About Me

My name is Molly Clesen and I currently work as a teacher of students with visual impairments in Springfield Public Schools. I interned for 5 weeks this summer with the Manuela Gandarillas Center for the Blind in Cochabamba, Bolivia. This was an opportunity to empower and contribute to an amazing program in this local community by working with the clients to help them complete tasks independently, teaching lessons on writing, Braille, and other techniques, and participating in games and exercises to stimulate other senses. My goal has been to keep all supporters informed with up to date information about my fundraising efforts and experiences abroad. Even though I have returned, the center for the blind continues to need support. If you would like to donate to a very worthwhile cause, please click on the "Donate" button below. Thank you and any support you can provide is very appreciated. --Molly

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Monday, July 18, 2011

Is someone at the door?

Today Katrina and I started working with students and helping to organize the classrooms of the profes.  We are known there as Profe Molly and Profe Katrina, which is really exciting.  We helped hang posters and create a poster containing all of the qualities that students graduating from MGCB should gain in order to be successful.  During this time, we met Daniela, Adriana, and Alejandra, three of the silliest, sweetest girls in the world.  Two are totally blind and one has low vision and all were working diligently on their homework to prepare for their integration into the public school later in the afternoon.  Each day works the same: they go to the blind center for instruction in the morning and then they join their same age peers in the public school for academics.  I was assigned to help Andrea draw a picture of the creation of the Earth and the baptism between John the Baptist and Jesus.  As a true 12 year old, she asked me what I would like to draw for HER assignment.  Profe Mari had to continually remind her that she was not going to fool me, that I was a teacher in the States.  This behavior quickly subsided.  After helping her draw her picture, she thought it would be funny to knock on the table and say that there was someone at the door.  Apparently trouble makers are not limited to adolescent American boys, haha.  Today was one of the best days we´ve had.  All of them have been great with something different to witness and experience but it´s when I´m able to connect with the kids and work with them that I feel most comfortable and like I´m fulfilling a purpose.

This experience has not gone without its challenges but we continue to take it all in stride.  I miss taking long, hot showers and no longer take for granted that bathrooms may not have an actual toilet to sit on or toilet paper and that sometimes, you have to pay to stand and pee into a hole in the ground.  I definitely appreciate more the luxuries that we experience in the US and am building great friendships with the people who live here and the travelers volunteering with Sustainable Bolivia who come from all over the world.

Saludos y abrazos,

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