Wednesday, September 10, 2008

8th September- El día uno con los niños de Pumamarca

... and for those that don't know Español... that translates to- Day one with the kids of Pumamarca

What an absolutely amazing day!

We went up to the school and while the other volunteers got orientated, I got straight into the classes with Tracey and Julia. We were teaching Inglés to the 1st and 2nd graders. Tracey is quite fluent in Spanish and was able to communicate effectively with the kids and their usual teacher. Our lesson plan for the day was the Alphabet. We proceeded to go through the alphabet in english and get the kids to draw words that started with the corresponding letters. All the spanish that I learnt 5 years ago was slowly coming back to me.. and while they were learning English from me... I picked up a fair bit of Spanish from them too. I think we only got upto the letter 'E' though before class was adjourned for hygiene and the festivities of the community.

Because the sun is so harsh here, the children all have really sun burnt cheeks. And whilst this is really cute, as they grow up, this stays and marks them as having come from poverty. So one of the initiatives that Peru's Challenge has taken is to get their health and hygiene up. Beth, had done the round of the classes in the morning handing out vitamins to all. It is now routine that when the volunteers are up at the school, at about 11am all the kids line up to wash their hands. The next step is, we dish out some sorbelene cream. This is rather funny to watch though, as they quite happily take a lot and plaster it on to their faces and come out looking very white. After this, they are given a banana each. Some are even made to blow their noses as they are really snotty.

Next, it was on down to the local community church. This church was apparently built in about 1 week. As it is the Church of the Virgin Mary and 8th of September is the feast day, the community had rushed to have it ready in time so that the church could be inaugarated. We all walked down to the church which is about 10 mins from the school.. and I made a new friend along the way. One of the little girls from Kindie whos name is Ebony. Absolutely adorable! She held my hand and we walked down to the church. Of course as soon as we walked there, she proceeded to march me straight up past the other volunteers and I thought she was going to take me right up the front of the church. But no, she walked straight up to the ice cream lady and stopped there. And yes, me being the sucker that I am, I ended up buying her an ice-cream. So we hung around outside the church for a bit and heard some of the Spanish Sermon before returning back to the school.

Another initiative that Peru's Challenge have taken is to feed the children of the school one meal a day. As it happens, a lot of the childeren get little or close to no food at all at home. Initially, Peru's Challenge identified 60 kids who were most in need of the food but, yesterdays portions ended up being enough for all. I think there about 150 children in the school all up. So, yesterday was the first day of many as part of a long term plan to feed the children lunch. Once we got back to the school from the festivities, some of us stood around and watched one of the local ladies prepare the lunch over a wooden fire outside. It was Chifa (Chinese) meal of chicken fried rice and it looked and smelled very very yummy. After all the children were fed and washed, all the volunteers jumped back in the van and headed back to the share house for lunchies.

After lunch, some of the volunteers had spanish classes and the rest of us headed back up to the school for Talleres. Talleres is another initiative of Peru's Challenge where the mums of the community make hand made goods like scarves and bags and clothes and they are sold to tourists. Peregrin tours who are partnered with Peru's Challenge take tours up to the school once or twice a week and show them around.
So while some of the volunteers helped with getting the mums organised and doing the accounting, the rest of us kept the kids entertained. This is part of Camp Puma in the afternoons. We divided them into two groups and brushed up on their Inglés skills. Bec and myself went through their names, ages, counting, days of the week, months, seasons, parts of the body and pets. Again, I got a chance to brush up on my Spanish skills... while we were teaching them the English words, we were also learning the Spanish equivalent. After about a half hour of English lessons, we took them out for a play. Ana, Julia, Bec and Hannah played "Whats the time mister wolf" and soccer with them whilst I stood on the side and kept score and cheered (haha,.. catch me doing any form of physcial exersition). I was quite happy to stand in the cold and be the cheering squad and take photos.

The people of the community are so friendly, the kids are so loving and they appreciate every little thing that Perus's Challenge and the volunteers do for them.

All in all... a fantastic day which we ended with Pisco Sours (thanks Tracey!) which put me straight to bed... :o)

And the rest of the photos are here...

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