These past few weeks I have been gaining a lot of experience in interpretation of the park. On Wednesday I gave my first solo guided walk through the museum to two school groups. The children were from a fourth grade class in a Tucson school. I ‘shadowed’ another volunteer last week and took notes for items to cover in the tour. I’m scheduled again for next Wednesday.
Yesterday I went to a local school with one of the rangers and two other volunteers for a program called “Encounters’. This is a role-play experience where the children learn about New Spain and the development of missions, as well as Tumacacori specifically. Some of the children become members of the Tohono O’odham village at the time Father Kino arrived; some become chiefs and Indian scouts; some become the padre himself with caballeros, and an interpreter, all in costume. The children learn the story of the establishment of the mission through re-enacting what we know about how it happened. The teachers of the classes are the ones who select the children for their roles, which are given to them ahead of time by the ranger.
While some children do not seem to comprehend all the information presented, some really get into their roles, and do a great job. I think the hardest role is the interpreter who is a fourth grade student who can speak both Spanish and English (because we don’t know the O’odham language!!!). This role play is fun to watch, as the children are sometimes so self-conscious, and they begin to giggle, and speak softly. They did get pretty excited when they learned that there is a database online with the names of the people the priests made records of over the Tumacacori church’s history. Some of these children’s families are related to the people known to have lived at the mission. (By the way, the mission is the area of the settlement, not the church itself.)
Role play is a great way to help children learn history and to become self-confident. I spoke with the boy chief of one of the classes to see how he liked being chief, as he had done a very good job grasping what was needed for the villagers to decide whether to become part of the mission. He said he felt uncomfortable with having so much “power”. I think that is very insightful of a nine-year old child.
Now comes the losing part…
Since the summer, in Colorado, I have lost almost 30 pounds! While I needed to lose, I have not focused on that as a goal. In fact, I didn’t know I’d lost 12 of those pounds while I was in Colorado. I have changed my diet – it’s not one that is for everyone (and I don’t think there IS one diet that fits all); however it’s working for me. The main thing is that I’ve eliminated wheat in any form from my diet, as well as most corn, dairy, potatoes and extra fat, like oils and butter/margarine. I eat meat (beef, chicken, turkey, fish – no pork), veggies, sweet potatoes, fruit, nuts, beans and brown rice. By keeping busy with the volunteering, I’m more active, and do a lot more walking. Pretty soon I’ll really need to do some shopping for smaller togs!