Yesterday marked 5 weeks in Bolivia and we all agreed to celebrate by having a “lye-in” on Friday morning after having early starts every single day this week – FUN TIMES!  As you can tell by reading my blogs there’s been so many parts to this ICS – TEARFUND journey. Starting from arrival in Cochabamba, to Camp Kewina, then finally to our project city of Sucre. It’s been nothing short of amazing but frustrating at times. Thank God I am able to write about possibly the most productive week on project thus far, watch out this is going to be a long one!

We kick started Monday with a radio show, with the Bolivian volunteers taking on the lead role of explaining who we are and what we are doing here in Sucre. The lovely Freya gave a scientific explanation of the way in which HIV is transmitted in the body, whilst Ruth our team leader translated it into Espanol. It was a great radio show and we hope to do it regularly depending on our schedule.

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We left the Bolivians to take a break whilst we took on the task of renewing our visas so we headed to the immigration office! I expected to be in Immigration for the better part of the afternoon, after my few but distinct memories of the Nigerian embassy in London. HOWEVER, we were all in and out within 30 minutes and the best part of it, we received 2 additional stamps in our passports… WINNING!!

Tuesday was an interesting day at Mariposa. As explained in my previous blog post, Mariposa is a centre set up as a place of refuge for females who have been sexually abused. However recently it has extended its work to children aged 4-12 years old who are at risk of sexual abuse. We delivered a workshop to 60 children on friendship and so we kick started the session with a puppet show based on the story of the Good Samaritan – This was a HIT!

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We then separated the children into two groups based on their ages where I led the “good and bad words” activity. With minimal Spanish to my disposal I wrote a script the day before and learnt it for the session. This session was extremely important in teaching the young children the power of their words. And so we gave them pieces of paper with a mixture of encouraging and discouraging words and asked them to place it on the correct side of the board. The highlight for me was the game of pass the parcel ( a seemingly new game to Bolivians) where each layer had a sticky note with compliments which the children had to give to someone else in the room… who needs sweets when you have kind words!

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We finished the session with a time of creativity for the children to make bookmarks as a gift for their secret friend!

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Wednesday we arrived at the office super early, after securing a contact the previous day with a secondary school in Sucre. We had a brilliant start to the day with all 11 of team Patsida ready and pumped for their first HIV/AIDS workshop in Sucre. With spirits high and the Brits having learnt their segment of the workshop in Spanish we got taxis to the secondary school. Upon arrival we were greeted by the director and after 10 minutes of slight confusion we were taken to the classrooms. We split into 2 groups to deliver the workshops in separate classes simultaneously. With a mixture of confused, indifferent and excited faces we set up and delivered what we’d collectively consider as a brilliant first workshop. It wasn’t until we got back to the office that we were congratulated as we had successfully given a workshop to a school which is renowned in Sucre for the most “unruly” teenagers!

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Thursday was another fun filled day at Mariposa. With 3 team members down, it was just as well that there were less children than usual for the afternoon session. We delivered a workshop introducing the prevention of sexual abuse. We started off with an activity which required the children to distinguish which parts of their bodies were public and private. With two pictures of a boy and a girl on the wall, we gave them lollipop sticks with a red (private) and green (public)side to show when we pointed to different parts of the body. We taught them a song which was perfect for this session which they absolutely loved. Time was not on our side so we had to round up the session with the children drawing a door and a lock on a picture of knickers for the chicas and boxers for the chicos.

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In the evening we gate crashed (not really) the ex volunteers weekly meeting at the office and we used that time to pray collectively for different people and topics. We then spent the rest of the meeting discussing our final event. More details will be explained in another post.

The most exciting part of Thursday in my opinion was the new arrival of my Host families’ baby daughter!! Mother and Daughter are doing well 😀

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So as you can see we’ve had an extremely busy week so far and the weekend is only going to get busier. We are hoping that the rain will hold out till Monday so that we can deliver what we deem as a brilliantly planned and thought through family fun day in the park on Sunday.

Funny moment this week:

  • The secondary school students asked me where I was from to which I replied “Afro-Bolivian” (see below)….

    Can you see the resemblance?
    Can you see the resemblance?

…THEY BELIEVED ME?!?! I then told them I was from London, to which they did not believe me. .. Nevertheless we ended question time with a selfie.

(I’m still in the process of explaining to Bolivians that England is very diverse which is why black and white people can identify as British).

Till next time, Ciao!

#10WeeksWithTearfund Click this link to follow our group blog www.livinlavidasucre.wordpress.com

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