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!

Instagram: Solidarityinaction

Twitter: @volunterSIA

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-Mansi Parasher

 

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Farewells

Today was a day full of excitement because it was all about coming to an end of an experience. It is never an end to a feeling or motivation because these things can be carried on to your home with you!

That is the one thing we focused on during our late discussion with the group. Some of them wondered how they would possibly describe their experiences this week with their friends and family back home without missing the true essence of it.

Today, the western group had a grand conference for adults, and teachers from the physical education project. I got to see the aftermath of the amount of chairs left behind that it was truly amazing. I also got a gist of the event from the way they spoke about it at dinner. It was truly going home (going to Cusco) with a big bang!

As for Peru A group, we all went to the community called Hijos de 28 after the conference. This was the event that all the parents of the Youth in Action kids were invited to. It was a very successful event as more than 80 people attended. The health group including Nicole, Shavonne, Jasmine, Sydney and myself did a presentation for all the community adults about proper hand washing techniques and the importance of having a healthy lifestyle. Later on they expressed that they really appreciated our efforts and wanted to ask us questions. We all had hygiene packages for them.

The chaotic but beautiful part of this experience was the hand washing station we implemented for the Youth in Action program. After the rest of the group finished doing activities with the children, they came in to wash their hands. It was a lot of children with clean hands.

The event, the wonderful dinner, and the discussions all led to a super awesome day that no one will forget. Tomorrow is an exciting day for both groups as Western is flying to Cusco and Peru A is having a free day to explore Lima a bit more.

Group Peru A western

Mansi Parasher

And it all begins !!!

Peru A and the Western group arrived into Lima at 2:30 am this morning! The SIA staff eager and happy to welcome them into this beautiful country. The next two weeks will be a jam-packed experience for each and every one of these participants. It was beautiful to see that they had already gotten comfortable with each other starting from the Toronto Airport.

Peru A groupo

 

They’ll be exploring Downtown Lima today and it’s beautiful architecture. Until then, I shall go meet with them and see all their excited faces!

 

-Hasta Luego

 

Mansi Parasher

Paulina’s Journey

 

 

 

Paulina is a sweet individual that I met in Peru during the summer in the community. She is from Poland and was working alongside SIA and Youth in action! This is her input from her experience in Pacifico.

How did you come to know about SIA and our work in Pacifico de villa?

I got to know obout SIA in Pacifico from Jacek Klisowki. I was working in the house for street children named Ayllu Situwa which he set up and has been running for more than 8 years. I was doing my volunteer service ( I was send by Papaya Foundation from Poland, and I was implementing the project funded by Ministry of Forein Affairs in Poland – program named Polish help) there and he told me about Larry and the activities for children which you organize. I really wanted to help and was interested in the work which you do.

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 What was your first impression of Pacifico and Youth in Action program/the kids?

I was amazed by the energy and happiness of the children. It was surprising that in this some kind of desert place there were so many children and that they are so willing to do all things which volunteers proposed them. That they get so deep into all activities, always with big smiles on their faces, try to do it perfectly…

What were your expectations or goal that you wanted to achieve while working with Daniel?

First of all I wanted to share with children and Daniel my experience in working with creativity. In Poland I work in developing creativity center named Kangur – cangaroo:) I wanted to share what I know and be with those children, help them with homeworks, spend time just be. I also wanted to get to know something from Daniel, he is very wise, has great contact with children. He is amaizing. I am very happy that I could work with him.

What were some of the challenges you faced while working with Daniel and youth in action?

The biggest challange was when they told us that we can not use local communal anymore:( We had to organize it outside and that it still was very cold…but all the rest was a great pleasure.

What kind of activities were you able to do with the kids?

We did a lot of art activities. Also connected with art and cultures. We were talking about Egyptian culture, a little bit about the India, we got to know some arabic letters, listening to polish legends. We did mandalas from spices, builded animals, were making a lot of ideas how we could use something or into what we could transform simple things. Painting, drawing, constructing. We also used the parachute to do some moving activities, played football. It was a good time. I hope it will serve them or even made them feel happy…

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Would you come back?

I hope so…The true is that I would love to. The problem is the distance. Peru is really far from Poland but close to my heart so I hope it will help. I would also love to spend more time, next time in guarderia. I love little kids and they need a lot of care. We will see.

What is one key message that you are taking back to Poland with you?

The key message which I brought from pacifico and casa Ayllu Situwa, after those three months which I spent working with kids is that you should never judge children but love and give a lot of attention and care. They are so innocent. And the other is that you should smile a lot because then you make others smile.

Jose

Today, I will tell you a story.

This story is about a young boy, whose name is Jose Javier Herrera Grefa. Why is this boy so special?

Well, it all started earlier in July 2013, when I was in Pacifico de villa with the lovely July group. It was another day of placement in the community and we were just about to have lunch. Daniel walked in with a tall guy, sat down with him at a table, gave him a lunch and was talking to him all lunch. Later on Daniel came over to our table, and said that he saw Jose outside the community centre and invited him in for lunch. Jose was just a curious bystander wondering what these crazy canadians were doing in the community centre.

I met jose briefly that day. I heard his story, that he had just moved to Pacifico a month and a half ago, and was living with his uncle and aunt. After mentioning to Larry (Boss man) that we should invite jose tomorrow for the health campaign, I soon realized he had already thought of doing that.

The next day, we had our health campaign (Check out blog from July 12th). Jose is in one of the pictures BECAUSE, as soon as he arrived that day, he just took in charge. He was responsible for the registration of everyone who came to our event. I joked around with him as much as I could in spanish, and watched as he would inform everyone about the event, and tell them to register, and basically commit to this job he has been given, without even asking any questions. He just made himself a part of what we were doing. And I admired that.

Since that day, Jose joined us everyday. Seeing his lovely smiling face brightened up my day. Within a week he had made relationships with many of us.

His message was simple, give the love you wish you receive. 

He interacted with the kids, he interacted with the volunteers and most of all, he had found a sense of belonging in Pacifico. Why do I say that? Well as our relationship grew, I found out that in the past month that he had been in Pacifico, he didn’t enjoy it much because he didn’t know many people. (No one likes to move). I was happy to know that joining SIAs vision gave him a sense of responsibility, and belonging that he had hoped for.

Jose, joined the program Leaders de villa and was a part of hosting an event and doing an amazing presentation on garbage for the community members (In August). He was a committed student of the english classes we held. He also started working with Youth in Action and helping with Daniel. It was that simple.

As other groups came down, we saw jose’s leadership skills rise day by day. He was a part of everything we did. I spent my last month and a half of summer with him everyday, and saw him grow so much.

So, why is jose so special?

Because he proves that life is full of surprises. It is not a surprise to me that he is like a little brother to me and many others who have interacted with him in the past few months.

What I have learned from him is that you should be open to any opportunities that come your way. Treat everyone with respect, love, care and affection. Tell everyone they are beautiful. Commit to the things you truly love. And that love really needs no translation.

(left to right) Julie, Jhoselyn, Me, and Jose.
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1238086_498924796850061_1120172615_n Natalee and Jose

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“A Loving heart is the beginning of all knowledge.”

-Mansi Parasher