Happiness and chaos bloomed from the doors of Aldea Yanapay's first school, escuela Yanapitas. i was assigned my volunteer position assisting the students with their homework. Pilar was given the job in the games room in the other school, Yanapasos, with slightly older children with Jon, and Evan was placed in the Games room for the Yanapitas. I walked to the Biblioteca and and found a little girl awaiting my help with sounding out 4-6 letter spanish words. This she quickly finished, and i was sent outside to assist with outside playtime. There were children screaming and laughing, jumping rope and dancing, and throwing balls and plastic Sponge Bob figurines onto the roof and impatiently waiting for them to fall down. I was tired that day, and outside play was overwhelming, so I sat and and built a Command Fort out of Legos with some boys who were building space ships. A little girl came over and informed me that I was building my fort wrong and promptly tore it apart. Joaquin, a little Lego-playing boy, told her off, said that i had the best Command Fort and told her to apologize, and she did.
Circle time was announced, so we cleaned up our Legos and raced to the other school. in circle time, every child who wanted to speak raised their hand and spoke of news, or how heir weekend went. all of the new profes were told to stand up and be introduced, which included me. After our introduction, we sat down with our Familias and were given our theme. after a slight discussion on the theme, we marched over to our classroom. In the classroom we began reviewing the Hindu Gods from the last week. Their hyper-ness helped Elise and I decide to have them play for an hour before we talk about Indian Dancing. They made jig-saw puzzles, and played Twister until their time was up. we gave a simple explanation of Indian Dances appropriate for our five year old audience and then handed out the fortified milk. once everyone was finished, we formed a train at the door and walked to wash up our cups. the day was over and hell, was I tired.
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Aldea Yanapay is an organization that provides love and support to the poor and underprivileged children of Cusco. It strives to teach these children that poverty doesn't mean you can't be educated, successful or unhygienic. the project first caught my eye because of it's amount of art and exposure they give to the children. As I learned more, the more attractive it seemed.
the Project is supported by a restaurant of the same name, and a Hostel mostly for the Volunteers. But what really drives the project is Yuri, the director and founder's love and passion to giving these children the option to change the life they've been given.
weekly, the school is given a theme for the "familias" to work on and present at the end of the week. the youngest familia are theHormigas, at four years old, and continues with Delfins, Tigres, Cielos, Uvas, Corazones, y Sols. Usually the theme is from another culture and on Fridays they present what they've learned in front of the school.
In my experience, the project has been morally fulfilling. The children are full of joy when they walk into the school. But when i learn of their home lives, my heart breaks. i had a 4yr old girl break into hysterics in fear of her parents two days in a row. she choked out that her parents would beat her if she didn't finish her homework. Another boy arrived with a deep purple splotch under his right eye. But I've heard the children laugh, seen them smile, and it amazes me that someone would dare lay a violent hand on them. It fills my heart with such warmth when a child runs up to me and gives me a hug and a kiss with pure joy emanating from them. Hearing their laughter daily reminds me how precious this world is.