August 27, 2013
This morning we got to wake up a whole hour later at 7:30. After breakfast and chores we had a quick meeting, explaining what we would be doing today. One of our connections with the Cochabamba Rotary club, Pheobe, had arranged for us to spend some time with children from a school close to the prisons. All the children in the school have a parent in the jail and most of them sleep there at night as well. Unfortunately our group was too large to all go at once, so we were split into two groups. One group would go in the morning while the other one went to finish up projects at the work site, in the afternoon the groups would switch. Once instructions were given and groups were split up the group going to work first packed up and headed out. During the morning this group worked on leveling out the ground under the playground, pulling weeds, cleaning up and pouring concrete.
The other group took taxis at 10:00 to the school and met up with Pheobe, before being introduced to the kids. All of the kids were very excited to see everyone. Unfortunately we were not aware that we were supposed to prepare songs and games. So after only a slight panic we pulled together, ‘ Itsy Bitsy Spider’,’ Hokey Pokey’ and ‘Wheels on the Bus’. After this the kids then sang songs to us with their classes, in Spanish. Before they went back to class we got a short amount of time to play with the kids. Many of the kids found older buddies which they clung to and played with. Everyone had a really good time even though Steven’s buddy nibbled his ear and Cole’s buddy slapped him across the face. After they all returned to class, some of the Interactors got to visit them there and continuing playing. Once we had left the school, Pheobe took us to go see a small store/ restaurant run by the women who have been released from prison. Many of us bought a few things and enjoyed seeing that the women have some form of rehabilitation. After we returned back to the scout hall in taxis, we met back up with the other group for lunch.
After lunch and dishes were done, one group went to the work site to finish the leveling and concrete work. The other group packed up our stuff and decided to walk the prison so we could see more of the city. We decided to walk through the market and many of us stopped to shop for a few minutes. When we arrived outside the school we still had to wait for Pheobe. So we walked around the square and looked at some woodworking projects made by the male prisoners. These were displayed and sold in the town square. As Pheobe had still not arrived we took time to visit the store with the crafts made by the female ex-prisoners. We sat in the square for a few more minutes until she arrived, an hour late. When we got into the school all the kids were in class so we broke up into which age groups we wanted to visit. The ones who visited older students got to hear stories about daily life, which were somewhat shocking and sad. Younger groups played, took pictures and did crafts. We left just as school was ending and as we started walking back we witnessed an anti-abortion protest. The rest of the walk back we watched street vendors, restaurants and daily Bolivian life go by.
We had an early dinner so that we could meet up with the Cochabamba Interactors and go out for ice cream. They picked us up at 6:00 and brought us to a restaurant about 20 minutes away. As there were not really enough vehicles to take all of us for ice cream, several Interactors sat in the open back of a truck while all 5 leaders shared the back seat. Drivers in Bolivia are crazy! One of the leaders complimented their 17 year old driver on how well maneuvered through the streets. He then informed us that he did not even have a driver’s license!! We were very lucky that the Interact group bought each of us a cheese empanada and cinnamon/milk flavoured ice cream. Afterwards we all walked to a nearby grocery store to buy lots of snacks including plenty of coca tea to bring back home. We all piled into taxis and headed back to the hall for a few quick card games and hopefully lots of sleep.
– Sophie and Emma