Day 17 – One last fling in Peru

September 1, 2013

We woke up, had breakfast and packed our bags then hopped on the bus to the airport. The flight to Lima was an hour long. When we arrived in Lima we took a short bus ride to our hotel. We are staying in the “Hotel Dazzler”, which opened on August 12th, so it is brand new and looks really expensive. All the girls were jumping around excited to have mirrors, hot showers,  and hard wood floors.  We heard that Lorraine, Denise and Tamara were jumping for joy at the site of their room.  After we arrived we walked a couple of blocks to the supermarket to buy lunch and snacks. After that we spent the rest of the afternoon hanging around the hotel in our rooms or at the sauna until we went for dinner. On our way to dinner we enjoyed a nice leisurely walk along the ocean walkway, everyone was so excited to see the ocean, and we were all impressed with how beautiful Lima is-  we had been told that  Lima  was not as safe as Bolivia and could be quite dangerous. However, after about 20 minutes, we soon realized what a beautiful city Lima  is as we walked along the walkway with a superb view of the ocean.  We arrived at a mall and after a couple minutes of deciding and debating, we decided we would eat at TGI Friday’s.  We all enjoyed a nice, quick American style meal. We all packed up the leftovers of our huge portions and headed back to the hotel.   On our way home we took a slightly wrong turn and spent an extra fifty  minutes walking around the neighborhood, which was actually really nice because we got to see more of the city. We saw statues, parks, people playing guitar on the sidewalk and an  outdoor painting display at one of the squares.  Eventually we returned to the hotel, excited but sad to spend our last night in South America before we begin our journey home.

Andrew 

Hanging out  in the hotel

Hanging out in the hotel

 

View from the Mira Flores walkway

View from the Mira Flores walkway

 

View from the Mira Flores walkway

View from the Mira Flores walkway

 

View from our hotel room

View from our hotel room

 

View from our hotel room

View from our hotel room

 

Time for a small group photo before heading down to explore the ocean waterfront

Time for a small group photo before heading down to explore the ocean waterfront

 

Cole having some fun in the brisk water

Cole having some fun in the brisk water

 

A great trio

A great trio

 

Day 13 – The project is almost complete

August 28, 2013

This morning was Anna’s birthday, so we all woke up and gathered outside her room. We all went inside singing “Happy Birthday” to wake her up. We went down to the kitchen for breakfast.   Orlando cooked us a special breakfast for Anna’s birthday, bacon and scrambled eggs.  Then we ate one of the two birthday cakes that Anna got.  (Juan Carlos also bought a cake for Anna).  We all broke into our three groups to clean up and do our chores. Once everything was cleaned up we all went to the worksite.

At the worksite we put the flag pole in, finished leveling off the topsoil in the park area, fixed up the basketball net area, planted the rest of the flowers and trees, and poured lots of slabs of concrete. We are almost done our work on this project and the work is becoming less physical. After today we just need to finish the concrete and the last few miscellaneous things, like putting in the monument.

During recess, Denise helped the director of the school distribute over 130 hats to each one of the students and teachers at the center.  Denise’s mom knitted these hats and the children proudly played the rest of the recess wearing them.

 We came back to the scout’s hall to eat lunch quickly and then went back to the worksite. At 3:30 we finished our work for the day and came back to shower and hang out with the Cochabamba Interactors.

After dinner we took taxis to the men’s jail. There, we went inside and up to a room where the children that live in the prison were gathered. We entertained them with singing and dancing. We presented them with a soccer ball and some uniforms that we raised money for. We handed out their dinner and dessert. We were not allowed to take any pictures while in the prison.  We played with them for a little while after that. We left the prison and took taxis back to the scout hall. We talked and went to bed.

-Cole (and Israel)

DSCN1894 DSCN1897 DSCN1898 DSCN1899

Day 12 – Prison Play Group and an Ice Cream Date

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

Market vendors

Market vendors


Girls at the Amistad De Le Casa practicing a dance for a talent show

Girls at the Amistad De Le Casa practicing a dance for a talent show


Alyssa

Alyssa


Svetlana

Svetlana


Wren

Wren


Steven

Steven


Cole

Cole


Men’s  Prison-note the housing added on the top of the building

Men’s Prison-note the housing added on the top of the building


Little guy at the Amistad

Little guy at the Amistad

 

Day 11 – Visiting the Past.

August 26, 2013

 As usual everybody got up, got dressed and headed down for breakfast. Our breakfast was the usual, cereal and bread. After we were done eating we all split into the assigned groups to do morning chores. Soon, everybody was ready to head to work. Once we reached the worksite and we all got our gloves and hats on we had a group talk on what needed to be done. Some of the jobs included pouring and leveling concrete, leveling the ground and shoveling rocks.  We all welcomed the sun that came out today but we had to be very careful not to overheat. As always we all worked hard and quickly.

 About half an hour before our lunch break we found out that some of us would be going to the two orphanages (Amistad & Bolivian Children’s Mission) that the Interact group worked at last time they were in Bolivia. After a bit, the rest of us soon joined the others back at the Scout Hall. There we had a lunch of rice, potatoes, meatloaf, broccoli and juice.  After lunch, we had our quiet time. Everybody went off to take a nap, read, listen to music, watch a movie or play cards. When quiet time was over the Interactors who were going to the orphanages began to load bags and the Interactors who were going back to work started to get ready to leave.

                At the worksite we worked hard to get as much work done before it was time to head back. We leveled dirt, moved rocks and worked on the concrete. The people working on rocks got quite a surprise when they found a HUGE spider! Sooner than we expected, we were done and ready to leave.

                Some of us visited two past project sites of our Interact Club, here in Cochabamba.   While we were waiting for Geoff and Lorraine to run an errand,  a little boy about 3 sat outside and played games like peek-a-boo, and kept running around laughing and hiding from us. At one point the little boy looked up at Emma and said, “Te amo!” before running away.  When we arrived at Amistad, the project that the interact group worked on in 2009, everybody saw how the centre worked. The objective is to take in abandoned or orphaned children and give them a proper family life. They have 8 separate houses on the compound.  In each house there are 8-10 children and one mom (a woman who works to raise the kids). They also have a ‘Tia’ (an aunt) who helps sometimes. While we were there, we took a tour of the facility with the director. We were shown the gardens, library, offices, gym and were welcomed into 2 houses. In one house, they were having a birthday party for an American girl who had been volunteering there for three months. We were all surprised when they started to play “Chubby Bunny” and the mom offered us home-made ice cream.

After the tour we gave out some of our suitcases filled with clothes and took a picture,  Next we headed to the project they worked on in 2007, an orphanage inside one house. When we arrived, we were greeted by smiles and hugs. That was closely followed by grabbing our cameras and running around taking pictures. After about 20 minutes of kicking around a soccer ball, we gave them some suitcases and quilts. We also met the director and two German volunteers, who were staying at the orphanage. It was hard to say goodbye after having such a short time with the kids, but it was time to head back to the Hall for dinner. On the way back, Mikey, Lorraine and Geoff talked about that orphanage and their experiences there. They told us that that is the reason they do these trips and that every time they go back, it feels like home. Many of us hope to return to those orphanages, South Africa and the centre we are working at now.

                That night, when everybody was back, we all gathered with some of the local Rotarians and Rotaractors to watch a movie. The movie was a satire about two Bolivian criminals.  It was cool to see the actual towns and cities that were shown in the movie. While we all laughed a lot, we were shocked about how honest the movie was about the state of the country. After the movie there was a short presentation by one of the Cochabamba Roteract Presidents about the projects they are currently working on. Their projects include working with children who are visually impaired and their current project involves  teaching the kids to recycle and throw away garbage. After the presentation, we were all very tired and ready for bed.

 Goodnight Cochabamba

-Alyssa, Emma and Sophie

Kids at Cereco Center

Kids at Cereco Center

 

Spider in rock pile

Spider in rock pile

 

Cement pouring

Cement pouring

 

Group with clothing donation for orphanage

Group with clothing donation for orphanage

 

Lorraine with the cook from the orphanage

Lorraine with the cook from the orphanage

 

Lorraine and Geoff with orphanage bus

Lorraine and Geoff with orphanage bus

 

Mike with orphanage bus

Mike with orphanage bus

DSCN1855 (1)

Day 8 – A surprise outing!

August 22, 2013

Today was just one of our regular working days, to start.  Everyone who had been feeling sick said they were feeling better and we started the morning with our whole group working!  We were spreading dirt and hauling gravel, and a few boys were helping the three Bolivian workers make the concrete slabs for the “concha”.  At around 9, we were surprised with the fact that we would only be working until lunch today!  Half the group went back to the Scout’s hall to shower and eat, and the other half of the group went back a half hour later, and by around 1-1:30 we were ready to go.

 Our afternoon consisted of us getting to the top of the hill that holds “El Cristo”, or what our group calls “Big Jesus”, due to the fact that it is the biggest Jesus statue in the world!  About 10 of us decided to climb the steps up to the top, and the rest took a gondola up.  The ones who walked were all really happy they did since you could see your progress and the view was amazing, but the ones who took the gondola enjoyed the ride as well.  The view from the top was beautiful and Jesus really was BIG!  Unfortunately we could not go into the statue due to it being locked, but it was still really worthwhile to go up.  After we had all taken as many pictures as possible, everyone went back down either walking or taking the gondola. 

We then took cabs to a pretty little square and from the square we decided to walk and see the types of shops along the way. We even stopped for some ice cream. When we were done our treat we headed back to the Scout’s hall at 6:00.  After dinner, a group of athletes from the Special Olympics Cochabamba team came to play a variety of games with us.  There was tennis, bocci, soccer, and basketball, and we were all terrible at every game compared to them.   We were presented with certificates, and thanked for spending our evening with them.  Once they left around 8:30, many from our group were exhausted and decided to go to bed after our very eventful day.

 – Svetlana

Some of the group with some friends

Some of the group with some friends


Lorraine and a new friend on the gondola at El Christo

Lorraine and a new friend on the gondola at El Christo


El Christo

El Christo


The group in front of El Christo

What a great looking group


Winners of the Bocci tournnament

Winners of the Bocci tournnament


Time for some gymnastics at El Christo

Time for some gymnastics at El Christo


Wren, Sophie and Emma

Wren, Sophie and Emma


The warning posted at the bottom and top of gondola ride to El Christo

The warning posted at the bottom and top of gondola ride to El Christo


Happy girls taking the gondola instead of the stairs

Happy girls taking the gondola instead of the stairs


Time for ice cream

Time for ice cream

SAM_1105 SAM_1108 SAM_1125 SAM_1137 SAM_1144

Day 7 – Work hard/Play hard

August 22, 2013

Today when we all woke up and got out of the comfy little bunk beds we sleep in at the scout hall we went to breakfast and exchanged some stories.  We found out the dogs that live on the compound had gone into two of the rooms and startled a few people. One went into girls room and tried to snuggle up to Tamara.  The other one decided to go into the boys room and sniff Mike’s face. We then went and did our morning duties. We are broken into three groups and are assigned either the kitchen, sweeping the rooms and halls, or the bathrooms. No one likes doing the bathrooms… even though there is only one toilet that works in the girl’s bathroom. That causes problems when we wake up and all have to pee.

Once our chores are complete walk for about two minutes over to the site. One of our duties today was to take all of the rocks that were stacked behind the bleachers. These rocks were fairly large and it took the Interactors half a day to move them all to a pile to the side of the park, which is very impressive. When we got our new pile of dirt delivered today the men who delivered the dirt, were responsible for taking the rocks that we piled, away in their dump truck. It took them only 30 min to throw them all into their truck and drive away. Wow!   The work we have done so far is almost finished filling in behind the bleachers and making them stable.  Some of us would like to ask if we can grout (fill in cracks and holes) and possibly paint them.   Then we have to level out all the area beside playground equipment and place new dirt, and cement the rest of the basketball court. We finished transplanting trees after a run in with the angry gardener.

 Once classes at the center start the parents of the kids like to come over and to help us because they are required to have some volunteer hours for the center, it’s really nice to have them help because it’s a little easier to take a break and sit in the shade if you need to. Work day three is always one of the hardest; it’s when you start to feel sore before you start getting used to the hard work. Some of the moms come and helped us transfer dirt.   It is amazing to see them take empty cement sacks, pile a bunch of rocks and dirt onto  the bag and  carry the bags to the pile.  Many of these women were not all that young!  There are also two little boys who came to help us. These little boys work harder than we do when they come, and that’s VERY hard.  At the end of the day we welcomed a shower, that we all knew was going to be a cold shower. There seems to be only one shower that actually gives luke warm water and I haven’t a clue which one it is.

 Tonight the District Governor of Bolivia came along with all the Cochabamba Interact, Rotaract, and other Rotarians. After a nice ceremony where Geoff got a Rotary banner from the Rotary club of Cochabamba and all the Interactors were given buttons that said, “Yo Rotoract Tunari”, which means “We love Rotaract Tunari”. The night was fun and we played multiple games with all of the Rotaract and Interact clubs. We played a game that helped us introduce ourselves.  When a ball of yarn was thrown to you in the circle, you took hold of the string, said your first and last name, hobbie, and nickname. It created a spider web that linked our countries, and ourselves together. . Then we had a barbeque and the meat was definitely something that most Interactors from Canada were not used to, it was cow heart. To be honest it tasted just like normal meat and lots of the boys went back for more. Then we played another game called ‘werewolf’ which was kind of  like that murder mystery game where someone is it and they shake another person’s hand and squeeze it so they “die”, except it had witches,  werewolves and hunters and was really interesting. Once the night ended it was much later than when we usually go to bed. We all said our goodbyes and went to sleep.

– Ashlee

Geoff and the District Govenor

Geoff and the District Govenor

 

A group of students at Ceirco Center

A group of students at Ceirco Center

 

Raissa and Sophie

Raissa and Sophie cut 76 holes in this pipe because perforated pipe is too expensive

 

Steven working with the cement maker

Steven working with the cement maker

 

 A mom working with her baby on her back

A mom working with her baby on her back

 

Barbeque preparation

Barbeque preparation

 

Game with yarn making a web

Game with yarn making a web

 

Wren and Natasha making new friends

Wren and Natasha making new friends