They came here to help


María had just finished watering the dirt outside to try to keep the dust of the unpaved road from coming into the house. She finished putting new straw on top of the kitchen floor and then sat for a few minutes to rest.

Suddenly a bunch of foreigners entered throug the patio’s door, and standing in front of the kitchen asked her: can we take a picture of you? They also asked María to please hold a sign.

María did not understand what the sign said, it wasn’t in Spanish. She asked about it. They told her it said ‘stop world hunger’ in English so people looking at the picture can read it. They took the pictures and then they promptly left.

María, not so sure about what had just happened sat at the kitchen table for a few minutes, looking at the floor, now covered with mud steeps all over it.

They came here to help, she said.  Then she brought a bag of new straw for the kitchen floor. Started cleaning again.

Training at the oil rig


It was my first class at the oil rig. A bunch of engineers and geologists waited for me at the galley.

The room was full of skeptical looks. You cannot blame them for their skepticism. They probably didn’t have the right examples at home. Probably our educative system skew them away from their natural interests, put a label on them, and encapsulated them in a box not to leave until after graduation. They were skeptical of what their parents and teachers never gave them the chance to learn.

My students needed help, and I was prepared to help them.

I got in front of them. I searched for their faces, making my best effort to make eye contact, and slowly, deliberately, started my lesson:

«A good chocolate chip cookie should look like phenocrysts in an igneous rock, and the chocolate should look like euhedral crystals…»

Immediately the faces of my students changed, I saw the understanding. I saw the fog of fear and ignorance dissipating in front of their eyes. It was just the beginning, and I knew the road ahead will be very difficult. But there is a chance, a fighting chance, that my students will learn to bake.