So far my internship experience has been very rewarding and very busy. The supportive team at Centro Esperanza (CE; ‘Hope Centre’) has become like a little family and I admire how hard my compañeras de trabajo (coworkers) work together for the benefit of those in need, for very little pay. I also appreciate the welcoming and celebratory atmosphere at our office.
The internship is not too different from what I expected and I feel privileged to have this life changing work and cultural experience. The energetic-live-in-the-moment-Latin American-magic began when I met Vitalina, one of the inspiring CE staff, in Canada, at the beginning of my internship with Chalice; we ‘clicked’ and knowing I would soon be in her “Ciudad de la Amistad” (“City of Friendship”) was a beautiful, comforting feeling. I am living with Vita’s son-in-law’s family, a very loving family that has made me feel at home since Day 1, one that feeds me like a Peruvian queen and keeps me laughing 😀
I like being able to participate in a variety of teaching activities and workshops–homework help, English, art, sessions with children and youth, etc. I appreciate that my coworkers trust me to get my work done, to run with an idea or teaching technique. It feels weird to be so well respected as a young coworker among experienced women when I am only coming out of my undergraduate degree–I doubt I would feel this way if I were working in Canada. I think that part of this treatment is because I am from a “developed” country; people constantly praise Canada as if it is some sort of heavenly paradise, not usually recognizing that there are also social, environmental, educational and others problems in Canada, like in any country.
On top of my regular sessions with children and youth in several city districts , I’ve been helping with an evaluation of all the Proyecto Chiclayo programs and an annual report to send to Chalice. Tomorrow is the first meeting with all the youth in the Proyecto Chiclayo programs. In the coming months I’ll help with preparing for Christmas events.
There are projects I need to make more time for, such as a implementing some sort of ‘traveling suitcase’ to transport story books to children in the different city districts where we work, but going to the CE office usually means too much social time and Ciera-can-you-please-translate-this-document-right-now or come-join-this-meeting-time. (Getting working done in my house is at least three times as efficient, but I do enjoy seeing my coworkers). Working in an NGO like means constantly having projects on the go. It means being both idealistic and realistic and adaptable and never losing sight of the goal: helping more people to live in dignity, to improve their own lives.
It sounds cheesy, but thinking about the adorable faces of the children we help is often enough to may a stressful moment pass, but if not, playing my violin is a sure cure.
I just played at a local church fundraiser this evening 🙂