First, you will be greeted at the street as your bus or car drives up. We accompany you up the stairs and our team will be on hand to greet you in our center. A short tour of the place ensues with explanation of each room, its role and its importance. Sewing and creative room, office and storage of tools and dry goods, reception area where thirty families per day await the arrival of food from Auto Mercado, Fruit and vegetable distribution area, kitchen where hot meals are prepared every day, bathroom, lunch room, english classroom, model Montessori classroom, library, elementary classroom. When we started the space was just one vast area dedicated to provide space for a church. Each of these areas is now furnished with donated items and lovingly cared for.
Next, we will sit together and I will share a bit about our spiral model of development and how it applies to our daily work. Lately I have also been sharing with volunteers about their experience with COVID and now, more school shootings.
Service Field Visit
After this, we take a break, making sure everyone has water and head off to our designated project site. During the walk, we greet people and talk to them so they can tell their stories. We also tell the stories of the houses because we know who has lived there from 25 years ago! Projects include a hands on light construction project like painting the walls of every house in a particular sector, or making bunk beds for families, or distributing plants or even setting a big blanket on the ground and doing art with a sector of children.
After about 2 hours, we will walk back to our main Montessori center where a delicious, healthy buffet meal will be waiting. We include a protein, green salad, fresh fruits, vegetables, rice, bread and a drink. As we are eating, the teen girls and grandmothers are setting up their crafts fair so we encourage everyone to wander around in order to see what souvenirs they would like to buy. These two groups run their own small business and the Foundation leaves the pricing and administration of the crafts up to their creators.
While you are wandering, we are reconfiguring the classroom into a theater venue and voila…when you finish with your purchases, you return to the “theater” and one of our five productions will be presented. These plays are true stories about issues we deal with either in La Carpio or the world. They are all interactive and the audience gets to become part of our story. We then have a round table discussion with the actors followed by a short debrief with me.
Finally, as a tribute and a thank you to all our guests, we present everyone with a symbolic gift made by one of our grandmothers.If you are here for longer we have projects that are more complex and more time to spend with the beautiful, open hearted children of one of our three centers.
Your bus will pick you up right in front of our building and, safe and sound, you will be on your way.
What is the purpose of your visit?
First, we are proud of what we have accomplished thanks to all of you. We want to share our experiences and show you how we are all so equal dealing with the same human difficulties. We love to talk to you…in spite of some language differences. However, the kids have gotten over their shyness of volunteers and eagerly await the chance to practice their English and to be part of your project – helping to paint walls, install bunkbeds, mix cement, paint a mural.
Second, our medium term goal is to educate the children with the reading of interesting and informative books.We want to promote a population of readers. Most of the kids don’t have computers in their houses but are adept at using their phone. However….research is beginning to show that too much tik tok may not be so good after all. We want the children to find joy and enchantment in the act of reading.Our final goal which is long term, is for you to go away with hope, joy and commitment to the cause of easing suffering and not being afraid to try. There are so many things you can do right in your own neighborhood/country to make life better.
Also, we want to show everyone that this neighborhood called La Carpio is not the drug infested, violent place that it is often portrayed as in the press. it is a place of families and community that shares their victories and sorrows and sticks together.
If you would like to program a visit – it is NOT a tour – please give us a call or click here for more information on our volunteer programs.