Making bonds

Peruvian shoes
Lynn, Urooj, Mansi, Eva Modelling their Peruvian shoes
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Youth in Action (Jugraj)

It is so great to see everyone getting along and connecting on a different level. We have laughs during breakfast when we start the day together and laughs during dinner when our day is coming to an end. But its not just with each other that we are creating these bonds. It is with the people we are working with.

Urooj YIA
Urooj in YIA

I  noticed the little things Roxanne (My trip leader partner) does when acknowledging other people and making their day that much better. Around the retreat house we have many people come from different parts of Peru and youth groups come from Lima. Roxanne makes an effort to make these connections with the locals who she sees walking around or even the staff that works there.

I notice the hugs Urooj gives out to our volunteers at the end of the night before bed just to wish them a happy and comfortable sleep. I see the passion she feels towards the teenagers she gets to work with on a daily. She shared with me how happy it made her when all the activities they had planned went so smoothly and the children were starting to be more sociable with each other. These are real connections being made with real people.

Waterpark
Group shot at the park

The bonds we make within a week here stay with us for a very long time especially because you’re connecting on a level that we don’t tend to on a daily basis back home. We have water cooler conversations about the weather with each other and call that interaction. Do we ever talk about our deepest fears, or what inspires us, or who we look up to, or our weaknesses and strengths?  These types of conversations are happening every single day and in the words of our participant “It is making me really really really happy.”

The group took a nice evening out at the “Parke de las aguas” and got to see a water laser which had a mix of peruvian music and amazing entertainment. It was a nice change to go out on a cultural exertion after dinner and enjoy some more quality time together.

 

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-Mansi Parasher

Placements!

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Drive in the morning

Today, the volunteers got the chance to officially emerge with the children during their placements. The day began nice and early at 6:45 AM. It takes anywhere from 30-45 minutes to get to our placements depending on the traffic. We took the ocean side view today on our drive over to the district of Chorrillos. The volunteers seemed to really enjoy the drive, even though it was early, there was energy laughter and excitement.

Day care
Marcela, Lynn, Steph, Julia (left to right)

Lynn and Stephanie have been spending their time at the Day care in Pacifico de Villa. Working with children can be exhausting especially if you’re going it ALL DAY. Sure enough, Lynn and Steph were tired by the end of the day but with a huge smile on their face. When asked about their day, Lynn said she was so happy because she got to read to the children today. They had 3 children at the day care today and had an amazing day just bonding and playing with them. These activities included anything from going to the playground to making music to reading books.

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View from classroom window at Tupac Amaru II

IMG_1643Our ESL and Hands for Hygiene groups spend some time at Tupac Amaru II school for the first time thisweek. There were many observations made today with the group of children the volunteers worked with. Bottom line was that the children here do not have the same opportunities that children back home have. Therefore, they don’t built up their social skills and confidence until a very late age. Children from 14 years old and younger get to experience leadership opportunities through extra curricular and the children at Tupac seem to lack those opportunities. It is so important to give them the platform to shine and share their opinions. And that is exactly what the Hands for Hygiene is doing in their Club de Salud group.

During ESL, Eva (a volunteer) got to meet all the children who are devoting their vacation time to learn English and be involved in these extra curricular activities. They made family trees, jumped rope, made sentences, and had fun learning new vocabulary and games they can take home with them. It was a great introduction day to get their new teacher Eva a little better. We hope the children come tomorrow with even more excitement and interest.

It makes us all feel very privileged to be here and spend this time with individuals who inspire us.

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-Mansi Parasher

Happy Independence day!

Today, the group had the opportunity to celebrate the independence day of Peru with local Peruvians in the community of Hijos de 28!

The day started with some dance practice and placement orientations. The volunteers got a better idea of their daily busy schedule while here in Peru and what they will be doing in placement each day. IMG_5799

It was beautiful to see the children embrace the volunteers and playing various games with them. We started the event by introducing the community to the volunteers. By the end of the event, we had the entire place dancing and excited!

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Everyone seemed to communicate really well and it didn’t really feel like there was a language component that was needed. The group had worked practicing till late last night with a dance called “festajo” that they got to present to the community members today.

As soon as all the ladies stepped out in their colourful skirts, everyone had a smile on their face. The dance was executed with grace and the community members even thanked us after for putting on such a delighting performance. It is beautiful that music and dance are something that can make you feel so connected with someone.DSCF4320

The community leaders got up and danced with everyone and we didn’t need any words to describe how we were feeling, it was all visible.

During the following week, the group will get more chances to bond with the Youth in Action children and their families. We hope they make the best of this week experience some enriching moments.

Hasta Luego!

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Twitter: @volunteerSIA

-Mansi Parasher

Day 2: Peru D

Today, the group got to see the wonderful sights of Downtown Lima.

Downtown Lima
Downtown Lima

There were many little things that went noticed today. For example, a simple man performing for small change on the streets. One participant said that it added to their environment a little touch of happiness. You know we look at these street performers and don’t even think twice about what could be going through their heads at the moment. We talked about the word “dignity” today during evening discussions. The fact that a man is dressing up as a woman and entertaining people for money requires a lot of courage, self-awareness and dedication. Another participant noticed that Peru is a very affectionate country! This is very true and it shows in the way they greet each other.

After a wonderful lunch, the group got to visit some catacombs where they got to see history’s slightly creepy side. There were lots of laughs and good memories spent today and even a little shopping! Overall, it was a great calm before the storm! and Of course by that I mean a beautiful storm of business with placements and interaction. IMG_1615

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We found some time for an evening walk near the ocean!

In all of today’s excitement, we found time to practice a little surprise we have for the community tomorrow! This is something I’ll reveal after tomorrow but all in all, I think tomorrow will be a very exciting day for the group as they make beautiful memories with the community on their national day!

Until tomorrow!

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-Mansi Parasher

 

 

New experiences!

With every deed you are sowing a seed, though the harvest you may not see. – Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Today was full of excitement and new experiences! Who doesn’t love that…

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Retreat house

The day started with an orientation to introduce our new participants to the program and the values of SIA. During this orientation, we familiarized each other with some activities that activated our brain and got us talking about topics we don’t necessarily think about on a daily basis. We spoke about our skills, our favourite people, new experiences, and shared our stories.IMG_1609

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A view of the community

It was a positive start to a very positive day and it was all possible to the Peru D group. They got to sit down with the community members in the local community centre and just “chat” about their lives. A community leader went through and asked each participant (in spanish) their names and a question about themselves. It was really nice to see the participants retain the spanish and try to respond in spanish. The translator stepped in to make the communication crisp but there were many laughs and stories shared.

Today was all about contentment. We spoke about contentment at the end of the day by completing these two sentences: “I noticed that…” Some of the answers shared were about happiness and how they felt a connection with the people they met today because everything had a warm feeling to it. “I noticed that they took pride in every little thing.” It is very true that their hard work through out their community is very visible! You can see it in the way they interact with us, with each other,  and their attitude towards meeting new volunteers.

The following week we will be experiencing a LOT of the culture with the Peru’s Independence day right around the corner on, July 28th! The volunteers are excited to have the opportunity to be here on such a day.

Well tomorrow is a new day full of other new experiences!

Hasta Luego!

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Twitter: @volunterSIA

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-Mansi Parasher