On Wednesday we went to Laran a town just outside of Chincha and we worked with a much poorer subset of children at a Campo (farm) de niños. This was a different experience because we were working with an environmental volunteer who liked working with kids and one of her projects involves working with these kids on recycling and cultivating a farm. Her name is Abby and she’s amazing. Anyway, we paired up with a couple of the children and went out into the community to collect recyclables. Let me just say this, we could have done this all day. There was garbage on every street corner, but we certainly grabbed a lot of recyclables and brought them back to the campo. Then the trainees (us in Peru 9) put on a sketch about hand washing and we did an activity where we put a little oil on the kids hands and they pressed them on a sheet of clean paper to see how dirty their hands were. Then we actually washed hands and ate oranges. I liked this kind of environment for working with kids. This is definitely more of a community-based approach, which I’m starting to believe I want to see what it’s all about.
On Thursday we worked with kids in a cemetery. These are street kids of their own kind. Many of them living in the cemetery with their parents who work in the cemetery selling flowers, candy, or washing the graves while some of the kids selling candy on the streets of Chincha. These kids were very active and somewhat difficult to manage, but it’s not that big of a deal ultimately. I’ve certainly dealt with tougher in the United States. We performed the same skit from Wednesday and played similar games to those we played on Tuesday, learning from our mistakes I must say. Both Wednesday and Thursday we had glitches with water, but that’s part of the learning curve I guess.
Friday was the big event. We took a collection of children from all three sites and held a festival for us, planned solely by us (except for the details – thanks ladies of Ica you rock!) By far one of the coolest experiences I have had is riding the bus with all of those kids and the looks on their faces and the sound of awe in their voices. Definitely a true Peace Corps moment…need to put that one in the heart to call on when it gets tough out there.
We did a new skit this time. It was one that I’ve seen done a number of times, but the kids really liked it. And we played various games with various dynamics. To say the least it was fairly difficult with so many kids and so many volunteers, but so worth it. One of the important reminders we received came at the end of our time there, as another group showed up and proceeded to leave shortly after the arrived. Allegedly, a group of 70 students decided to jump on a suspension bridge that our group had crossed nearly an hour earlier. Needless to say the suspense bridge couldn’t handle the jumping and collapsed taking the kids with it. There were some serious injuries, teeth gone, bloody bodies, broken bones, but thankfully no deaths. It’s a reminder that we are responsible for the safety of the children we come into contact with.
I’m sick today. It’s not fun to be sick, but it’s kind of fun to think I have a parasite…how’s that for a cliff hanger?