Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Experiences as a GVI Volunteer in El Cocal

I had the opportunity to be involved for a 4 week period within the GVI project working with children aged between 2 and 10.

Children in general at this age need lots of attention but I think those of El Cocal even more in the sense that they may not receive enough at home. It is important to share the attention equally and not show preferences, even if it is human. It is also important to guide them in their education which implies consequences to their actions such as not letting them do whatever they want without limits or rules. This can make you come across as the bad guy at times but it is important that the children see us as not only friends but role models.

The children from our Kinder need constant attention and supervision, whereas the older children can play independently in small groups. Nevertheless, they all still want you to give them attention and be constantly interested in what they do and say.

At the beginning of my adventure, I met an adorable 2 year old called Jesus. He can't speak and communicates through gestures, sounds and squeaks. Yet over the course of a few weeks I noticed his evolution with the beginning of new words other than 'si or 'no' and this makes me smile. I get so excited when he tries to say a new word.

Derek is a child with lots of sparkling energy that requires a lot of affection which you give him wholeheartedly because he gives you a look that you can't say no to. Winer, 6 years old loves to color and paint, he is a quite child with a lot of intellectual capabilities and watching him play and learn is simply a pleasure.

These are my last few days on the project before I go home for Christmas, I will take home such fond memories and thinking about leaving the children brings a little tear to my eye. I hope I have been able to bring something lasting to these children over the last month....I might just have to come back and carry on where I left off!

Astrid Vanderhoydonck - Volunteer