When we returned to Iquitos after Christmas vacation and infield, I was itching to get back to work, take on new responsibilities, and get some real challenges. After asking one of the leaders in if there was anything we can help with, we were told that, sure, we can plan a six week program for the youngest kids that meet every morning from 9-12. I guess you should be careful what you wish for. :)
Since the majority of the kids at La Restinga are adolescents, it didn’t seem like too difficult of a task at first. Yet when we got started, it turned out to be quite the challenge. We went from having 3-5 regular kids everyday to a high of 30 kids a few days later! Though technically only 8-13 year olds should enter the group, many of the kids aren’t allowed to leave the house unless they bring their younger siblings... leaving us with an age span from 3-13 years old! Though Elin and I know enough Spanish to survive, keeping between 15-30 kids under control is quite a cross-cultural challenge. Especially because many of them have been raised on the street, and have barely had to follow a single rule in their lives. Thankfully, a traveling Argentinan woman has been with us this last week, which has been such a God-send. Plus, we've spent part every day at a workshop at a children's center last week, and we're hoping to develop a lasting collaboration with them.
Though the challenge was a little larger than I expected, this is exactly what I wanted. I feel exhausted and inspired and I'm looking forward too see how things go the next few weeks. And if you want to send some advice on how to establish group-rules for street kids (or some prayers!) my way, it would be greatly appreciated.. :)