New Faces

Tuesday, January 24th

As our routine has been reiterated to the community over and over again, we have started seeing everyone show up on time to their classes. This week's Mothers Club meeting was a perfect example of this. Instead of before when we had 3 women show up around 4:00 pm and had to rally everyone else, around 8 women came around 3:30 pm this week. This was one of the most exciting things to me because it proved that they were enjoying and finding benefit in participating.

This week was also special because at the beginning of class we showed them videos of the women's marches. We explained the background of the movement and how women across the world were marching for all of our rights. The feelings they said they felt resonated with what I was feeling. Feelings of solidarity, hope and empowerment were all common and reminded me of the connection we all share.

This club, we also did an activity where Rosa picked out questions from a bag and everyone went around to answer them. The questions were along the lines of "what is your dream" "where were you 10 years ago" "if you could have anything what could it be". Once again, I was reminded by the similarities we all share and the inherent connection we have with people all around the world. I loved this activity because as we answered, everyone was so in tune with each others' answers because they wanted to be connected to the responses.

Wednesday, January 25th

Today HOP got blessed with another volunteer, Juliana. She is 22 years old, lives in North Carolina and went to Presbyterian University in South Carolina.

Juliana's first day started out like every other day has for us. We had breakfast with Pacqui (our host mom) and then got picked up by Rosa to head to the clinic in Huanchacito. The clinic is about a 15 minute drive and a 30-45 minute micro bus ride from Trujillo. After getting to the clinic we did the normal routine of getting ready for the 2-6 year olds. Today we were working on animals, so while I set up the foam puzzle carpet Juliana drew pictures of animals for us to practice. The first half we just work on pronunciation since that is key to speaking efficiently; we focus on that for as long as they can pay attention. After that, it's just repetition over and over again. The final activity was giving them the animal papers so they could then color for the last 20 minutes.

After class we were blessed with more hugs and love as they ran out and we cleaned up. During the time between that class and our lunch break we helped out with random chores at the clinic, learned how to take blood pressure to help triage and took patients heights and weights. Then we left to eat lunch with our host mom. We normally have about an hour after to regroup before we are picked up again for our next classes. Both of us ended up taking naps.

The second half of the day is similar except the older kids use workbooks that HOP made for them. Today we worked on numbers. Most kids in this class are still very unfamiliar with English, so we started from scratch and worked from 1-20. Then we began incorporating math by asking them math problems in English for them to solve and answer.

Between the 7-11 class and the 11+ class we have "deportes" (sports). Today with Juliana it was more organized than before because we were both on opposing soccer teams with 6 kids on each team. All the kids were having a blast and we were both drenched in sweat and had layers of dust from the street on our skin by the end of it.

We do the exact same things in the 11+ class that we do for the other one except that there is a greater discrepancy among the children in English comprehension. Some know quite a bit, while others still don't know any English. To deal with this, we started partnering up the kids and teaching them how to help each other without giving away the answers. In this class, we got through the numbers pretty quickly and were able to go more in depth with the math problems. Juliana came up with the idea to play Cheers to the Governor. They loved this game and it was a perfect way to force them to pronounce the numbers correctly over and over. After class we cleaned up, closed up the classroom and headed back home to eat dinner with our family.