Wednesday, December 26, 2012


One of the interesting things about today was what I learned about my pronunciation of Spanish. Each time I said the name "Raquel" the 5 year-old girls laughed and pointed to my mouth.....Edith explained that to pronounce Spanish properly the mouth must open only a little bit.....When she said this, I realized that even the toddlers had been staring at my mouth...Now I know why!


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Day

Christmas Day - At breakfast, Edith said to us "Today it is our job to do anything we can to make it a special day for the children". We tried hard, and it was very enjoyable to make this effort as a team, and to do it alongside Brother Ignacius, and the Peruvian volunteer Maria, and all of the children's helpers....We had a common goal - an entertaining movie, delicious hot dogs will have lots of memories of Christmas celebrations at PPA, but one of the clearest will be of this feeling of being part of "the Christmas Spirit". I had read about it before, but now I have experienced it....

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve

This Christmas Eve was one I will never forget. While there were a few boys who fell asleep during Christmas dinner which was at 10pm, most all of them stayed up and ate, and danced, and waited for the opportunity to shoot off their own fireworks. The moment came at 11 and for an hour the children shot off their own fireworks and for that hour, I could see nothing but signs of happiness on each of their faces. Today is Wednesday and in two short days we will be home. I wish I could live at the PPA. I wish I could give every child who doesn’t have a family, my family.

Friday, December 21, 2012


On Friday I had the privilege to meet one of the fathers of a young girl. Her name is Rose. She was in the hospitalito and I gave her father legos and a coloring book and watched as their bond grew even stronger. Today is Christmas and all we have to do is look at the inundation of smiles to know how important our presence is for the children, especially the ones who do not have a family. We are their family, Today, and everyday. This weekend I left Mira Flores and saw a different part of Peru. It was beautiful and I witnessed first hand how important family is. I had lunch with a family up in the hills and we shared laughs. Today and tomorrow we will get tired, but we musn´t forget how important our presence is to the children and that they are the only thing that matters today and everyday. Feliz Navidad.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Only Worry About Today

At breakfast, Edith gave us a thought-provoking start - a short history lesson including the 3 rules Peruvians live by: No lying, stealing, or being lazy ....

By the time I got to kindergarten, the children were already excited about the Christmas celebration. Soon it started... All the performances were impressive, but some children stood out because of their talent or maybe a very special smile...My favorite was the nativity pageant...especially the little girl who took the doll out of the cradle...
Next I went back to the girls' dormitory where the children had a wonderful time teaching me the naughty word for "butt" in Spanish. We also got a good workout doing exercise to a music video...

But the afternoon ended with my leaving PPA early to take a nap...How could this be?.....On the very same day I had been taught the. Peruvian rule "Do NOT be lazy"! Oh well,, we also learned another lesson at breakfast: Edith said "Only worry about today".........And fortunately, for me, tomorrow is another day!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012



Today is still a holiday in Lima.  Not a lot of people and cars.

The PPA girls took a cab as usual to PPA.  Maddy and  Jacquie went to Nino Jesus for the morning.  Today, everyone cried.  Maddy and Jacquie took turns helping the two-year olds look out the window to watch men working on the grounds.  They were fascinated.  Some of them didn’t want to leave.

Blanche, Maddy and Edith continued her work on the library.  They talked about the job of patching up the holes, sanding and priming.  They were covered in dust, as usual, when we met them for lunch.

With La Molina closed for the holiday, Kay joined us at PPA.  She had six classes of middle schoolers to teach English to.  She spent time searching Global Volunteers’ resources to make sure she could keep the kids busy and interested for an hour.  Maddy went with her and turned out to be the star of the afternoon class with seventh grade girls.  They wanted to know all about her.

Edith, Maddy and Blanche talked about the library.  One wall will be covered with a picture of Machu Pichu.  Other colors could not be picked until the picture was selected.

The girls spent another night out at at Mavery’s.  The girls regaled each other with stories, most of which were funny.  The girls had a great time.  We desperately searched the menu for a new culinary adventure.  Maddy was in Chi Cha heaven.  Jacquie, Kay and Blanche dined to Pisco sours.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Same Old

The girls at PPA had a typical day at the orphanage. Jaquie and Maddy went off to Niño Jesus and attended to the same babies who are always crying and washed the same dishes that needed to be done. Nothing out of the ordinary. Blanche started her daily routine of sanding in the morning. On Monday she sanded the putty she had put in the walls on Friday, mentally cursing herself for being so eager to fix every discrepancy she laid eyes on.

The afternoon began. Same old, same old. Jaquie went off to try and wear out the energy of three year olds, who played with every interesting thing they saw; while Blanche and Maddy went to collect their siblings. Blanche's little babies have started to run to the gate every day when they knew it was time to be collected. Blanche had a thought of what would happen when she disappeared? Another abandonment for these kids. Jazmani (Maddy's 2 year old) just stood at his playpen gate, grinning his toothy grin; his cute and very chubby face alight with joy. Estefany, Maddy's 8 year old sibling arrived late with only 30 minutes of the afternoon to go.

Kay, like the rest of the week went to La Molina, where the hot topic of the day was Extra Terrestrial. UFOs, Aliens and the like where discussed.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Birthday Parties

La Molina activities started with a birthday party for a teacher presented by her students – cake, popcorn, chips, soda, and juice followed by guitar music and singing.  Informal classes in the afternoon competed with a student march to protest the amount and cost of food in the University restaurants.  A second birthday party completed the day.

The PPA girls worked with the children as well as in the new library peeling and filling spots in the wall.  A party for the children in the afternoon was full of havoc with lots of jumping and dancing.  The rice pudding was squeezed out of a cup and into their mouths, a technique they mastered with little trouble.  A fascination with the children continues as their individual personalities emerge.  The little ones are expressing delight with daisies and bugs as they explore outside.  Being warmly dressed seems to be an objective.

The lunch time included a side trip to a market in the Magdalena del Mar area.  It was interesting to see all the items available.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

"Without a sense of caring, there can be no sense of community."



La Molina students are in the midst of finals with most looking exhausted.  Kay had fewer students than usual, but those present were actively involved in skits with laughter, creative responses, and clear English the results.

Progress is being made by the girls at PPA.  Blanche and Maddy sanded and sealed in the new library and reflected on the notion that it is good to do something you don’t like to do.  Pamella and Diego learned to sit up on the swing by themselves.

Maddy taught the chicken song to her group and demonstrated the actions at dinner…  Three more toddlers were speaking coherent words.

Jacquie was surprised at how sharp the kids are at the age of 3; their sense of self is firmly developed.  Territorial fights with avengence is their style of play with no boundaries in evidence.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Day of Sunshine

Blanca- concrete floor is laid, electricity grid placed. Sealing and patching walls today - a less dirty task. Discussions of wall colours and grouting makes me hopeful that I will see a finished room? Juan, Jose Carlo and co. move fast. I was stood up by my siblings- a trip to the dentist for Pamela meant a stay in the Hospitalito for her. Instead, I hung out with a bunch of 3 year olds, along with Jaquie. Adorable. I am left with neverending admiration for the two carers who generally manage all 14 kids by themselves.

Kay- attributed the wakefulness of her students to the day of sunshine in La Molina, however, it may also be a result of the highly successful 'some' and ' any' rap accompanied by foot stomping, that she devised for her class. All 9 staff members attended a birthday luncheon. The afternoon conversation classes comprised personality tests ( only one definite B from the dozy guy at the back) and idioms and slang, with a ' cat got your tongue' from Kay when no response was forthcoming.


Monday, September 24, 2012

The Fairy Tale of Some Kind Stranger

Blanche (aka Blanca) - a derelict room - no floor, no windows, rotten wood beams- this room is to be the library? I feel overwhelmed by the task ahead. Sanding for 3 1/2 hours left me tired, filthy and still unable to meditate. Perseverance, diligence, service - my mantra. I was nervous about the afternoon; my charges, two siblings who hadn't seen each other for weeks. I am not a person who "loves kids". I was unprepared for the love that comes with spending time with them, the pang that accompanies the clip clop of their tiny shoes as you walk with them across the pavement holding their trusting hands.

Maddy ( aka Muddy) - was exhausted by lunchtime - physically, mentally, emotionally. The toddlers fought for her attention and would climb onto her and tug at her clothing in order to get it. She was simultaneously sad to see them so starved of attention, and happy to be wanted by the tiny children.

Kay- her arrival at La Molina Universidad was slightly delayed by a taxi's mechanical problems. Unperturbed, she had her 10am impromptu English Class enraptured with discussions of Justin Bieber and Salina Gomez. They asked her to come again. After planning and lunch, her two classes of 2 and 12 students were treated to the same lesson about learning and working modalities, which allowed Kay to refine her technique. Kay's companion for the day, Maria, stayed by her side the entire time and was invaluable.
Jaquie ( aka Yukki) - writes ' the orphanage. A bittersweet experience. The innocence of children, vibrant, like the noon sun. For a while anyway, they are ignorant of the hardship that engulfs them. Will they live the fairy tale of some kind stranger who whisks them away? " I want you," the stranger says.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Coming to an End

Today brings an end to an all encompassing two week cycle. The past two weeks were my first with a team of volunteers, and now I fully appreciate the need for more hands on deck at PPA. The Stein family who were with us for the first week and the Mylond family, both provided great help and ideas to better both my personal experience and PPA as a whole. The journey began with great enthusiasm and it didn't let up. Along with Martin, we tackled a 10 square meter room with a high roof and really improved it. The stories we all shared over dinner showed me how much enjoyment we all got out of the past two weeks and how passion and perseverance can bring joy to what could be a very glum situation. The insite the families offered PPA really helped me broaden my feeling of influence. Moments like putting a cute hand washing skit together and watching Jessa Stein dance at Junius kept the momentum and made the past two weeks fly by. I can truly say how glad I am to have served with them and they have definitely impacted the way I will approach every situation in my life.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Last Full Day

Thursday was sadly  our last full day at PPA. We started off the day with our "washing hands" presentation which ended up lasting the whole morning. It was cool to see all of the different classrooms at the PPA school and maybe make an impact on their daily cleanliness. After we went to lunch and I got sick so that wasn't too fun but I heard the day was just as fun as all of the other memorable days here at PPA. I wish i had been able to see the Aquino family one last time.

Every kid was nice to each other and were all a joy to be around. My afternoons with them were always very active and filled with laughter.  The dinner at Chifa was very good and it ended the day well.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


This week has been a blur. I can't believe its already Wednesday! Here are some moments that stood out to me on Wednesday:
The babies, smiling at me as I entered the play area of niño Jesus.
Sweet little yasami, so comically, adorably exhausted that he couldn't stay sitting up straight.
Laughter while practicing our skit.
Belisa laughing uncontrollably as I tickled her.
Fabiola, Belisa, and Lidia hugging and giggling together.
Today I realized how much I will miss the kids. How is it that I will get to see the benito family only once more? Though it is sad, I realize that their presence in our lives, and ours in theirs, is truly the greatest gift. Through laughter, communication, miscommunication, hugs, and high fives, we have created created mutual joy, friendship, and appreciation that I will never forget. The people, my team mates, the children, are what will stick with me, and I feel so very lucky to have gotten to share life with them for this short time. As I watched the girls smile and hug one another, I was able to appreciate just how much they appreciated one another. Fabiola truly inspires me, helping her sisters, protecting them, hugging them, smiling at them, loving them, and appreciating them. This is something I will definitely take home with me.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Dia Siete

The day began with mi madre, Helen and I playing with niño Jesus, Martin and Alic

breaking their backs on whatever labor projects they were working on, and mi padre

trying to manage his sick but crazy hospitalito kids.

After we all were run ragged, Edith was still not tired in any way shape or form and rushed us of to the market to buy costumes for an educational battle about washing hands. At the market we bought bubbles and hats and all of the nuts and bolts you need to retend to be captain soap. Then we took a taxi to d'Gallia and had lasagna with lots of yummy beef in it. After finishing our flan we went back to PPA and began our afternoon projects. Alic and I helped the San Vicente helpers not die with exhaustion and I met the famed 5 year olds. We ran around for a bit, drew for a bit, and jumped for a bit. Finally we went back to Torreblanca and began to rest up for day 8.

Monday, June 25, 2012

What We Have Found in Peru

We are in Peru, where we have found

Lots of horns

Lots of mist

An ocean behind us

Crazy taxi rides

A small, warm hotel

An amazing, giving, fearless leader

Two thousand kinds of potatoes

Pisco sour, coca cola cero

A team of friends come and gone

We are here to give to PPA, where 

Every day is different

Every child is deserving

of attention and care and respect

We are challenged with

Messages we cannot understand

Histories we do not know

Situations we have never seen

Each day holds the promise of 

Joy, frustration, relief, surprise, 

Hard work, laughter, privilege, 

Enlightenment, competence and confusion. 

Each night brings more clearly the knowledge that we cannot fix everything, and give everyone what we know they need, and for now, thankfully, holds the promise of a chance to try again, to do better, to do as much as we can the best we can, tomorrow.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Eye Opening Day

Today, I believe, was the most impactful day of of the so many impactful days we have had in Peru.  Accompanied by Stefan and Andrea´s charge, Maciel Aquino, and the PPA´s Girls´ Social Worker Margaret, we went to the San Juan de Lurigancho District of Lima to visit the Aquino family.  It would turn out to be a day all of us will remember for a long time.  

We began the day by climbing into a city van, the kind that is hailed on the streets by commuters and tourists.  Our amazing coordinator Edith shared with me that the driver is a very hard working man who is a client of her mechanic father´s.  He took us on a lenghty and somewhat harrowing journey to the little shantytown where Maciel´s family lives.  Along the way, we saw brick and adobe homes clinging to the sides of steep mountainsides, while trying to avoid the moto—taxi´s buzzing around our van.

I´m not sure any of us were prepared for what we found when we arrived at Maciel´s home.  Behind a vacant lot with junk strewn about and three sweatered perro´s and their puppies leaving evidence of their presence everywhere, stood a ramshackle wooden abode that held a kitchen and three rooms, all in a line.  A closer examination of the rooms in the structure demonstrated a severe lack of hygiene which clearly posed a health threat to any residents of the home.

 We met Maciel´s abuelita, who started sobbing tears of happiness as soon as she laid eyes on the tiny girl.  The elderly women related to us how Maciel´s mother had been in and out of jail and has abused alcohol for many years.  Although the grandmother had attempted to care for the children, she is afflicted by osteoporosis and is obviously quite resource poor, and so had to give them up to PPA.  Unfortunately, she has not been able to visit the children as she does not have formal custody. Unfortunately, the mother of these children has not shown much interest in visiting PPA, just as she did not show much interest in the children while they were living in her home.  

All of us left with a greater appreciation for the role that PPA plays in improving childrens´ lives.  While I am certain that the children loved and continue to love their mother and grandmother and even their home, PPA not only provides a much healthier environment for children, but also an opportunity for children to live lives that are filled with laughter, games, and opportunity.

Also, today is a sad day for the Mylod Yee family.  The Steins, with their fun loving and gentle ways, are leaving us for an adventure on their own.  We will miss them and think of them often, especially when I´m alone at the Hospitalito, or when we encounter the Aquinos that benefited so much from Stefan´s and Andrea´s attention, or those crazy three year olds whom Owen will have just a little less fun caring for without Jessa and Eliza.  And of course, Alic will really miss their peculiar music selection and Harvard Baseball Team dance moves on those van rides home.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Dancing Skills

Today we had our last morning with the Kindergartener´s and it was surprisingly sad leaving them. The boys in my class are...interesting. They mostly just behave as they choose to. They were really entertaining though and I enjoyed their presence. When I said good bye to them, I was surprised to see that they thought I was really there to stay.

When we got back to the office, we did our usual routine of telling our morning stories and then we were off to lunch. Lunch is always really good and we always have something to talk about.
I always enjoy myself working with Jessa and Owen in San Rafael. All three of us really have gotten to know all of the kids and have grown to love them. I really am going to miss all the kids.
The best part of the day BY FAR was our car dancing skills. I never knew two families could have so much talent. I really wish we were traveling with the other family we are working with because they will be missed.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Our Babies

Yesterday was the third day on the job. I really enjoy hearing everyone's stories at the end of the day. I especially enjoy Owen's constant energy and laughter, as it always brightens up the room. Unfortunately, I have gotten sick so yesterday morning I slept while Helen took care of our babies. I always enjoy working with Helen with our babies even though the babies can be a bit exhausting. I am very happy that we are with such a wonderful and nice family to share the experience with. I wish we were traveling together next week too.
Yesterday afternoon Owen, Eliza, and I had such a wonderful time with the three-year olds. I always look forward to spending time with them. We got to play cars with them and then wash them and put their pj's on their petite cute bodies. I was sad to go and wished that we could have stayed longer. I am looking forward to seeing them this afternoon.
Last night we also went shopping and to dinner.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Getting Settled

We all settled in nicely in our second day at PPA.  Everyone became more comfortable with the children and our work, although each day was different.  It was wonderful to hear how much fun that Owen, Jessa and Eliza had with the three-year olds in the afternoon, I watched Martin do a great job playing with the boys in the area around the basketball courts, and two sisters seemed very attached to Helen.
As for me, the morning was calmer than yesterday, as Marty and I stayed with half the number of kids in the hospitalito than were there yesterday.  One of the children, Jeremy, was very enthusiastic about learning English and I taught him English words for at least two hours.  In the afternoon, I was happily run ragged by a five-year old

Monday, June 18, 2012

1st Day of Work

We had our first day of work at PPA and everyone had interesting stories to share. I worked in the kindergarten in the morning and was frustrated that I was unable to communicate with the students and teachers due to my poor Spanish skills. However, the kids were very sweet and full of enthusiasm. I especially enjoyed visiting the kitchen with the kids and observing their awe of the kitchen appliances, large quantities of food, and the chef's expertise with a knife.

After our lunch break, we all had a little Spanish refresher, which was quite helpful. Stefan and I worked together with bringing siblings together for some private family play time.  First, Edith described the kids' family situations to us, which was quite moving. We were only able to gather 3 out of 6 siblings. The siblings initially didn't play much together, but after a brief time, they jumped together on the trampoline and chatted away. It was a pleasure spending time with them.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Team Aloha carries on, less our Compadre Jim, who returned to his real world on Sunday.  He is missed.  Still, Carol, Jared, and I continue the good works under Edith’s expert tutelage, serving the special children of PPA.  Jared and Carol spend their mornings sanding and painting doors, to address the challenges of aging buildings, and in their afternoons, bring together sibling groups to strengthen tenuous family ties. I have been spending mornings in a classroom as a Kindergarten teacher’s aide, and in the afternoon provide recreational relief to shut-in children in the infirmary.  As the end of second week approaches, we seem like familia to PPA staff, who greet us daily as we come and go.
Peru has provided the perfect experience through placement at PPA, and the perfect mentor, Edith Rodriguez Perciado, for us to achieve our Team Aloha goals:
·         To share and show aloha

·         To experience Peruvian culture

·         To learn to speak a bit of Spanish

·         And of course, to wage peace and promote justice as Global Volunteers.

Discovering the wonders of Lima and the warmth of its people has been a bonus for us
We will carry our special memories of an incomparable experience as we return to our home on the weekend. Among my favorites are:
Visions of the luminous big brown eyes of our children.
 Forehead kisses as cure-alls for sad faces.
 Knowing you can reverse a mini meltdown with hugs
   Balloon volleyball as a perfect antidote for shut-ins.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed in the things that you didn’t do than by the ones that you did do. So, throw of the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

Morning meeting at PPA sets the tone for the day before we take turns at the loo and move automatically to our workstations, be it kindergarten or an 82-yearl-old building in desperate need of a face lift. Senior Napoliano’s welcome greeting is by now a fixture as are the worn and paint spotted gloves, scrapers, gloppy paint brushes and diminishing cans of white enamel. By this, the 4th day of work, progress is evident in the white gleam of the doors and window panes as Global Volunteers pack up our equipment at the end of another morning to turn our attention to the afternoon with Siblings.
Less than five hours after a hearty breakfast we find ourselves trudging hungrily toward D’Gallia for purple corn juice and another substantial meal. Fully satiated and reluctantly suppressing visions of an afternoon siesta, we select the items that we know by now will please (or at least entertain) the various members of our Sibling Families. Meanwhile, Joanne, having spent the morning volunteering at kindergarten, heads off to the infirmary to bring joy to the shut-ins with the help of Snoopy.
Sibling time has become more laid back and casual. We no longer scramble to find the perfect toy or the correct building and room to pick up or drop off a kid. The Sibling’s routines are better understood as are their individual habits and personalities. Hopefully, thanks to Edith’s daily lessons and tips, language is becoming less of a barrier to communication. Sibling interaction seems to be more relaxed and natural so that they can play in the same area, each doing his own thing, but being aware of each other’s presence. There are fewer demands and less competition for the Volunteer’s attention with the constant “mira, mira, mira” -- “Look at me, look at me…”
All in all, it seems like the Volunteer and Siblings have become their own little temporary family.

Monday, April 2, 2012

“Life sometimes just is not fair”

On Sunday I met the oldest, saddest seven year old.  We first met at the hospitalito where he was sitting in the corner on the floor moving a toy car back and forth with a blank look on his face.  Turns out his two younger brothers and him were abandoned a year ago and unfortunately he has not been able to see his brothers in almost a year…the staff is concerned about him as he has been increasingly stressed by this situation.  The decision was made that he would be part of the siblings program and on Monday he was reunited with his two younger brothers…it was an amazing sight to see this little boy totally light up and start jumping around…. This sad, old little boy turned immediately into the proudest big brother I have ever met.  My eyes began tearing up and had to choke back the tears for two very different reasons, the first being tears of joy seeing these young  children being reunited and second because for these three little boys life just has not been fair to them.

“To know even one breath has breathed easier because you have lived, that is to have succeeded” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

             We had arrived at our final day in Peru - what a journey this has been. As individuals we came from diverse backgrounds, with different histories and experiences - yet we shared a common thread – the importance of giving and contributing for the better good. With finite time we united as a team; giving ourselves, our hearts, and spirits. We worked hard, played, shared, learned, and JUST WENT WITH IT! What we learned, experienced and felt will remain with us for a lifetime.
Our last day at PPA came with bitter sweet emotions. It was exciting to see the final product of the girls’ dining room and the amount of work that was accomplished over the 2 weeks! Spending the afternoon having lunch with the girls and getting the opportunity to say our last goodbye’s, share our appreciation for each other, and simply play and enjoy our final moments was truly special.
Reflecting on my time in Peru and at PPA words cannot justify what I experienced, felt, and learned as a person. I am extremely grateful to have had this opportunity - thank you Stobbe’s for providing me with this. I feel blessed to have you in my life - you have taught me the importance of giving and “paying it forward” which I will continue to share with others throughout my lifetime.
Edith thank you for leading our team, planning, organizing...and just being the amazing woman you are. From dinner helping us with any walking, walking, walking...the list just keeps going on! We appreciated your over and above dedication to us and our time and projects at PPA. Your heart and passion is in the work that you do and the kids at PPA appreciate and love you. Thank you Edith - for everything. We could not have asked for a better person to lead our team.
On a final note – Let’s all remember to take the time to appreciate our lives. No matter what life brings to each of us there is always space to remember how grateful we are to be living this crazy little experience called Life. As Edith would day “Appreciate what you have, Enjoy what you have, Everyone deserves the Best”.
Cheers to our Adventure!
 by J.

A better place...

Friday, February 10, 2012

Last day at PPA. Edith said that this week would go fast. It was a blur.

It´s hard to describe what it´s like to have 20 three-year-olds greet you – like puppies every morning. Such smiles and happiness. Not that it lasts. There are fights and tears, consoling qand anger, sometimes all at once.It is amazing how much personal growth we saw in the children in two weeks and experienced ourselves. Maryanne and Susan hokey-pokeyed their way through the morning, even for a film crew shooting a documentary.Rose and Marie washed a lion share of dishes and soothed the little ones. Pat and Mandy used sports and crafts to wear out the 4,5 and 6-year-olds. The results of the sibling project seemed mixed. One family group was older and reconfirmed their bonds, one group was guided by the care of the big sister who may hold that family together. The younger group may appreciate they have one another – the little sister at 3 seems independent and strong. May she offer leadership to her brothers. The goodbyes were emotional and heartfelt. Appreciation oozed from both sides.

By bus we went to Donatello´s for another exceptional meal. At 6:30 we had a final dinner with Edith whom we cannot thank enough.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

"The only way you can truly get more out of life for yourself is to give part of yourself away."

So it was business as usual. Pat had the idea that we should find the less rowdy San Vincente boys. We colored made paper fortune tales, sang songs, and played musical chairs. I knew our morning was going too smoothly because all of a sudden all the boys were together and it was mass pandimonium with skateboards, scooters and other forms of hazardous horseplay. As we were getting ready for lunch we found out that Rose´s choco crispy bars were a success and that the 3 yr. olds will be eating them on Feb. 10th.

As for the afternoon, Marie and I sang a whole lot of songs and we were amazed that we didn´t have to pick up a hundred balls but rather the kids played in one corner. After dinner at Le Baguette we returned to PPA for sweet dreams. I attempted to read Aloha and Bunny Rabbits Picnic, we looked at pictures and marvelled at the pretty colors. When Edith said five minutes left, I did my best to put Andrea to bed and I sang him Silent Night and for Anderson, well, lets just say I sang him a song that my Mother sang to me, Good night and sweet dreams.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Ït isn´t what you have in your pocket that makes you thankful, but what you have in your heart¨

Today was anything but typical. We were joined by Rufina and Julio on a quest to locate Julio´s mother in Shantytown. Along the way we stopped at a public hospital to see about birth records for Julio and another boy. After many tries Julio was able to find his mother and they had a reunion of sorts for a few minutes. As we were driving back to PPA, we were pulled over by a police officer. Mr. officer thought we were a small public bus in the wrong lane. Amazingly, drivers in Lima do not signal their turns, and change lanes at will and honk incessantly, yet being in the wrong lane gets you pulled over. Fascinating.

When we arrived back at PPA, it really was lights, camera, action. Rose and Susan handed out candy while Pat, Marie, Edith and myself (Mandy) stuffed popcorn into the bags. After we got the popcorn to the auditorium, I went to San Rafaelfor a few minutes before heading back to the auditorium . We had so much popcorn and jello left over that Marie, Edith,Maryanne,Pat and I ran around PPA distributing it. After operation distribution was complete I literally ran back to the auditorium to help Rose and Susan cleanup. Rose was just finishing picking up the trash on the floor with her hands, What an amazing mom and what an awesome example for hard work. After this we headed back to the hotel where Maryanne and I got a ready for a much needed massage. I can honestly say I have had many massages in my life but none where I heard people oohing, ahhing, moaning,clapping and turning on the light. Like I said, this day was anything but typical.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Getting to Know Peru

Today Edith briefed us about recent politics and economics, especially during the ¨lost decade of the 1980´s. After that turbulence it seems like Peru is more stable in a better place today. At least from what we have seen so far in Miraflores and center city.Assignments proceeded on the regular schedule. Many of us have noticed how safety standards are lower than at home. We see children playing with plastic puzzle tags, drinking water meant for the garden hoses, and carrying their own play equipment (see saws). Yet they seem strong and hardy. May they continue to be well. At lunch we went with Edith on a bus to shop at the local market that brimmed with meats, potatoes, guinea pigs, veggies, housewares, clothes and personal care items. We bought some toys for the childrenand had a lunch outside then took the bus back to PPA.For dinner we went to an upscdale, totally full Chiffa for delicious Chinese food. Again, we see signs of prosperity in the neighborhoods we have visited, including maids walking tiny well groomed dogs.

Saying from a fortune cookie "you will have the opportunity to be recognized for your good actions."That joy has been coming to us every day as we see our children´s enthusiasm and energy.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Getting to Know the PPA Children

The morning alarm. Where am...oh, it is Peru and we are working today. It is time to reconnect with our children. This Monday we felt more acclimated to PPA and woke ready to re engage with the little people we have come to know. The spitfire, the bruiser, the dancer, the cuddler, the climber, et al.

We witness how resilient most of them are, how often they fall and get up, have toys snatched and find others, and generally show patience as they line up for snacks, had washing and black bib shirts. They glide easily from the communal toys to their semmingly identical back packs full of personal toys tht each owner can identify a mile away and claim it with precision.The children seem more comfortable with us too, especially when they cozy up stick like velcro, and explore our anatomy as well as our watches, earrings, lipsticks, etc. Each child seems well cared for with freshly washed and ironed clothes, sweet smelling hair and white teeth. They are intent on keeping their shoes on at all times (clearly according to the rules) and glide, jump, and run in their flip flops with grace most of the time.After our days work, several of our group went for massages from blind workers. What a good idea. Reviews were unanimous two thumbs up and 10 toes up. We all selpt well that night.

Friday, February 3, 2012

"Pretty much all the honest truth telling in the world is done by children." Oliver Wendell Holmes

Today was walking day. In the morning, Marie and Rose had their first opportunity to take a few of the little ones outside. Typically, Pat does this in the afternoon. Lunch was early for the children because it was family visitation day. Maryanne and Rose spent the afternoon with their families while Pat, Susan, Marie, and Mandy walked the children to and from the family meeting area. It was sad for children who expected parents that didn´t show and heart-wrenching to see those who cried when returned to their areas.

In the evening, we donned our fancy clothing and went to Junius for a buffet and a folklore show with terrific music and incredible dancing. The crowning hit of the evening was watching Mandy reluctantly take to the stage to become the bride of diablos. Her hesitant participation and wildly comical facial expressions sent five ladies into fits of laughter and was an absolutely hilarious ending to another day filled with both work and play. Thanks again to our wonderful leader, Edith.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

"We can´t do great things in this life – we can only do small things with great love." Mother Theresa

It seems that we are all falling into our routines at PPA learning to pace ourselves, connecting names with faces and falling in love with the enthusiasm of these precious little ones. In the Nino Jesus, Marie and Rose had the experience of seeing a few children respond with E I E I O after singing the lines of Old MacDonald. Edith treated us to a delightful evening. We went to San Antonio and oohed and aahed over the pastries and sandwiches. We returned to our beds filled with quiches, spinach pies, sandwiches, chocolate brioches, and cakes, and ice cream. Gracias, Edith.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Those who say it can´t be done are interrupted by those doing it.

Ups and downs are shared as the interactions continue. We are getting to know faces, names and expectations. We realize too that our job isn´t to alter things but to facilitate procedures in place. None the less we fantasize about darkening the skin and eyes on the murals, dividing large numbers into groups and being able to communicate in Spanish a great deal more. After PPA today Edith took us to the Inca market. Edith showed the Indian portion of this immense place. Marie bought an alpaca sweater, Sue to a lovely carved bird, beautiful postcards and she and Pat got table runners – hand woven. Pat got her daughter some head bands and a hat for herself. There are lovely, lovely items.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Inch by inch it is a cinch – yard by yard it is hard

This was seriously our first full day of working in the various areas. Our group declined hospital and labor. We are assigned with children of various ages and sibling groups. We are all exhausted and excited. Our language skills are lacking unfortunately. Everyone´s efforts are great and no two groups or sessions are the same. Our routine is not established with a meeting at 8´o´clock, lunch about 1 and completion of our workday at 5. Our lesson this morning was about the local fruits and vegetables. We learned that asparagus is their number one export, that there are 2,000 types of potatoes and lucuma and chirimoya are local products.

Monday, January 30, 2012

There is no I in team

This morning the entire team seemed enthusiastic to begin our mission as members of Global Volunteers. During the morning we practiced some Spanish before meeting with the staff of PPA. I think they were impressed with our effort in speaking their language. We also toured the entire campus both outdoors and in. Around noon we went to a local restaurant for a very good lunch. After lunch we went into our afternoon assignments to work with the loving and very energetic children. We finished the evening with a lovely dinner at the mall where we also learned of the shops selling traditional Peruvian items. Some of us had our first Pisco sour -- but not our last.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Peru Team Jan 29- Feb 10

She didn´t know it couldn´t be done, so she went ahead and did it.

After just a few hours sleep we met with our very energetic and wonderful team leader over breakfast. The entire team met with Edith to set our goals and expectations. We took a tour of Limalearning of its history and points of interest. After a delicious and beautifully prepared dinner at the hotel we went to bed to rest up for what would be our first afternoon with the children.