Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Summer Programs - Part 3

Fisica (Physical Education)
Sixteen kids, Joel and Hayley (Maryland) spend 3 days a week exercising, competing, running, playing, stretching and doing push ups. The boys are determined to be as strong as Tio Joel and everybody wants to be like Tia Hayley. Lately they've been having some great games of kickball. It's a great way to exhaust energy, keep in shape and learn teamwork and determination.
Manueldades (Knitting, Crocheting and Jewelry)
Nancy Cenepo (the wife of the Director of Projects) has volunteered her time to teach some of the kids how to knit and crochet. Boys and girls are learning how to make small pouches, scarves and bags. The kids love it and have even asked to continue during their free time. I am working with a group of children in the jewelry program I was involved in the last time I was at Hogar de Esperanza. They are learning how to design necklaces and bracelets worthy of selling. Many of the kids have never been challenged to use creativity, so this is a great opportunity for them to think differently. We hope to be able to sell the items made. Part of the money would go to buy more supplies and the rest would go to a savings account for the child who made it. Then, when they are of age to leave the albergue, they will have some money to help them get started.

Juegos (Games)
Amy (Kansas City) runs this program. Juegos is a fun learning time for kids to practice team work, playing by the rules and taking turns. They also run the sand dunes, read stories and have a blast!
Musica (Guitar Lessons)

Monday, January 21, 2008

Summer Programs - Part 2

Bio Huerto (Gardening)
A volunteer that was with us for a month in December (Elizabeth, Texas) helped get our gardening program started. She actually plotted the land, worked the dirt, divided it into 5 sections (1 for every casita and 1 for the kitchen), organized the installation of a simple watering system and planned what plants we would grow. Joel asked to be more involved with the kids during the summer and this is one of the programs he has taken on. Now, he and another volunteer, Hayley (Maryland), teach the kids about gardening and how to take care of plants. They spend each morning weeding, fixing fence and tending the garden.Amigos de Net (Internet Friends)
We have a group of kids who would like to interact with students in other countries who can speak spanish and share about their culture. This is a great opportunity for our kids to learn about other cultures and learn how to use the internet. If you are interested in communicating with one of our kids, please let me know! Our secretary, Aracely, and one of our 3 week volunteers, Susannah (Florida), are in charge of this program.

Ingles (English Class)
All of our children learn basic English in school, but they lack practice. Many of them want to learn more and are always asking how to say different words. Erin (New Jersey) has a knack for teaching English and the kids are learning so much! Terapia de Lengua (Language Therapy) and C. Motora (Motor Skills)
At this time, we do not have a professional psychologist on staff. However, Kristi is a Peruvian student working on her degree and license. She has been interning with us for quite a while and works with these two programs. We have several children who are unable to speak, due to trama, abuse or other disabilities. Kristi has new challenges every day and wonderful patience. She also works with our children who are physically challenged and helps those who struggle with attention defecits.

Sunday, January 20, 2008


Lazaro has been with the albergue for nearly 4 years. He had spinal meningitis that was neglected when he was young and, therefore, he needs assistance with every part of life. He uses his wheel chair the majority of time, but can not control it himself. He can walk slowly with help (and there are tons of kids and workers who love to help Lazaro!) We have been concerned for Lazaro and desired to have professionals around him who have experience working with handicapped children. Our workers have done an amazing job with Lazaro, but he needs daily therapy and programs especially for him. After much searching and consideration, we arranged for Lazaro to be transferred to an orphanage south of Lima. This is a special place out in the country where the workers specialize in working with children who have disabilities. It was hard for the boys, who have lived with him for so long, to say goodbye to Lazaro. Deisy (a worker) has spent every day for 4 years assisting with Lazaro and there were many tears shed over his departure. However, Lazaro is in a place that is beautiful and his quality of life will improve day by day. Deivis, Franklin, Jhonaton and Lazaro
Lazaro smiles!
Yulissa, Lazaro and Deisy

Monday, January 14, 2008

Summer Programs - Part 1

I am so happy to be a part of creating, organizing and planning 14 summer programs for our kids at the albergue! We wouldn't be able to do it without all of the volunteers (Americans and Peruanans) that are helping us. After spending weeks in countless planning and scheduling meetings, we emerged with some wonderful programs and only a few kinks to work through. Peru changed their school schedule this year. The children finished school the week before Christmas and will return the first of March. Therefore, we have only 8 weeks of our summer schedule. I think all of us have determined that summer is our favorite time at the albergue.

Since there are 14 programs, I am going to feature a few at a time.

Lectura (Reading)
We have four groups of kids that spend an hour a day reading in our library with the guidance of an adult. Reading was my favorite part of teaching and I am happy to be able to participate. So many Peruvians only read when they're in school. Books are a luxury and sometimes viewed as uneccessary. We hope to spark a passion for reading and a love of books within the hearts of our kids. I work with the two lower reading groups, as my spanish is just barely at their level. :) Another volunteer and a worker at the albergue help implement this program.

Tutoria (Math & Writing)
All the kids are split into grade level groups to study and practice skills for the upcoming year. We spend two hours a day in tutoring. (yes... during the summer) Some children are being reinforced in skills they struggled with the previously and others are getting a head start on the upcoming year. The madre tutoras and volunteers handle the 9 different tutoring groups. I work with the first grade class. I have a difficult time giving into the way the Peruvian schools teach these kids. I see so many kids that struggle with learning and (to me) it's because the way they are taught. There is little differentiation or time to practice the skills they're trying to learn. So, I enjoy my tutoring time... sneaking in fun ways to learn, using my experiences as a teacher and hoping the kids will master a few skills to make the upcoming year successful.

Kinder (Preschool) & Pequinitos (2 yr olds)
Kinder is one of our year-round programs. Our volunteers run this program throughout the year. Hayley (Coast Guard, Maryland) was the Kinder teacher during the winter and Erin (New Jersey) has taken the class over for the summer. Each week there is a theme of learning. Along with learning bible lessons, the children learn their letters, numbers, colors, shapes, how to spell their names and, most importantly, how to follow directions. They also learn their colors, numbers and simple vocabulary in English.

The pequinitos can be a challenging age group, but we only have 3 - two year olds right now. Luckily, our new volunteer, Amy (Kansas City, Missouri) is in love with these little ones. With the help of a past volunteer, (Elizabeth, Texas), she has a colorful room to implement learning, crafts and playtime.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Augustana College Visits

For the second year in a row, our good friends, Scott y Yrene Parsons, came to visit with a group of students from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota (Joel's alma mater.) Besides bringing the orphans a ton of stuff from friends in the U.S., the group accomplished so much in just 24 hours. They toured our facility, helped shelve books in our library, painted the fences around our garden and playground areas, sang songs, played and (the biggest project) they made kites with the kids! What a fun expression of love!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Painting Nails

I covered one of the casistas while the madre tutora took a few of the girls into town. The girls asked if I would give them manicures and pedicures. Luckily, my visiting youth had given me a manicure set for Christmas, so I had something to share!


We found this gal roaming around the orphanage one day. We think it is an Austrailian Redback Spider... if you know anything different, let us know.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

When Kids Leave...

We now have 41 kids here in the orphanage. We used to have 42. But, this week we said goodbye to Jesus. Jesus had been with us for over 3 years, along with his older sister Yamelit.

A past judge signed papers giving Jesus' mother the right to remove her children from the albergue whenever she wished. He failed to put stipulations on this document... like making sure she had a house or room to live in, a job to provide food and necessities for her children and a clean, safe environment. When the holidays came, the mother wanted her children with her. This can sometimes be a good thing. Mothers have time to bond with their children and then work to be able to take them back home into a good situation. However, before the mother took Yamelit and Jesus home for the holidays, she confided in our director that she wasn't really ready to take care of the kids. She was still concerned that she might not have the means to provide for them. However, our hands were tied by the judge's decision.
During their time together, Yamelit decided she did not want to live with her mother. Yamelit has goals and dreams of going to the university and continuing in her education. The albergue has become her home and she is afraid of what might happen if she lives with her mother again. However, Jesus is different. He longs for that relationship and decided he wanted to live with his mother again.

We said goodbye to Jesus... a sad goodbye. Two siblings are separated. Jesus' future is unknown. We pray the mother will be able to take care of him. We pray he continues to go to school. We pray that he will remember all that he has learned and that he will continue in his relationship with Christ. We pray that he won't have to return to the albergue. We have to trust God that we have done our part and that He will take care of Jesus.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

New Year's Eve

We were exposed to a new tradition. A Peruvian tradition is for a family to make a doll or representation of a human. The family decides what size doll to make. It reminds me a little of the scarecrows that are sometimes made during our fall season. The dolls are usually made with old clothes and stuffed with sticks or whatever else you might have. Sometimes a family might put in a photograph or a symbol of something from the past year. Then, at midnight, everyone sets the dolls on fire to represent the passing of last year and the fresh start of the new.

The kids at the albergue made a doll almost the size of the biggest kid we have here. He was hung outside the casita awaiting midnight. Joel and I helped make a doll at Lurdes' house, as well. To spice things up, we stuck fireworks throughout the doll. We burned the doll out in the street along with all of the neighbors' who had their own version of the past year. The street was ablaze.

At first, I thought this tradition was a bit odd and, honestly, a little messed up. However gruesome it seemed, the thought behind it grew on me. Most of the things we long to have renewed are in our own lives and character. Resolutions mostly consist of changes within or disciplines needed to change what is outside. The Bible reminds us that in Christ the old junk in our lives is done with and He can make our lives like new. I guess this tradition is a good reminder and a symbolic enactment of this idea... and, it sure made bringing in the new year memorable.
Happy New Year - the old is nothing but ashes!