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.
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!
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.
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.
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 his 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 go 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. 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. 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. The children have also been involved with SIA after school in the “Club de Salud” initiative. This club allows them to come together 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. 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. 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 children 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.
It is really interesting to see how Peru C has been interacting with the programs, the children, and with each other. Everyone is doing their best to fulfill their roles in each placement. The Hands for Hygiene groups did their first in-class presentation today. This took long planning, skit preparation and lots of communication! Their goal was to introduce the students to the new Champions program Hands for Hygiene is implementing in the school (Tupac amaru II). This champions program will allow the students to be directly involved in the Hands for Hygiene program to help raise awareness about health with their peers. It is so important for children to be involved in such after-school programs. It helps them gain confidence in themselves, step outside of their comfort zone and allow them to try new things but most of all, be in an environment that encourages personal growth.
The ESL group taught their first class of the NEW 6-week program today! All the children gathered in the big auditorium where they were awaiting to find out who their Canadian teacher with me. Our volunteers fit right in while making the children feel comfortable during their classes. Today, we focused on getting the children settled into their new ESL classrooms, having introductions and talking a little about ourselves. The children enjoyed the games, and laughing along while the volunteers were saying their names in a “funny accent” during attendance. This week will set the stage for the next 6 weeks of volunteers who will participate in this ESL program and enrich it with their variety of knowledge.
The YOUTH IN ACTION (I capitalized that because YIA is so full of energy) group has been at the community in this chilly weather for full days making sure the children receive the best 2 hour after-school experience. They have been practicing their animal poses, and bonding with the volunteering. Today, they were taught about balancing life, making those tough decisions and being responsible. Sometimes we are so caught up in having fun that we forget about the important things in life. Imagine kids as young as 6 years old being engaged a lesson like this, it is absolutely amazing what the volunteers have been able to accomplish.
Keep updated by visiting our Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/solidarityinactioninc.
To give you a SLIGHT idea of how it went, go on our facebook page (SolidarityinactionInc) and click on the link of our shared photo from “Solidaritas” page. The album will simply make you smile 🙂 It shows the interaction between our Western group and the children of a local school is Tupac district.
Also, it was amazing to see the interaction between the children of Youth in Action with the volunteers! One thing I can say is that the volunteers definitely have their hands full! There are so many excited children that want to genuinely come out even after a long day at school. I saw Lauren O. in Youth in Action doing it all with a smile, sweating and running around with the children.
Today was another amazing day for the health program as well. We got to meet with the Principle of a school called Tupac Amaru where the Western group has been running the ESL program. He told us that general hygiene is a national problem and we need to address it step by step. His goal is to teach the parents through teaching the children. Ever since he’s been there he’s implemented a safer environment for the children, and a cleaner environment. It was a truly inspirational beginning to a great movement!
Not going to lie, a lot of participants admitted that the first day of placements was a bit difficult, out of their comfort zone and hard to adjust to. There are many factors for that. But EACH AND EVERY participant decided to go back to the SAME placement to give it one more shot and to stick with it! I thought that was amazing because it is human nature to run away from something that makes you uncomfortable and they challenged themselves.
Here are a few pictures from some exciting moments so far.
All the participants are trying new things, stepping outside of their comfort zone and challenging themselves as far as possible!
Tonight Larry Shuttleworth sat with them after dinner to talk about the responsibility you have as a fortunate human being to “do more.” With whatever it is.
Today the group woke up only having a little bit of sleep from last nights late flight. They all looked fresh and ready to explore!!
In the morning, the group got to visit the beautiful Downtown Lima. Where they saw old architecture, peruvian culture and some wicked history in the catacombs. During our lunch at a very nice restaurant, which has a history of its own. The waitress told them their history and how they came to be working there. They mentioned things about changing the world if you do a good job at whatever you do. It was really nice to see that they wanted to share that insight with our young generation.
After visiting downtown Lima, the group then enjoyed a lovely evening of leisure time where they got to visit the grocery store, internet cafe, and a nice walk to the beach if they wanted. Most of them were up for a nice walk! The sunset tonight was beautiful, I wish I had a picture of it !
Tomorrow they will be entering into a week of new experiences, meeting fantastic people and making meaningful relationships. Hope they get a good nights rest 🙂