the money she made. We learned that everyone who receives an animal must take a class on how to best take care of their animal and of the earth. We learned that an important aspect of the Heifer Project is passing on of the gift, so in the case of goats, giving one of the kids that were born from the goat to another family in need in the community.
In the afternoon, I partnering with another teacher to do "Move with the World" where we are combining drama and dance. We met yesterday and planned a great curriculum for this week which I am very excited about, and will focus on the country of the day. We therefore are incorporating a dramatization either of a folk tale, or just a short skit, and then dance from that area.
Today, we continued to learn about India. We acted a short scene in which a group of US Americans goes to visit India and gets to learn some Indian dancing. The first dance we did was a sort of version of dandiya, or the stick dance, a traditional folk dance from India done at festivals, weddings and other celebrations. We used paper towel rolls as sticks, and danced around, tapping them together and clapping with partners. Then we did a version of Jai Ho, a dance done at the end of one of my favorite movies, Slumdog Millionaire. I basically did the same thing for the chorus, and the rest of it was just a lot of movement around that I made up as I went along and the kids followed what I did. They seemed to have a lot of fun and I definitely did!
Overall, day one went really well and I am excited for the rest of this week!