Thursday, October 8, 2009

"It is What it is"

Friday was the day Gail got a donut. None of the other Global Volunteers was as lucky. We will investigste. Monday. We had flowers in our room. They are beautiful and a welcome sight after a long day. Thx, Edith.

This experience with CDLN is enriching, sad, frustrating, exhausting and quite wondersful on many levels. I arrive each morning expecting to accomplish something and quickly realize I expect too much. I cannot excape the overwhelming feeling that los ninos live an eye-popping different life than my son who is not that much older than the oldest and was just a little boy not that long ago. It is indeed a charmed life that we lead and we need to be more aware and thankful. Los Ninos are the best....loving, funny, smart and boyishly wild...and on those levels absolutely no different than my son. They play a mean game of Uno and have no qualms trying to kid me out of getting their assignments done. On the other hand, they do listen and have a keen sense of when too much is too much.

Working, eating, and laughing daily with The Golden Girls (Beautiful Ladies, per Edith) is a treat. I am the newbie to GV and they each bring a perspective I do not have. Needless to say, having Gail as my roommate for the first time in many years is amusing and meaningful at the same time. She truly comes alive with GV and it is fun to watch her and share this with her. She does eat an awful lot, however !!!!

Our projects move along. We paint the San Pio in hopes of making it beautiful again. We sand and paint and clean San Antonio with the same hope. If only we coul get the right plate count at lunch we would be on our way to a very successful 2 weeks. We hope the hermanas find our projects and time here useful. They have a tough primary responsibilty and then they have all of us.

This is a great experience. Edith makes it all happen with charm and energy and professionalism. Lots of thoughts but the one that keeps coming to mind and that I say throughout the day, ¨It is what it is"

By Pat

Golden Girls

The five of us volunteers along with our caring & courageous leader, Edith, have really come together as a team. After gathering for a delicious breakfast each morning & hearing announcements, we were off in our van to join our families at Cuidad de los Niños. Rae & Gail headed for Niño Jesus with the youngest boys. There they kept very busy on the playground, reading & straightening up. Natalie went to her family at Sonrisa Franciscana where she engaged in housekeeping chores such as making beds, folding clothes & sweeping. Claire & Pat could be found housekeeping & mending with their family at San Antonio. Later in the morning several of us went with Edith to paint the playroom. This is a major project & we are proud to say that we are making significant progress. We are indeed a team of dedicated & determined workers. Some of us also found time to assist in the lavandaria.Preparation of the dining room & serving lunch has been a challenge for sure.. It isn´t easy to get the count right but we are catching on. We have lunch with our families. Clean up comes next & the tutors told Edith that they love the way Gail does dishes - she´s indispensable! Our afternoon projects consist of playing games with the boys and helping them with homework. Pat has the nine & ten year old excited about playing Uno. The boys are helping us with our Spanish.Wednesday evening we participated in the church service with the community. This was a time filled with much joy as we, the boys & the tutors gathered together in the church for singing, clapping & dancing to the hymns of praise. What a beautiful ending to a very fulfilling day. Diners at our hotel have been delicious & fun. Thursday night Edith took us to Xin Xing, a great Chinese restaurant in our neighborhood. We had a terrific meal together. We are a happy team.
By Natalie

Thought for the Day - " One thing I know; the only ones among us who will be happy are those who will have sought & found how to serve." Albert Schweitzer

"To dispose a soul to action we must upset its equilibrium "

The words I have selected for the daily thought were penned by Eric Hoffer. The words seem particularly fitting for my 6th trip with Global Volunteers. Regardless of how many countries I have the good fortune to visit and participate in volunter work there is always the feeling of being slighty off balance and at times, dazed. I do not mind feeling that way for a time as I am seeing a part of my world with renewed interest in my surroundings. Travel and involvement with different people whose lives are so different from my own is invigorating even if it is not always easy to look around.

The team of 5 wonderful and comical women is a delight. We are all working hard at whatever needs doing. There is no end to what can be accomplished here. Our team leader, Edith, is a pepper pot of boundless energy , smart ideas, and genuine concern for us and the children and staff at Cidudad de Los Ñinos.

On a more personal note, it gives me much pleasure to have my sister, Pat here as a part of this adventure. She is a significant asset. It is nice to see another side of her! I hope she will seriously consider another volunteer trip in the future as she has so much to offer......

The children - what is there for me to write? They make me smile and break my heart all at the same time. I so want things to get better for each and every one. They are in the hands of people who are laboring so hard on their behalf and that is a comfort. The hermanasm in particular, have a huge job. I sense they really do understand how what they do every day for the children impacts the future .

I am happy I have come to Peru and hope my efforts will make a difference. All the work is to the good.

By Gail

Lesson learnt...

Friday was a usual day with breakfast and another ¨tour¨of the city on the way to Cidual los Niños.Cora was sick and spent the day at the Hostel and close to the baño.I finished painting the walls in the ¨mud¨ room at San Antonio. Manu continued working on painting the shoe pegs. She has-had the slow job. I´m going to miss her this week.At lunch I experienced a ¨lesson learned¨. The Niños prefer their soup cool. I waited until I seen them coming from school and going to change clothes before I ladeled out their soup so it would be hotter for them. Hot soup did not appear to be their preference.Lesson learned--don´t rock the boat and try and change their eating habits!I enjoyed the afternoon homework session because I took part in the class assignment. With help from Tonya, I was able to read the assignment and complete it which encouraged the boys to follow my example. Each one of them and the tutors got a ¨well done-good job¨ sticker and off to the playground for a game of football.I look forward to the short waiting period we have before leaving to come back to the hostel to prowl through the concession stand.Friday nite supper was at the Chinese place Xin Xin. Cora stayed at the hostel to continue recuperating. She is much better and plans on the city tour tomorrow.

By Verlon

The potential to turn a life...

The days all start off the same...breakfast in the morning with a short team meeting and a drive to CDLN. Being here almost 3 weeks, I have come to know what is expected of me each day without asking...These last 2 days I had to finish painting the windows and then help Verlin out in the Zapataria. The mornings seems to fly by with this work, and before we know´s 1pm and it´s time to start setting up for lunch.

Although now I am used to setting up for lunch exactly how the Hermanas and Niños like it...Grechen is still figuring things out...I think it must have taken me a week and a half to realize what was going on haha. One thing that is important for everyone to remember, however, is that no matter what mistakes are made...the boys and the hermanas will never hesitate to help out by fixing your mistakes, and by teaching you the proper way (their way). If there is one thing I´ve learned about Latin American culture these last few weeks is that they are very patient, honest and helpful people...
Anyway, lunch usually goes the same...some of the boys love eating, some of them hate it...but no matter what, each plate is left clean! Definitely gives you insight on how much we waste back home...Grenchin and I help with the dishes, washing and drying - I think the boys appreciate it, but it´s hard to tell.

After lunch it´s play time - these last 2 days Grenchin had the great idea of bringing the games Jenga and Etch-a-sketch - both which the boys absolulely loved! It´s great watching them play Jenga - they´ve got great skill and incredibly steady hands!

After playtime it´s on with the homework - it´s sort of become routine now that I help Brayan, Jose, Christian, Elvis and Maycol with their homework. I use help in the lossest sense of the term...because my Spanish is not near good enough to understand what´s going on half the time. I have a great time talking with the boys and learning from´s hard to believe that I am already into my last few days at CDLN. I can´t count how many times they´ve asked me ¨Is tomorrow your last day?¨ It breaks my heart everytime I answer ¨Si¨ It´s going to be very hard to leave these boys...I think I´ve made a few good friends in them.

As sad as I am that I will be leaving in a few days, I´m exciting for everyone else because I know the types of relationships they´re going to end up forming after 2 weeks. I can remember when it was my first day on at CDLN; I didn´t know what to expect but I was quickly put to work. At first, I felt quite be honest...I felt like the hermanas were just looking for work to give me. But once I started looking at the bigger picture, I realized that even something ¨small¨ like painting the windows or doing laundry goes a long way in this organization. Sometimes because we´re only here for such short periods it´s hard for us to see that, I know it was for me.

Anyway, I think I will leave it there with my thought of the day...

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest accomplishment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around - Leo Buscaglia

Believing in Someday...

First day anxiety at breakfast was quite apparent for all. The ride thru the city to CDLN was interesting and we arrived on time to meet with Father-brother Hugo Mejia . Edith then took us on an tour of the campus including a meeting with the chickens and pigs. We were introduced to our houses and the wonderful women who care for these needy boys 24 hours a day. It was a day of getting to know the ropes and finding out what the expectations were for our group of volunteers. Folding laundry, sewing, and sweeping seemed to be the main events of the morning. When the boys showed up the atmosphere changed quite abruptly and they were the focus of all activity for the remainder of the day. Our day was complete with a wonderful dinner at Restaurant Vista al Mar.

Tuesday was much the same although breakfast was a bit more relaxed. It was great to have Manu back to help us out as she had been working with the previous team and knew what was expected, the routine and of course a lot of the boys’ names.
By Gretchen

Thought for the day

Believing in Someday by Mattie Stepanek

Maybe , Someday
We will all join hands
And live together...
Helping each other.
Maybe, someday
We will all make the world
A much better place...
And be like a gigantic
Smoothly rushing river of peace.
A loving circle that nothing can break.
Maybe, Someday,
We may start with just one person,
And one permanent peace agreement
Within one´s self, within one´s world.