Its Andy Piper here from Cusco Peru!! I am currently into my second placement in Latitudes and am loving it. But first a description of what exactly I have been doing.
Villa Tunari, Bolivia
From early January to early February I was in Bolivia, at Inti Wara Yassi a wildlife refuge center for monkeys, pumas, other jungle creatures. I worked from 700-1800 everyday. It was hard work but I really enjoyed working there and the other volunteers just made the place even better. I worked with the monkeys in clinic, before they were put in Quarantine where they would band together before being released. It was great fun. We cleaned up monkey poo and the messes they made after being feed. We feed them many times a day so that meant lots of times to clean up. We also would let them out on runners( string or rope that are attached from one spot to another) so they could play with each other and enjoy the sunshine that was sometimes available. Then at the end of the day we would put them back in their cages so they could sleep for the night. It was awesome to work with them. Since I was the only guy in the clinic, this meant that I was the only one would could handle them. Most of the monkeys didn´t like girls so I was the lucky one who got to take them out of their cages and put them on the runners. This also meant I got to play with them. I would throw them up into the air(not too high) and then catch them. I got to scratch their bellies and fight with them. I am pretty sure they liked me because I didnt end up with any scratches or serious bites from any of them. At the end of my placement I was happy and sad to leave them. Happy because I would get to move onto a new place where I would learn about the culture and experience the foods and meet new people. Sad because I had come to know the quirks and characteristics of every monkey in the clinic. I knew their names and where they went and who they liked and mostly everything important you need to know about them. But know I am in Cusco and I am loving every moment here.
From Early February to now (21/03/12) I have been in Cusco, Peru. I am currently working with an organization called Aldea Yanapay(I encourage everyone to fully google who they are and what their mission is). It is an after school program in which we teach the kids (ages 6-16) the following: computers, reading, educational games, and art. We also help them with their homework if they have any. We also try to instill in the kids how to become better people in general. The culture down here is very different from the states. We want them to become a better parent, better uncle/aunt, a better member of society. We do this by bringing volunteers from all around the world to show them that there are different ways of living from what they sometimes see in their houses. Because sometimes most of these kids come from violent families. Anyways (sorry that was a long tangent but a necessary one) Ill tell you a little about what a day looks like in school.
We the volunteers arrive at school at 1450(2:50pm) and get ready for the arrival of the kids. From 1500 on the kids start to arrive. Sometimes by themselves, sometimes with a group. From 1500-1700 we have classes(Art, Computers, Games, Homework, and Reading). Then from 1700-1730 we have the famous Circle of Expression. In this circle we talk about anything and everything that is on the kids mind. The other day it was the situation of dogs to yesterday where we talked about the situation of the police. It can get quite serious in the circle so we have rules that help control the chaos if chaos does ensue (which it usually does). Then from 1730-1840 we have familia time. Each kid is divided into a familia. The current familias are Hormigas(4 year olds), Delfines(5-6), Tigres(7-8), Corazon, which is my familia (9), and then Sol (10-11). The older kids are also divided into familas. But I am just working with the younger ones(4-11). During familia time the kids learn about a variety of things. Last week it was countries in Europe. This week we are learning about values such as Love, Friendship, Responsibility, Ethics and Respect. (If anybody has any ideas on respect feel free to email me at email@example.com Thanks!!) Moving on after familia time the kids go back to their homes. Then the day ends and a new one begins. And we start all over again 🙂
The volunteers here are absolutely awesome, and all of them care about the kids. We also care about each other and look after one another. We are like one big family. I absolutely love it here.
I will keep you guys all updated on how things go!!
Thank you so much for reading (if in fact you read all of this!!)