Feliz Cumpleños a mi hermana, Lynn!!
Jazmin y Marita
Lots of news and developments the last few days. I just found out I will not be going to Pilcopata to volunteer in July and August. The volunteer coordinator just quit, for many many reasons, mostly based around how the organization is being run and how the money is being spent. As with so many things in Peru, it always comes down to money, and it seems the woman in charge is not behaving as a professional NGO and a legitimate non-profit. And the organization is no longer going to be sending volunteers to the jungle but will be focusing on their other project.
I also just learned that I did not win the Travelocity grant for an Amazon scientific cruise, which I had hoped to go on. But that is OK because it conflicted with the Amazon River Raft Race that I will be going on. And I plan to reapply for the grant again. In other Amazon news, it the Amazon has been declared (by the Geographic Society of Lima) to be the longest river in the world. With the discovery of its true source, it is 4,388 miles in length, and beats out the Nile by 242 miles.
At Yanapay, the one-on-one lessons with Clara are not going as well this week. One of the volunteers is doing elaborate face painting, so of course Clara wants to do this. And since a week of face painting is much more important than learning to read, that´s how it goes. I have been able, after ten minutes of chasing her down and persuasion, to bring her into the classroom and do 15 minutes of work. I made some worksheets to match the words with the pictures. She has yet to learn what the words mean so I want to keep this up, but it is difficult to continue making it entertaining and fun. But Sr. Tigre begged to do Clara´s worksheets. I couldn´t refuse a kid who WANTS to do homework, so he eagerly did a set of them as well.
I also meet with a special needs teacher, who a Dutch speech therapist friend of mine happens to know, to try to find out what resources or path might be available for Clara. This teacher, Celeste, is an American who has lived here for four years, and has set up her own school for special needs kids. She does not work with the deaf, but has a colleague who does, and of course knows more about the system. Celeste has also worked with a young Peruvian deaf girl who has been well educated but is currently not working. She is going to try to bring this girl to Yanapay to meet with Clara and with Yuri and see if she can be set up as her teacher. The problem, of course, may be that there is no money to pay the teacher a small salary. I hope this works out, as it would be an ideal long term solution, but I´ll wait and see what happens.
Geography lessons at Yanapay have been going well, and I am paired with a wonderful Swedish volunteer this week. We need to come up with our weekly presentation today, which I can only hope will incorporate the chorus to “We Are the World!”
Davis (El Señor Tigre) reading with wonder and awe about planet Earth! (this is honestly not posed!)
Davis eagerly does my worksheet
Cecilia teaches geography with Jasmin and Zakhia