Sunday, August 28, 2011

fundacion luz del mundo - open arms and laughing children

In the sweltering topical winter heat of santa cruz this afternoon, Philipe and I went to the Fundacion de Luz del Mundo, an organisation that helps out impoverished local children by providing a safe place to play, learn music and English, receive food and at times, have medical checkups. Today was special as the local rotary club had brought along doctors to administer medicines, as well as to educate the children for keeping their teeth sparkly. On both days (I also went along yesterday to meet and play with the children) - the first thing that literally jumped out was the open love that these children expressed. As soon as walking in they were open arms, kisses and hugs, and I can tell you that it is a very unique experience as a foreigner/traveller here. 

It is like a second home for some of the children; they can come here in the mornings 4 days a week before going to school at 2pm (school only goes in the afternoon) and learn to play with each other (the older girls and boys taking care and being little mamitas - "little mothers" to the younger children), and also prepare homework for school, and every saturday they have a proper lunch.

One of the most enjoyable things yesterday was the puppet show the older girls were putting on for the younger - when the little ones (about 3/4 y/o) were acting up and not paying attention, the older girls scolded them saying - "if you continue to be distracted, and not watch properly, we won't continue playing with you!". The age of children range from 3 to about 12; there's only really 2 adults (Gabriela, the lady who started the foundacion,, and her mother) that cook and watch the children - saturday usually have about 75 kids... I can't imagine cooking and managing that many kids!

So today after a rather stressful morning searching for rims (Philipe) and me for riding boots (got to check out my kick ass snow shoe like motorcross boots) we arrived at the fundacion - I had wanted to take the sidecar as I knew the children were really excited about seeing it, and meeting foreigners who actually rode motorbikes! When we arrived it was a bit of a inundation - kids asking to sit on the sidecar, trying on our helmets (they really looked like manga space invaders) and clambering around and chatting about where the gas was, saying that they also rode their father's bike and where we were going next.

After that attention shifted to the doctor and rotary club members; the children took tablets to prevent tummy worms, had checkups, received toothbrushs, did mouthwashs and then played some games with the winners receiving tubes of toothpaste and colouring in books and pencils.
Lining up to take medicines

"Pecho tierra!" - chests on the ground! One of the games...
This little boy spent quite some time studying his water cup (pic by Philipe)
Kermit took starring role in the puppet shows...(Pic by Philipe)

Gabriela is the woman who started and runs the fundacion (she is on the left, standing next to the sidecar)
It was an afternoon full of play and chattering and games - a very different pace and atmosphere to the more solitary travel on the bikes. Even though there is always a lot of interest from children when you stop in a town (especially from boys - of all ages with the sidecar) here especially the girls were really interested, and as we were all in a comfortable situation more clambering and play.

Philipe has summarised the funny and thoughtful moments of the day in numbers. I think it really puts into perspective both the reality of life here, as well as the trials and tribulations of maintaining a motorbike on the road. (yes 2 very different things but nicely combined in his post)

Oh as well of course there were many pictures from both days, and from yesterday a video of a song the girls were singing. It reminds me of the movie Children of Men - a world without the sound of children's voices is a world without pure and innocent joy.

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