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.