Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Mark Wilson's Blog in English

Mark Wilson's Blog in English

 ‘Action Friday’ is a major section of each group’s project. Each group must plan and implement an activity, or series of activities, relating to their respective projects which all of the ICS volunteers must then participate in. As the title suggests, these events take place on a Friday with the project co-ordinating the activities alternating every other week.

Last week saw the responsibility following to ourselves within the Childhood and Youth Empowerment team. Having spoken to the centres with which we work, we collectively decided that Avance Comunitario Centro based in Chasquipampa would benefit most from the arrival of twenty-four enthusiastic volunteers.

Our work at Avance is structured around citizen security, keeping both the individual and the community safe with a focus on achieving this through participation in sports. Therefore, when planning our ‘Action Friday’ we thought it would be fitting to include these themes in all of our activities. With this is in mind, we designed three separate activities for the children to participate in and, hopefully, enjoy.

Having spoken to those involved at Avance, it became clear that they would really appreciate it if one of the activities involved painting a mural on one of the walls within the centre. Liam (the artistic member of our group) could not wait to get started on designing a mural based around the core themes already mentioned above. With the help of a number of the other volunteers and an ever-eager group of children, a fantastic mural was created under the watchful eye of designer Liam.

The second activity involved each project creating a game for the children and their parents. These games were centred around the main themes of citizenship (Respect, Honesty, Love and Sharing). These games sought to engage the children and I am certain that they will have learnt something for the future also.

As our project seeks to promote citizen security through the use of sport, it seemed only fitting that we play football with the children as the third activity. This decision had nothing to do with my unhealthy love of the game... The volunteers played pretty much continuously for two hours, teaching me the hard way that small children have limitless energy when football is involved. The game was played in a good spirit with the aim of teaching the children about respect, teamwork and leadership.

A successful ‘Action Friday’ was the general consensus. One thing which I have learnt over the four weeks I have been here, and was confirmed to me on during ‘Action Friday’, is the happiness Bolivian children get from the smallest of activities. The respect and empathy they show towards one another during the football game which I participated in is quite different to the competitive win-at-all costs attitude of a great proportion of British children. It was a pleasure to be involved in this ‘Action Friday’ and it also made me think that I am learning as much of these children as I feel they are from ourselves, the volunteers.


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