Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas at the Guardería

Christmas at the Guardería began long before our celebration took place. One of the presents that the children receive for Christmas is a new pair of shoes. Shoes are a necessity for the children if they are to attend school. In order buy shoes, the women of the Guardería spent an afternoon measuring the feet of the children. In the following weeks, the women of the Guardería purchased shoes and presents for all of the children. One week before our celebration, Carmen and several volunteers of Pop Wuj packed up all of the shoes and brought them to the Guardería in order to ensure that they fit properly. 

The Christmas celebration itself was a fun and exciting time for the children and the volunteers. On the 15th of December, Carmen and the volunteers of Pop Wuj packed up all of the presents for the children and drove out to the Guardería. After assembling all of the presents under the Christmas tree, the children and the volunteers participated in a game. Our Guardería coordinator had created a Christmas version of “pin the tail on the donkey”. The children spent about hours playing pin the carrot on the snowman, laughing whenever the carrot was placed incorrectly. Even the volunteers had trouble getting the carrot on the snowman!

After the game, several volunteers led the children in singing Christmas songs with the accompaniment of a flute and a guitar. Shortly after singing, Carmen and the women of the Guardería began handing out Christmas presents to all of the children. It was a special moment to see all of the excited faces of our Guardería children!

At the end of the evening, everyone settled down for dinner and the volunteers and Carmen handed out the food for the families to use for a Christmas dinner. After a delicious meal and a full afternoon of activities, the children left for home, their arms full of Christmas presents. Of course, every child wanted to take home the snowman to continue playing at home.

Additionally, Pop Wuj was able to buy basic, essential holiday food for the families of the Guardería. At the close of our lovely celebration, Carmen and the student volunteers passed out bags with these food items to all of the mothers of the children of the Guardería.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Lunch for los becados!

On the 14th of December the scholarship recipients and their families gathered at Pop Wuj to celebrate the close of the school year. Carmen, our social worker, gave a moving speech to all of the students about the importance of staying in school and how happy it made her to see the students persist and succeed in their education. The other partners of Pop Wuj echoed this sentiment in heartfelt speeches, encouraging and praising the scholarship students.

This year, we had five students graduate from secondary school. For what was and is a proud moment for these students, we had a small graduation ceremony. Every graduate was given the opportunity to speak and every graduate spoke of their gratefulness of the scholarship program and proclaimed passionately to the other students the importance of staying in school.

However, the Scholarship lunch was not limited to eating and passing out gifts and school supplies. Pop Wuj also opened its clinic in order to give all of the children a basic physical and to attend to the needs of the scholarship recipients who needed more care.
Aside from basic care, the volunteers of the medical program put together a nutrition lesson for the children to demonstrate the role proper nutrition plays in every day life. This was a very important piece of our scholarship day as nutrition plays an invaluable role in brain development and the ability to focus in class.
At the end of the day, everyone gathered to receive school supplies for the upcoming year at school and to say their goodbyes to the partners of Pop Wuj. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Birthday Party at the Guardería

This week proved to be busy for the children of the Guardería. On the 21st of November, the children made invitations for their families for the Christmas party held at Pop Wuj. While making Christmas cards is not an educational tool, it gives the children an opportunity to invite the rest of their family to spend time together in a relaxing environment, hopefully strengthening family ties.

On the 24th of November, we had our final birthday party of the year! To help with the celebration, several volunteers made decorations and baked cakes.

Although, the decorations would not have been complete without the help of the children pasting balloons to the ceilings and walls.

Two of our student volunteers donated two piñatas and small gifts for the birthday children! Although it took a great amount of effort of all the children, the two piñatas were finally broken and the children were able to stuff their bags full of candy and peanuts.
After everyone was worn out of the excitement of the piñatas, the children retired into the Guardería for cake and gift opening. The birthday party was a success!

More than just Stoves: November 21-25

Safe stove project coordinator David Angel and local volunteer Doña Leticia led a small group of volunteers to start stage 2 of a stove in one Doña Florentina’s house. The volunteers were able to work together for every step of stage two to ensure a solid, working stove for Doña Florentina.

While the volunteers did spend the morning working, they also spent time interacting with the community around the house, most especially the children. The children, who were thrilled to have their photos taken, laughed and played with a few of the volunteers.

After the completion of stage 2, the women of the community generously provided the volunteers with a lunch of tamales and hot tea.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

November 14-18

For the past two weeks at La Guardería, we have had many exciting activities. One of our student volunteers, working with our Guardería Coordinator, planned a series of lessons in which the children were able to learn how our feelings can affect our reactions. The children learned that events that occur throughout the day might affect how they feel which can cause us to overreact or use methods of expression that they otherwise would not consider. Our student volunteer and our coordinator planned a few group exercises to make tangible these lessons. The children loved the activities. Even though the activities were meant to cause frustration, the children realized the stressor, took a moment to calm down, and completed the activity without shouting or becoming angry.

Another great addition to our student body was a group of Norwegian students that brought with them not only a significant donation, but also a love for the children at the Guardería. In a show of appreciation, the children prepared and presented four of their indigenous dances.

After the children completed their dances, the Norwegian students presented a piñata as a rare gift for all of the children at La Guardería. Even though all of the children were elated beyond words, the students were just as excited to bring a few moments of carefree fun and treats to the children of La Guardería.
The Piñata!