With almost three weeks under my belt, I’ve started to definitely feel more comfortable with the ebb and flow of my schedule. I work every day except Monday and Tuesday. The rest of the week consists of three 9am-7pm work days, and two days with programs only during the afternoon. So far, that’s been going quite well. Except I haven’t really had a totally normal week, as I was at CEDED all of last Monday and the week before was my first one here.
The flexibility has allowed me to have a lot of mornings free, during which I’ve enjoyed traveling about the markets of Villa El Salvador.
Every Sunday, there’s a flea market of sorts in the same area as the open air market where I buy my food. The street is lined with dozens and dozens of vendors selling all sorts of random things. It’s a great day full of bustling people and good food. Today I was feeling very festive and bought these delicious coconut cookie/macaroon-like treats. The vendor sold these as well as fried coconut meat. (I decided to buy these instead because I figured the coconut meat wouldn’t taste as good when not warm.) These are a coconut lover’s dream. AKA my dream. They’re basically flat macaroons with a freshness and sweet taste that are equally apparent. They’re fabulous. I can definitely see that buying these every sunday could (and most likely will) turn into a weekly ritual.
After going to the market, I headed up to CEDED for today’s Voices of Youth meeting. On Sundays, the meetings are 3-5pm. I was pretty excited for today’s, because of the activities that were planned. On Friday morning, Hannah, another volunteer Katherine and myself created the lesson plan. We started off with two “dynamicas” or ice breakers and one of them was one that I suggested! I learned as a part of LINK Crew training, which was a freshman orientation program that I participated in during my junior and senior years in high school. I was curious to see how the kids would like the games. While I wouldn’t be personally offended if they hadn’t liked it, it definitely wouldn’t have felt very good. But that didn’t end up happening. From the incredible amount of laughing and smiles, I think I can say that the name game was a success.
The main activity was Impromptu Baseball. It’s very well known in the Interact-world and most likely other leadership building platforms. Today, it was “Béisbol Improviso”. We split the group into three teams that each had about six or seven people. Essentially, someone is given a random word and he or she must speak about that topic for no more than a minute (we changed the rules a bit), and he or she cannot use filler words like “um”, “like”, take really long pauses or go off topic. The point values are pictured below and one point was taken off for each “mistake”. It was an exercise to try and get the kids to feel more comfortable with public speaking and presenting to their peers.
Below, is the final score and point values (kept by yours truly):
The kids absolutely loved this game. After someone spoke, Katherine would give them constructive criticism about how they did as well as how many points they got for their team. Everyone would get really quiet, in preparation to hear what she would say. At the end, everyone wanted to do one more round! Their enthusiasm was infectious and my heart was quite warmed.
One of the biggest challenges that I anticipated regarding my involvement with Voices of Youth, was a potential lack in cohesiveness of activities and lessons that I’ve learned about leadership, in conjunction with the goals and values of the kids in this community. That and my ability to communicate my ideas and beliefs clearly and obviously, in Spanish. Today, I got to tackle all of the above. The name game ice breaker and today’s main activity, resulted from me suggesting them earlier this week. I even lead the ice breaker! Today was a really positive step forward in my journey here. Today’s Voices meeting gave me reassurance, confidence and a lot of hope.
With all of this said, I feel like I will soon be able to dig a little deeper into my involvement here. I’m fully aware that every day won’t be like this one – invigorating and boosting of self-esteem. I know that some days will be difficult and things won’t turn out as I will have hoped. But as corny as this little thought has turned out to be, I really believe that it’s days like today that make the not-so-great days, not so bad after all.