Friday, August 23, 2013

Vamos Vamos!

This week we started work in Une, a center which supports young people from rural communities to access support and education.  We had to travel for two hours deep into the mountains to reach the center, but it was worth the travel for the amazing views, energetic children and unforgettable experience we had there. 

Volunteer Ross playing with Une students
On arrival we helped serve food and played with the children during their lunch break.  The community only receives support every two weeks from the center, so the children were really excited to see us.  They kept jumping on us and asking us to lift them up and play football.  We really felt like we were able to connect with them, to the point where they wouldn’t leave us alone! 

After lunch we each teamed up with a different educator to teach a class of thirty-five students. With so many children, so little time, and so many balls of energy, the staff were really stretched and struggling to support the children.  We really felt like our help was needed, and that we had the chance to make a difference. It was obvious to us that the centre was less developed than others we have worked in and visited, as there were very limited facilities, even the toilet was just a hole in the ground. Despite the lack of resources and staff, the children seemed to have a lot of fun, and the educators from Avance really knew how to inspire them.
Sarah with student from Une

In the classes we took the lead, teaching English to the children while they taught us words in Aymara.  We also helped them with writing skills, drawing and other creative activities. We played lots of games and tried to make the lesson fun and engaging.  With so many students we had to be really aware of everything going on in the class, and we learnt a lot about how to channel their energy, motivate them to learn, and manage their enthusiasm.  

As we left the center the children ran after us shouting “gracias”, and asked when we would be coming back. Some came over and sat on our laps or tried to drag us away to play with them while they waited for their families to pick them up. 

When we finished in the centre we were all exhausted, but really felt like we had accomplished something.  We were excited to go home and tell the other volunteers about our experience and show them photos. We’re really excited to go back and work with the children again.

Une centre
Written by 
Sarah Johannes and Stephen Greenall

Edited by Sarah Cassidy

To find out about International Service's ICS projects and stay up to date with our latest activities, please visit our blogs and 'like' our facebook page:
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