Last weekend was really hard for us all because of something that happened with one of the members of staff.
Around March time we had a meeting with Hugo (all the vols) to discuss some of the things we had concerns about and wanted to help with. The three main points were starting up some kind of English lessons or taller, issues with the education here and boys always copying and the emphasis not being on actual understanding of whats being taught, but mostly presentation, and abuse towards the kids - mainly concerning one member of staff. We just wanted to discuss with him what to do if we saw any kind of abuse, what his stance was on what is unacceptable, talk about how to prevent it, and to let him know he needed to pay more attention to it in the pabellons because there are unacceptable things going on with some of the staff. We decided not to name names because we didn't know what he knew and didn't want to get anyone fired on the spot, and asked him to bring it up in the next tutors meeting, which he did. During orientation there was some great information about how to discipline kids without violence, and we suggested that if he could, to provide the staff with more of that. Most of them come here with no training, so we were thinking give some information to work with, then see who continues mistreating the kids.
But then last week it went too far in Sonrisa when one of the hermanas shoved shit in a boys face for pooing his pants. Then in the face of four others because they'd done badly in their exams. Rosanna ended up leaving work in tears and we all got together to speak to Hugo and told him what happened. He asked for a list in writing of what things she had done in the past - washing the kids' mouths out with soap for talking too much, banging heads together, dragging kids around by their cheeks or ears, hitting and kicking the boys, smearing shit in their faces are just some of them - and said he'd speak to her in the next couple of days.
Rosanna went to check what he was going to do the next day, and there was talk of her staying on in Sonrisa or maybe moving up to San Antonio. At this point we were all so frustrated and sad for the boys. Almost all of them come here from an abusive family seeking somewhere safe and this is the treatment they recieve. These boys that we love and work for were being treated like this and we were all just spitting. If Hugo allowed this hermana to continue working, then he was saying it's okay to treat our children like this. I don't fucking think so. Laura went to have a word with the Hermana Mayor in San Antonio to warn her why that hermana might be swapped into San Antonio and she refused. She's been here for around 15 years now and I reckon Hugo's a little bit intimidated to her, but I think that was the final answer he needed. Luckily on Monday she was told to pack her bags and a replacement was sent into Sonrisa. We're just hoping this woman will be better with the kids, and not resort to violence.
Apart from this, things have been pretty normal, boring and nice. It's hard to describe to people back home what it's like here, but have definately realised we haven't got much time left :( and I started thinking about some of the things I'm going to miss. Maybe this will give you an idea of some of the small things that put a smile on my face:
- Being able to buy chifles for 50 centimos when I want a snack
- My little bed/den
- Peruvian style palo cleaning
- Trying not to laugh when all the pequeñitos are asleep in church
- Then resorting to holding the their nose when they really don't want to wake up
- Anderson, my biggest fan here (Aged 5) saying 'Good night beautiful sister Hannah' just about every night before bed
- Abram's laugh
- Jhover's smile
- Sitting in the roperia folding and listening to reggaeton on Okey radio - 91.9FM
- It being acceptable for me not to shave for six weeks
- Voldemort hiding on the back of every pack of cigs
- Living with Evie, Harriet and Rosanna, Americans downstairs and Christoff round the corner
- Bright and colourful peruvian patterns
- Daily sunshine
- Speaking and learning spanish
- Seeing my boys' faces and how excited they are about just being
- The sound of laughing and screaming
- Constantly eating carbs
- Elisa and Doris' alternative dancing in Alabanza
- Seeing my boys jump up and start dancing when a song they know comes on the radio
- Pollo a la braza
- Cheap, tasty, tropical fruit from the market
- Nothing ever having a fixed price and always trying to get a good deal
- Moto taxis
- Being able to go on a weekend trip to somewhere amazing for so cheap
- Discotecas that are open till dawn
- Sitting outside and watching the boys play
- The look on one of my boys' face when they've learned something new
- Arturo trilling Que Riccoooo at everything
- Chats in the tutoria with Anita and Elisa when all the boys are in bed
- Tiny people hugging my legs
- Boys running up to me with arms open for their hug and kiss before bed
- DVD lady and DVDs costing 60p
- The feeling that anything is possible when you're on a bus somewhere you've never been before
- Chatting away to other travellers
- Winkyface from San Antonio turning round in Church
- Paseos to see the chickens, horses and pigs at the farm
- Giggling when Father Sergio gets in a kerfuffle about us running through the prayer and having to do it again
- Sebastian's timid sweet smile
- When I'm feeling down and one of my boys comes up to me and says 'te queiro mucho hermana' out of nowhere
- Feeling so proud when my boys read a passage at the front of church or dance in front of an audience
- The excitement when you recieve a parcel
- Everything being little - little chairs, little toilets, little clothes, little socks to put on little feet
I could go on and on - the list is endless. In short, I'm really loving work at the moment. I do not want to leave. Don't even want to think about saying goodbye!
We've also been trying to take advantage of the culture, especially seen as we live in a capital city, and went to see a ballet/modern dance, a museum about the Shining Path terrorism that Peru suffered and a memorial that's been put up to honour the lives that were lost.
This week has been a short one because of extended salida so we're going to Huanchaco tonight! Can not wait!