Making bonds

Peruvian shoes
Lynn, Urooj, Mansi, Eva Modelling their Peruvian shoes
Jugraj
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

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

 

 

Transition then keep moving forward!

It was during the last day at the community when Troy (a peru C volunteer) was speaking in front of the community leaders, “Youth in action” children and the other Canadian volunteers that made a lot of us shed a tear. He spoke about hiIMG_1493s week long experience working in the community with Youth in Action. The comfort the children gave him, the support he saw, the love he felt, all of it was summed up by his well written speech for the farewell ceremony. The children didn’t seem to want to let IMG_1499go of him when we were saying goodbye. The children loved all the Youth in Action volunteers as they created such a beautiful and educational environment for them to be in. They spent days planning their YIA programs, making sure core values were taught to these children about love and respect.10526009_10101189575513128_1488055161521007827_n It is the transition that happens beautifully from one group to another. Peru C got to meet with the Manitoba group as the Manitoba group was easing into being here and starting their projects.IMG_1529 The ESL program had gotten a fresh new start of its 6-week program and right now we officially have around 40 consistent children who attend our after school program and are eager to learn english every day for an hour. The ESL teachers from Peru C had a chance to sit with the new manitoba group ESL teachers to talk to them about the classes, the challenges, the lessons, the environment and just tips/tricks over all.IMG_1539 The children have also been involved with SIA after school in the “Club de Salud” initiative. This club allows them to come togetIMG_1549her as a group and speak about the important issues of hygiene with their peers. This club is meant to built leadership skills in the students so they can move forward and make better decisions for themselves and the community they are from.100_1622 Club de Salud did a presentation yesterday for the “Dia del Logro” (day of success), parents, teachers and, government officials all came to the school where different classrooms were set up for different demonstrations of the children’s excellence. Club de Salud did a demonstration of their own on the importance of hygiene and hand washing. IMG_1584 Different stations were set up for the visitors to see and the best part was that it was all run by the students themselves! Birdie is the project leader for Hands for hygiene, and with the help of the manitoba group volunteers has been able to put this club together for the chiIMG_1582ldren to speak up and gain this confidence. It was amazing to see their excitement when explaining to a teacher about the state of potatoes when exposed to different bacterias. Different potatoes were set up in different bags after being exposed to various platforms and bacteria. It was left to grow for 4 days and seeing the results was shocking!

All the programs have been running with great success, no matter what the challenges are, all our volunteers come together and make beautiful memories. This is visible by the excitement and attachment the children have with our volunteers.

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-Mansi Parasher

New day!

Over the last few weeks, it has just astonished me to realize that knowing English is such an enormous privilege/skill/blessing. All of those things. Being involved with the ESL program, i’ve seen many things. The children are so excited to simply be involved in a program of this sort. I’IMG_2763ve seen the children that are feeling sick, come to the program just so they don’t miss out. I’ve seen children who are travelling home and coming back the distance just to attend the class. And i’ve seen JOY in their eyes working alongside international volunteers.

10414587_10152246456643392_8319595151294323232_nWe’ve gotten such amazing support from the students, the teachers and especially from the principal of the school. The pilot program that was 6 weeks long just ended as our next 6 week program will start on July 8th. This is the time we get feedback from the students about how they liked our last program, so that we can make the next 6 weeks even better!

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Peru C group arrives today! A group of energized volunteers are going to working side by side with our ESL students, health program, and the day care in Pacifico de Villa. A volunteer from Peru C who arrived few days ahead of the group has been in the Day care everyday since she arrived. It is amazing to see how much a new set of eyes can bring to the table. She has already identified things that need improvement in the Day care and since SIA is a volunteer run organization, we will all be working together to figure out the best solutions for this Day care, especially with Julia and Lilliana.

IMG_1348The day care is run by
Julia and Lilliana, and they are really excited to have some help with all the children. They can be a handful for just one person. Also, children need maximum supervision to create a safer environment. IMG_1343

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These pictures reveal the environment these children stay in all day. Lilliana and Julia have done their best so far to keep it safe, clean, fun and educational. But someone who is looking in from the outside, who has experienced a day care in North America might be shocked at this view. It is beautiful to see how the children interact with one another and make use of this small little space!

A lot of exciting updates coming your way as our projects take charge once again with the help of international volunteers.

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– Mansi Parasher