While in Jarabacoa, Julie-Anne invited Lori and I to her school to see her teach and to lend a hand where we could. It was a chance not only to see Lori’s friend in action, but to experience a part of Jarabacoa and the DR that most people passing through never see.
Julie-Anne taught English to multiple grade levels at the ANIJA campus administered by Kids Alive International. ANIJA (a Spanish acronym meaning “Helping the Children of Jarabacoa”) has been in Jarabacoa for over 20 years and currently hosts 200 children from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade. Classes consist of English, computers and art, in addition to the standard Dominican curriculum. ANIJA also has an optional After-School program which provides lunch, homework assistance, sports, and other activities such as crafts and Bible study. The children attending school come from the local community or the nearby Ark Jarabacoa boarding house/orphanage also run by Kids Alive. Children living at the Ark come from all over the DR and Haiti.
We attended two classes and thoroughly enjoyed the children’s general enthusiasm and friendliness. Julie-Anne did a great job in her teaching duties and Lori had a great time reliving her past life as a multi-lingual elementary school teacher in South Texas.
These are some photos from our morning at ANIJA:
After class, we joined Julie-Anne and her students for a mid-morning snack at the snack shack (below). We had bologna and cheese sandwiches and juice.
Between school and heading out to the Jimenoa Falls, Lori and I perused the intriguing Jarabacoa cemetery in the middle of town (below):
Later, we met up with Julie-Anne and a friend to hike a a waterfall, eat at a local Polleria, and hang out at her place with Julie-Anne’s friends and co-workers.