Guayanilla. In the Southwest, few schools have been left standing by the earthquakes, while in the pandemic, parents turn to ingenuity and creativity so that their children can continue their academic studies at a distance.
Nidia Rivera Méndez, is a young mother from Guayanilla who with few resources, but with great effort, fights alone so that her little ones, Onix Javier (10), Javielys Isonix (9) and Jayvier Oneil (8) continue with their process of learning.
The refrigerator of the humble home, in the Verdún neighborhood, is the blackboard with which Nidia tries to make her children understand school lessons. The young woman uploaded a photograph of the improvised blackboard to social networks, one of the children’s teachers shared it and the post went viral.
“I told the teacher: ‘Teacher, you can put it public so they can see that it can be done, that you have to be creative.’ You also have to see if they get soft (in the Department of Education) and distribute those desks that are in the school and are getting lost, “said Rivera Méndez.
“I didn’t do this to make me feel sorry, too bad, or to give me gifts. Sometimes we focus on our problems and because we are blinded by those problems, we don’t see that the solution is in front of us, “he said.
“I got desperate because I didn’t have a blackboard for the kids. Desperately, I took a magic marker from the kids, I passed a line on the refrigerator and told a friend to bring me magic markers… I thought that the refrigerator works for writing and that the ink comes out with degreaser. After my children have a way to educate themselves, that is material, that is erased ”, asserted the Guayanilla mother, who worked as a waitress in a hammock and with the pandemic the establishment closed. The young woman decided to dedicate herself fully to the education of her children.
She said she also wanted to make many mothers understand that there are no obstacles or barriers that prevent them from getting ahead. “We have to show our children that we are strong. I also want to show my children that one morning they will say: ‘Mommy used the refrigerator to teach me and she didn’t have a blackboard and if my mom could do that, I can do bigger things.’ Creativity and imagination are not lacking because I have three brilliant children, ”he said.
Rivera Méndez said that there are many low-income students and children who do not have the means to buy a table to put their notebooks and can use the desks of the schools that had to close due to the pandemic and some in the Southwest that have been collapsed .
“Right now we are not here to sit those children on the floor of our houses because there are many bacteria. You have to make a call to the Secretary of Education (Eligio Hernández) to see if they listen to us with those desks, those children need them. There are mothers who have three and four little boys in school and it is very difficult for us to buy so many materials, ”said Rivera Méndez.
The simple woman lives rented on the ground floor of the residence of an aunt, who shares her Internet services so that the children can connect remotely. Last Wednesday the children received the computers from the Department of Education.
Rivera Méndez said that the same day that the photo of the homemade blackboard was uploaded, a friend of the teacher offered her a used desk that had to be covered with paper to cover the top. “The girl told me: ‘Oh, Mommy, what a thrill I have a desk for myself,” she said.
In the living room of the small house, Rivera Méndez improvised the classroom. On one side he placed the desk next to another, also small. She did not have chairs and was using iron ones from the small dining room of the modest house, but on Saturday a Caguas couple arrived with three folding chairs and a desk that their daughter, now a university student, would no longer use.
He said that he accepted the chairs because “my daughter has surgery on her left kidney and these chairs (the iron ones) are hard and the baby’s back needs them.”
On the wall “of the classroom” the creative mother placed a poster with the password so that they do not forget them and the children can access their computers.
In several organized drawers were the notebooks, crayons, glue and other class materials. “They still haven’t given them books, the ones they have are the ones who gave how much the schools were closing and some teachers were distributing them …”, he said.
In the backyard of the house there was a desk that the teacher brought him, who shared the photo of the homemade blackboard and before First Time arrived, Rivera Méndez cleaned it so that his children can use it.
Also in the courtyard there was a home garden and on one side, another small garden with little plants for the children so that they also learn “that you have to cultivate the land,” said Rivera Méndez.
“The sky is the limit,” read a makeshift cardboard sign in the home classroom.