I have finally arrived in my home for the next several months, in a town called Las Norias de Daza, which is in the greater area called El Ejido, which itself belongs to Almeria. I haven't yet figured out what the divisions are called, but they roughly work out to municipality, county, and province/state for English speakers. The picture above is from my trip here, on the bus. I could see that from my window, and in the opposite direction the Mediterranean Sea.
Thanks to Google Maps, we can see where I am in Spain:
I’m living with one other sister, near to the center, called Bantaba, where we have classes for migrants. We have a larger community of five, but we don’t all fit in the same house! So we share meals and prayer, along with daily mass and ministry, but we sleep in two different houses. I wouldn’t say it’s ideal, but it’s working so far (it hasn’t even been a week! But I trust it will keep working!).
I have been asked to take on someone else’s Spanish class while she has some time off, and we are working on building vocabulary. This week, it’s about the rooms of the house and the different things in them.
I’ve also been given my very own class on computers. It starts Thursday—and I’m looking forward to it. I have no idea what it will be like, I’ve been told that it’s in high demand (which makes sense) and that I will have to start at the very beginning. So, day one will be vocabulary about the computer itself and the different pieces. We have seven desktops for students to use. Day One will continue with “how to turn the computer on” and “how to use the mouse.” Also, the “mouse” is called a “ratón,” which is the Spanish word for “mouse.” :D The good news is that I will be able to learn the words for the different things along with my students. (Also, if you google “games to learn how to use a mouse” you get some results! Who knew!)
A word about our students. All are immigrants from Africa, coming from Morocco or other parts further south. It seems the majority are from Morocco. They have different levels of education, ranging from none at all to a little bit. Some apparently speak French, and if they do and are literate, they know our alphabet. Others know how to write Arabic, and others have never written at all. I can imagine this makes teaching a bit complicated. Fortunately the classes are pretty small, and the students are very motivated.
I posted the article about the work migrants do here. Mostly it’s “intense agriculture,” where fruits and vegetables are grown in greenhouses. They can be seen in the satellite images of the area: all the white spots are greenhouses.
I have a hard time imagining what this has done to the land here. Apparently, there are some man-made lakes of the water that emerges from the land as it is used this way, salt water that seeps out from the sea. I’ve been told also that there are different birds that have made this area their home because of the way things have been changing. I’m sure there are other things being affected that have not been considered.
I don’t know how to evaluate these environmental changes. We are in a world that is highly populated, and this area brings much-needed vegetables to the countries of Europe. It is a very profitable business, which brings money to a region that was previously very poor. It also brings work to migrants who have no other resources and few skills. To my eyes so far, and with the information that I have from others, it seems to be a good system, though of course there are people who take advantage of people who are in vulnerable situations.
That’s it for today. Blessings to each one!