Friday, April 24, 2015

Fiona’s blog

This week has been very exciting as we have begun our workshops with the children’s’ centres that are on the ChildFund project. Alex and I have three centres; Villa Copacabana, San Isidro and Pampahasi Alto that are all part of the Niñas San Gabriel group, full of wonderful children who come to the sessions eager to learn which is fantastic. They seem really interested in our culture and even tucked into some marmite sandwiches and Yorkshire tea! The children are also really excited to share their own cultural traditions, including their favourite singers, foods and drawing their national flags. 

Our team is working on the Peace Culture project and within that we are focusing on the environment. We felt this topic was relevant as everyone can play a role in looking after their surroundings, no matter what age, gender or wealth. Throughout the week we have been planning each session, thinking of fun and interesting ways to educate the children about caring for the environment and being green, which has been really fun to do! So far we are planning on building a compost bin for each centre, murals to encourage recycling and making art out of rubbish. 

International Service works with four charities, containing between 6 to 7 British volunteers. Every Friday each team co-ordinates an Action Friday and guided learning. Guided learning involves presenting a global issue to the rest of the charity. This week the Zebra’s team did a presentation on South America’s relationship with the rest of the world so we are learning even more about the amazing country we are living in. 

Today we have been planning ideas for our own Action Friday, which will be taking place at one of our centres. We all have so many ideas so narrowing them down to a manageable few has been very difficult. What we are hoping to do is decorate the open space within the centre, painting a mural on the wall and using recyclable materials as plant pots. So far we have sourced tyres that we can paint and place on the floor as flower beds, plastic drainpipes as hanging herb gardens, painting creates and nailing them to the wall as shelves for further flowers that we will plant in plastic bottles. We are hoping this activity will not only create a lovely space for the children to visit, nutritious plants and herbs for the children to try, but also a chance for them open their minds to recycling their rubbish in a creative way. 

Whilst in La Paz we have also been taking Spanish lessons which have been fantastic! Despite downloading language apps, listening to CD’s and reading Spanish books for kids, when attempting to speak Spanish to the locals it seems like a whole other language! For any future volunteers, make the most of language exchange programmes in Britain, as they are the best way to become familiar with the language. A massive cultural advantage of the project is living within a host family, as this encourages volunteers to speak the language at home. My host mother has started learning English, so Bron (my UK host sister) and I are helping her with English and she is helping us with Spanish…it’s a slow process so far but hopefully by the end of the placement we will be able to understand each other!

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