Last week was spent at the Casa Girasoles Ica and working in the local schools.
The Dearborn team was the first work team to stay at the site with the boys for a long period of time. Because of the newness of everything (the Casa Girasoles Ica was inaugurated on January 20th this year) and being the first work team to stay with the boys, it was a new experience for the boys and house parents, Augusto and Nancy.
I spent every moment I had not working or sleeping, playing and talking with the boys or Augusto & Nancy. Since I had been to Ica once before this summer and I was the Scripture Union worker, I didn’t seem to be one of the team, but rather an extension of the house parents. All of the 22 boys knew my name and would call me Señorita Kate. If Augusto or Nancy weren’t around, they turned to me. I helped with homework assignments, led them in prayers and song before meals, and helped Augusto & Nancy take care of 22 boys.
Schools in Peru run a little differently than they do in the US. Instead of going to school all day, there are two shifts of children and teachers. The boys at the Casa Girasoles all go to school in the afternoon, which means they start at 1pm and are in classes until 6pm. On Wednesday evening, I was able to go with Augusto to the school to pick up the boys from classes. It was fun to see where they go to school and to surprise them. On Friday, the entire team showed up to the school with Augusto to visit the classrooms of the boys. They had no clue that we were coming and later that night, they all were talking about their special visitors to school!
Today, July 6th, is Día del Maestro (Day of the Teacher) in Peru. Augusto, who treats each one of the boys as his own sons, invited the teachers at their school to the home on Saturday to thank and show them where the boys live. Since the house is painted white, and Augusto & Nancy wanted to make a good impression on the teachers, they decided on Friday morning to repaint all the walls (both inside and out) of the large house and do a super cleaning of everything. Now, you can imagine what needs to be done to a 4-person house to be cleaned, imagine what has to be done to a house with 22 boys! Needless to say, many of the older boys stayed up quite late into the night cleaning and repainting their home.
At the party for the teachers, we played games with the teachers and boys. A few days earlier we had made the hand print shirts with the Ica boys too, and they all wore them at the teacher party. We were also fortunate to have somebody donate about 60 Beanie Babies that we were able to pass out to the boys. They carried them around all morning and during the games, many gave me their treasured gifts to keep safe while they played in the grass.
Now, I am staying in Lima for a few days before heading to another jungle site Kimo.