Wednesday, January 17th
My favorite thing of this week so far has been the Club Para las Madres (the Mothers' Club). Every Tuesday and Thursday from 3:30 to 4:30 pm, the women and mothers of the community come in and talk about what's going on in their community, what they are worried about, what they want for their kids, etc. Granted this past Thursday we didn't start until 5 pm because we spent over an hour running around the street trying to get the moms and women to come. In the end we had about 8-10 women and the conversation flowed beautifully. Katie said she had never done a group like this before, but you could hardly tell given how smoothly it went.
Let me start off by explaining a little bit more about Katie, one of the cofounders of Hands On Peru. As soon as you meet her, you realize she has all the quality and character traits that are valued in our society to be successful. Her passion, determination, patience and brilliance could have easily been translated into monetary compensation, and yet here she is, running an incredible non-profit organization that she started. I have a bountiful amount of respect and appreciation for what she has done, and is continuing to do here. You can really see her commitment to HOP's success in how she chooses to run the clinic.
After rallying together enough women from the streets, the club for the mothers started on the slow side. Katie talked about the goals for the group being a community foundation and a place to turn to for help and advice. We started with introductions, which included basic points like favorite colors, and even that was hard to facilitate conversation.
Half an hour into it, we did an activity where we wrote on pieces of paper our fears and worries. That was where I noticed a change in the mood. As the papers were put into a box and pulled out anonymously by Katie to be written down on the white board, you could feel that each fear was resonating with the other women in the room. Fears of raising children correctly, having enough healthy food for everyone, having time to do everything and other worries of mothers I know reminded me of how connected we all are. No matter the circumstances, no matter the language barriers, no matter the cultural differences, and no matter the distance, we are all connected by an inherent group of worries, doubts, concerns and fears that we all share. In many ways, this parallel will allow me to relate to others while I'm here. If I can remember this connection, I will be able to understand where their struggles are coming from and hopefully be able to help them more easily.