A Kid’s Perspective
If you had told me this time last year I would be going to school on the coast of Peru and that my parents would be volunteering at a charity, I would have thought you had gone mad.
My name is Amelia and I’m nine years old and I’m from Bristol in England. Although I am only young I am lucky enough to experience many things in a country very different from my own. I have come to South America for six months and am finding it an enjoyable, but surprising, experience. I arrived in Ecuador. Originally we were going to stay in Ecuador for six months but something went wrong with our visas. I’m very glad we didn’t stay because I really like Otra Cosa.
Otra Cosa is a lovely charity and everyone was very welcoming when we first arrived. In our first week we went on a project tour of all the different places where they help out and I picked my favourite. The special needs school came close to the top but my favourite had to be the kindergarten. All those tiny children staring at you with big brown eyes! The projects that I saw I don’t know very well. The ones I do know are the ones my parents work in, which are La Rampa and HELP English.
La Rampa is a skate park where kids from El Cerrito de la Virgen, a very poor area, can go after school. The houses are really different and there isn’t even running water. I really like it there because it means that children that don’t have any toys don’t get bored and they can have fun. Sometimes I go up there and I play with two really nice girls called Niurka and Cathy who are there nearly every day. They have a very cute little sister but she doesn’t really like anyone apart from them.
My mum is an English teacher with HELP English which is also really good. The government here said that English was compulsory but the schools didn’t have any teachers that actually spoke English. The government told the school that was their problem so Otra Cosa volunteers have come in to teach English to help out.
I go to the school where my mum teaches English, and my brother and sister are there too. It’s called Maria del Socorro. It is very different from school in England. They have blackboards instead of whiteboards, and certainly not electronic ones or things like that. It’s very noisy and there is a lot more copying off the board here than at home. All the children are really nice and helped me when I felt a bit lost at the beginning. They have lost interest in me now, but I was the centre of attention in the first few days. My teacher has been very kind, although sometimes he can get quite cross when the students don’t concentrate.
I have learned a lot of Spanish since I have been here, although I still can’t understand everything. I find that when the teacher is talking I can follow a lot of it, but when my friends come to talk to me I panic and usually miss what they are saying.
One of my favourite events of the week is the volunteer lunch. We meet on Friday and it’s a lovely time when volunteers meet up and talk. It’s quite fun meeting new people every week though it can be quite sad when people leave.
We are finishing here in a few days, and then we are going to Lima, Iquitos for a week, and then back to Ecuador to visit the Galapagos Islands before coming home. I am going to miss the good food, the friendly people and all my friends from school. I hope I remember Huanchaco, and Otra Cosa, for the rest of my life. Maybe one day when I’m older I’ll come back and be a volunteer…