My departure date to Canada is all too often a conversation topic these days. While I don’t like thinking about leaving all the amazing and admirable people I have met and come to know here in Chiclayo and the surrounding areas, I know that the time will soon come to say ‘hasta luego‘ or ‘hasta la próxima‘ (until next time).
The second last youth session in Raimondi: Project Chiclayo participants had the chance to finish creating and then read each others’ ‘personal newspapers’. Each person made a ‘newspaper’ about themselves including at least five boxes of information, one which had to be about their biggest accomplishment. For some, this was improving their reading level; for others, it was scoring three goals in one soccer game; and for others it was about overall improvement in school. After the session some of the participants (both boys and girls) opted for some fútbol…
It may not be the ideal surface, but it works. I tried playing on it the following week
when we celebrated the birthdays of October, November and December
and certainly gained respect for those people who have no other option but playing in the street.
There is actually a concrete surface which doubles as a soccer field and basketball court less than a block away from where I took these pictures, but at that time it was being used by local men who always play on Saturday evenings.
A few days later, the second-last English class in Raimondi occurred; thanks to the presence of another Canadian volunteer, the classes have been easier to run because the group can be divided between him and I according to students’ knowledge in English and their interests. Below some of the students played a board game I made for them while the others worked on worksheets about the weather and then had some conversation time.
On a sunny Saturday several of the CE volunteers and I collaborated on hosting an event for various youth groups. We would have liked to have had more participants, however, we were up against end of school year commitments (in Peru most schools get out for summer vacation at the same time as Christmas vacation; classes resume in March for elementary and high schools). The group that I have been working with on Friday evenings was in attendance, as were groups run by CE volunteers from towns outside of Chiclayo, including the one where the event was held (Chosica del Norte) and Pomalca (known for its sugar cane production and processing). *These groups are independent of Project Chiclayo, but receive funding and support through CE.
In the late morning, three workshops were offered by my co-workers and I (jewelry making, 2-D art and guitar). The students really seemed to enjoy having the option to choose which workshop to attend and getting to know people their age from other communities while learning new skills and expressing themselves. I ran the 2-D art workshop and kept it very open to allow for maximum personal expression using the variety of materials at hand. Some students opted to paint, while others drew and yet others made collages or combined materials.
We were fortunate to have a delicious lunch prepared by one of the mothers who has children in Project Chiclayo and runs a small catering business. As mentioned, while the event participants are in groups run independently from Project Chiclayo, at Centro Esperanza we always look for ways to ‘interally’ support the families in our programs.
The end of the day involved a talent show in which all participants took part, whether singing, dancing or playing instruments. Upon departure participants were given small ‘books’ with info about self-esteem, career options, stories, study tips, poems, interesting facts and jokes to take home as (hopefully enjoyable) reading material. The idea is that they will have something to read over the summer and share with others.
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Christmas must be coming up because all week I have been attending Peruvian ‘chocolatadas‘ (Christmas parties, especially for kids); there was one on Tuesday with La Mesa de Concertación (Roundtable Against Poverty), I played violin in one on Wednesday for children with disabilities, there was a birthday party and then a compartir (literally, ‘share’) yesterday with Project Chiclayo and I am five minutes away from attending another compartir with other mothers of Project Chiclayo who live in the municipality north of Chiclayo: José Leonardo Ortíz. ¡Ciao!