Wednesday, April 30, 2008

“You may be one person in this world, but to one person you may be the world.”

As the pen moves from Veronica to me for these journal writings, I wish to initially express the unexpected joy and enthusiasm Veronica has brought to our team. She is the only one among us who had been here before. As I listened to how these children affected her life, I wondered if I could have the same passionate feelings. And the answer is yes… Yes Yes Yes!!!

Our Wednesday started with a trip to the district of San Juan de Lurigancho in the neighborhood of Motupe on the hill of Asentamiento Humano “Nueva Jerusalen” with two of PPA’s students, Rachel and Yesenia. The reason for the trip was that the social worker had to do home assessments of these two girls and they were needed to show the way. Fortunately Edith said it was important for the teams to experience where these children came from and to better understand the opportunities these children had at PPA.

I personally was grateful so many of us, except Veronica (who had previously done a home experience) was with us, as I needed extra help climbing the mountain. But, I did it!! It is easy to understand the dignity and appreciation of these families. It is easy to understand how grateful they are to have the services of PPA. It is easy to experience the joy in their hearts that their children are having a better life with more advantages than they would be able to offer themselves. For me, the visit to families gave a deeper understanding of the needs of the Peruvian ‘disadvantaged.’

Back at PPA that afternoon, we returned to our assignments, Betty to the hospital, Veronica with the young ones climbing all over her as she wiped their noses here and there, and Felipe and I wondering what we were going to face in the girls English class. I thank Edith for her calm resolve in arranging the chairs to better induce focus and concentration. Just by her mere presence the girls (ten of them) were better behaved and more patient with their pseudo English teachers, Felipe and Juanita. We did the repetition exercises with date (and this time we got it right!!), day, salutation, numbers, colors, and select words using flash cards and sentences. It was a long hour and the only way we were able to keep their interest was with a promise of a gift at the end of class. The girls seemed to enjoy their bracelets which were made by one of the girl’s Mom purchased earlier in the day back at the village.

How does one put into words the feelings experienced when a child runs up to you open heartedly saying Juanita, Juanita and throwing her arms around you, your shoulders, or anywhere they can reach. I’m hooked; how many can I sneak home.

We ended a marvelous day at the Inca Market followed by a fabulous dinner at Kuo-Wha. The buffet was delicious and Edith knew exactly what time to get us in and what time to exit. Otherwise, we would have waited for food in a long, long, long, long line.

“You may be one person in this world, but to one person you may be the world.”
Johanna "Juanita" Burton

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Long special day...

Quote for the day: from Johanna’s book

“Travel as far as you can just so long as you can go, and as often as you can go. Time is getting short. There’s a lot of the world to see and you have to go as often as you can make it.”

Our second day at PPA is our first full day. After breakfast and our morning meeting we loaded the now working Global bus with our donations and excitedly headed off to our first morning sessions. Johanna was a little nervous and almost switched jobs before starting our ‘special kids’ project to toddlers but we explained that since she was the only one in our twosome… ‘being she and I’ that spoke Spanish that we needed her in this spot. She was tremendously surprised and so was I with how well Franklin and Ricardo worked with us. They tried very hard and were very well behaved and loving and I was very thankful to have Johanna and her Spanish with me. Our morning was a success. Betty had her first morning in toddlers and except for a few bites I think she enjoyed it, though she made an early escape and we brought her back for more toddler time (just kidding). Phil was happy at work gardening and I believe they were very happy to have his help.

After another great lunch, I spent some time with the ten 3 year olds I was with yesterday who all seem to love to say the name ‘Veronica.’ It must be different to them. When they went for their snack, I used the opportunity to visit the kinder girls I know from January who had moved up in March. After another hair dressing, puzzle making, lego building, and hugging session I was exhausted. Phil looked pretty exhausted from teaching twenty-one boys with Johanna to speak English all afternoon with some assistance from a helper but they both agree it was a huge success. We stayed late today to observe an awards ceremony for the boys. It was beautiful. The awards were given to the best behaved boys from each area… seeing the pride and excitement in the kids faces made me realize again what a great job the brothers and sisters do here at PPA with the kids. Then we went to ‘sweet dreams’ to tuck in six 3 year olds
and read bed time stories. It was a very long special day for us all.

Veronica Montemarano

Monday, April 28, 2008

Quote for the day: Aesop -“No act of kindness no matter how small is wasted

We started our day with the morning meeting and then Mili arrived! It was so great to see her again. The Global bus was out of commission this morning so we took a taxi to PPA. For me it was a great feeling to be coming back. I haven’t stopped thinking about all the beautiful children at PPA since I was here in January and for Phil, Betty, and Johanna I’m sure it was exciting and a little scary too. After our introductions to the staff, we took a tour of the campus. I was more than overjoyed to see Rosa Christine, Guadalupe, and Fabian first thing in the morning. In three months they each seem so much stronger and more alert and I’m so happy to say I think they recognize me. I truly love each of them and wish I could bring them home with me.

After lunch we started our afternoon work sessions. Phil and Johanna taught English to five girls. I’m sure it was challenging and Betty went to the hospitalito where I believe she had ten patients. I was blessed with the 3 year olds who I am in love with and got to play all afternoon. My heart aches with different emotions, so much thankfulness that I can be here and that these kids can be in such a wonderful safe environment and yet aches that these kids don’t know a parents’ warm bed to crawl into in the middle of the night or have a proud grandparent in the audience at a school play and so many things we all take for granted when we have a loving home. We were all pretty tired by the end of the day but had a great dinner at Mangos which was a nice walk from Torreblanca.
Veronica Montemarano

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Fist Day at PPA...

Today is officially our first day. It’s gorgeous and sunny. It was great to see Edith and the staff at Torreblanca again. I feel so at home here in Miraflores.

We met after breakfast for our orientation. Our group has four members… Betty, Phil, Johanna and myself. Betty, Phil, and Johanna are from Arizona and I am from New York.

We chose our jobs for the week after Edith went over Global’s goals and told us about PPA. This is my second time here in the past three months and I am so excited to be back and to see all the children again. I hope that Phil, Betty, and Johanna find their experience as fulfilling as I have.

Quote for the day: Forest Witcraft
“A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of home I lived in, or the kind of car I drove, but the world will be different because I was important in the life of a child.”

Veronica Montemarano