Thursday, April 9, 2009

Feelings, emotions and life lessons: Villa El Salvador

Longing to aid all those in need
We travel to lands so rarely seen.
Waves of emotion flutter inside
A day filled with visions of unfamiliar lives.
A smile, from ear to ear, smeared in dirt over time
Happiness washes their troubles.
If you’ve never seen a rose, and only a dandelion,
A dandelion is very beautiful.
Who really knows where need lies?
We seem to think we (and others) need so much, yet in reality…
Out of the most dismal circumstances seems to come the deepest inner joy!
Pray, we can resist the reflex to “fix” things!
Everything is perfect just as it is-
Understanding this is wisdom.
Sometimes we seem to forget the simplest things in a child’s life.
These simple joys in life are fun, laughter, and love.
It’s amazing to see the joy these children have when they are given the opportunity to play.
They become brothers and sisters and even though they fight,
All of them sleep together and have special moments.
Even when they are dressed the same,
The personalities they possess shine like the Peruvian sun.
The children here can teach us all about resilience.
Despite poverty or being removed from their families,
They laugh, play and enjoy the smallest things in life.
They cherish everyday joys, a lesson we could all learn from.
Internal boundaries broken expressed with physical emotion defined yesterday,
The most profound experience of my service in Lima.
As I look around Villa El Salvador,
It becomes clear to me that the community is center of life,
And the thing that holds us all together.
I remain in awe of the strength and determination,
And can’t help but wonder what life in the U.S. would be like if we adopted a similar approach.
Wednesday, March 25th was an emotional day for sure!
I struggled with properly focusing on a way to make it all make sense.
The people and their resilience was inspiring-
I will never forget the day.
Wednesday stirred up mixed emotions for me.
I was shocked and devastated to see the shacks these people are forced to live in.
Yet happy the PPA exists as an escape and safe paradise for these children.
The idea of needs and wants is currently under reevaluation for myself.
And this reevaluation was exemplified and expanded on upon going and tucking in los ninos in por al noche.
Many had to step aside and take uno momento to compose themselves
And John reminding us the children are safe.
Not only were they safe but they were clean and able to sleep in a cleaner environment
As opposed to the conditions we experienced very briefly as we walked through the shantytowns.
I think it’s phenomenal that the citizens of the shantytowns seemed so happy despite their situation!!
I was saddened by the children in the PPA but reminded myself that they have it better than at home in V. Salvador.
We need to have our eyes and mind open to see and learn
But most important we should always have our hearts open to understand others
Because there shouldn’t be a country without culture,
A society (people) without education opportunities,
A kid without family’s love
And/or a person without passion for life.
Everybody deserves a fair chance at life.

- Written by the whole team after an emotion-filled day visiting the shantytowns of Villa El Salvador and reading bedtime stories to 3-year-old children at the PPA

Go hange a life today!

"Yesterday, John tasked us to be aware PIE (Person in Environment) in the morning; I worked out of the Hospitalito that morning as I will all week. There were only four children there yesterday, which gave me more time to work one on one. I have made a bond with my little friend, Omar. Omar is eight years old, he has not been feeling very well, with cold and fever symptoms. He was a bit playfull when I was there, but mostly wanted to just sit on the couch and snuggle. I am sure my mother used to do this for me whan I was 8 years old. The afternoon on Tuesday, Jacob and I (attempted) to teach 8-10 year old boys some conversational English. We showed them plastic shaped animals, and they would scream out the word in Spanish. Jacob and I would write the English word on the blackboard ( pizzara) and sound out the word. We eventually moved outside, and sat them in a circle (rueda), we had them hand a soccer ball to either their neighbor or pass or gently throw it to another boy and proceed with the next number one, two, three... in English, of which they knew how to count. As we were playing this game one of the more timid boys had his head lowered. One of the more rambunctious boys noticed this and threw the ball at him and purposely hit him on the top of his lowered head. Jacob and I made immediate eye contact, and as true social workers noted the social injustice in this act. As I moved to comfort this boy, we politely asked the boy who threw the ball to apologize. After some further prodding, he reluctantly did so. There was another sweet boy seated next to him on his left, who instantly reached over to comfort him with a hand around his shoulder, and a rubbing of the back of his neck. (a possible social worker in the making) This is not my day for "thought for the day" but I do have one...It is an understatement, that we as social workers have the capacity to with a smile, a gentle word or a nod of the head, a kind word, to alter, redirect and ultimately change a life. Go change a life today. "

Tony Loya

Our goal: To give individual care to each of the children!

"We got an in depth tour of the PPA. It was a hard revolution to know that the PPA takes care of at least 450 children from all over Lima. These kids come from all different ages (several months till 18). Some are orphans, and don’t have anywhere else to go. The others, their parents aren’t able to take care of them, so they come to the PPA. It was hard to walk into this giant room for the toddlers and hear a couple of them just screaming. Edith, our local team leader told us that the child just come in a couple of days ago. Many of the workers don’t always have time to give individual care to each of the children, only to take care of them. That is hopefully what we are here to accomplish."

Jacob Campbell