Operación San Andrés Summer 2016 Youth Mission Trip, Post #3

Published June 14, 2016 by Isabella Baar-Hill

As a member of the music and dance team on the mission trip to Peru, I teach the kids songs and dances to perform for their parents and friends at the end of the week. Breaking through the language barrier, we learned specific Spanish words that are often used in teaching music and dance.

During our second full day in Peru at OSA, we presented the children with the theme of cultural exchange; we worked from American and Texan perspectives so the kids got a taste of our culture. During dance, we played many rounds of musical chairs (a game I've quickly learned they love). We only played English music because that's what we know and brought with us. While others led the game, I played and stopped the music, watching the kids from the side lines. I began to notice that the kids were quietly singing and humming along to our English songs, words they couldn't have known. I realized these kids were subconsciously, and joyfully, learning our culture in ways we had not planned.

During the music classes, Carey Cannon took time to teach and translate words we could use in common, enabling us to bond with them in a unique way. I was reminded of how excited the kids were when I came two years ago, when they would ask how to say things in English and I'd attempt to teach them. This was a new and eye-opening experience because I was accustomed to being their student, struggling to learn Spanish. Their willingness to overcome our foreign language and pronunciations with attitudes of joy is a gift I will carry home with me. Their openness to a new culture despite the struggle is inspiring. Every moment I spend with these kids who show such eagerness to learn despite failure, makes me strive more and more to be like them.

Isabella Baar-Hill completed her Junior year at Houston Christian High School. She is the daughter of J Hill and Hillevi Baar.