Paula Holtman – Okinawa

Paula Holtman
Okinawa, Bolivia

When I think of my time in Okinawa the memories include: mass, flying with Padre, going to the communities with Sor Nora/Sor Carmen, walks with Mickie, praying with Natalie, praying/bible study with the Sors, retreats with Courtney and Marina, giving Dan and Brian a hard time, Kris and Adam’s songs, bonfires with the professors, playing with the basicos, the dragon that lived in our yard, Courtney, Marina, and I all getting sick just after arrival, etc. Classroom Adventures: What can top having 50+ students?!

Hometown: Conception Junction, Missouri

Education/Work:

Studies:

  • Northwest Missouri State University – Psych/Soc. and K-12 Spanish certification
  • University of Kansas – Master of Social work

Work:

  • Liberty Public Schools K-3 Spanish teacher 2002-present
  • St Gabriel’s Parish Youth minister 1998-1999
  • St. Joseph Youth Alliance Assistant Executive Director 1997-1998
  • Tarkio Academy Outreach Prevention Coordinator 1995-1996

Other Volunteer Site: Casa de Esperanza – Santa Cruz, Bolivia (In 2001, after Okinawa)

Time in Okinawa: Arrived in January 2000

Fellow Volunteers/Sors: Courtney Carpenter, Marina Large, Mickie Biggs, Dan Herrera, Natalie Herrera, Brian Terrien (although not an SLM), Sor Geraldina, Sor Carmen, Sor Lucia, Sor Lucila, Sor Anabel

Living Arrangements:

  • 6 months in the Japanese volunteer house with Marina, Courtney and Mickie.
  • 6 months in the Japanese house behind the Japanese youth hangout with Marina and Natalie
  • 1 month with the Sors after my Service at Casa de Esperanza

Teaching:

  • Japanese School: 4-9 English and Computers
  • San Francisco Xavier: 7-8 English, 7-12 Computers

Other Activities/Responsibilities:

  • Sor Carmen asked me to help start a Padrino Program
  • Youth Group outings to other communities
  • Soy Nutrition education in the rural communities
  • Family night
  • Salesian retreats/monthly get togethers

Free Time: cards, play dough, bubbles, rocket launcher, paint, make jewelry, paint nails, etc.

Memories:

Mass, flying with Padre, going to the communities with Sor Nora/Sor Carmen, walks with Mickie, praying with Natalie, praying/bible study with the Sors, retreats with Courtney and Marina, giving Dan and Brian a hard time, Kris and Adam’s songs, bonfires with the professors, playing with the basicos, the dragon that lived in our yard, Courtney, Marina, and I all getting sick just after arrival, etc. Classroom Adventures: What can top having 50+ students?!

Frustrations/Challenges:

  • After being bitten by a dog I had to get the rabies shot – 14 shots in the stomach!
  • Kidney stone
  • 3 hospital stays in 1st month

Additional Comments:

Okinawa is a very special place! I hope I can have many other similar experiences in the future!

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