Friday, July 3, 2009

Loving LIFE

Dear Chicago,

Volunteering today with L.I.F.E was AWESOME. Every day in the van on our way back home, the volunteers cannot stop raving about the experience. We get a high from frantically doing our best with the group of the day. Today presented a few curve balls - the power was shut off to the woman's home that serves as the Comedor, so we herded the kids and plastic tables into the courtyard. Fortunately the winter solstice has come and gone here, so we had JUST enough light to last until 6:15. The theme of the day was 'pirates' so worksheets teaching English and Spanish were followed by mazes and puzzles, drawing and making their treasure maps look old with the help of some tea bags to stain the paper and a lighter to burn the edges. Dad would have been proud as I reminded the 6 year olds over and over (in spanish) that only grownups can use fire and that burning paper was not a normal activity.

The kids were great today and I'm officially a familiar face. I melted when the girls all asked me to spell my name and made paintings for me. That being said, we had 20 kids running around in a courtyard fighting over paintbrushes and scissors. One little girl got punched in the face by her cousin (not exaggerating) - I've learned to discipline in Spanish! (Grandpa, you would have lots to see at these outings). Punching means no more painting! The time FLEW by as the kids made pirate eye patches, asked to learn more English words and tried to figure out what they could get away with. The four other volunteers and I formed a special bond as we were covered in paint, tea, spit and tears. It was an exhausting, great day out. I'm glad I took pictures as it may have been my last outing - the government has halted all gatherings in the Comedor kitchen lines due to the swine flu. I realize what I risk I present to the kids (and what a risk the neighborhood presents to me!) but I really hope we get back out again. I'm just starting to get the hang of it!

Diego and Adan the pirates:

The volunteers are great people from all over the world - my group out was 2 from London, 1 from Ireland and one from the states. I learn as much from them as I do the kids. I'm one of the only volunteers here taking class - the majority seem to have two jobs: volunteer by late afternoon, party by night. A volunteer from London moonlights as a club promoter and was rounding everyone up to go on a party bus to a club... it was a bit expensive, I was exhausted and had class... but I was so there. It was a great decision - my friend Carrie joined me for a very random and hilarious night. A street car trolley turned schoolbus picked the 30 of us up at a bar and we look a long bumpy ride around the city. The drinks were flowing, the lights flashing and the music blaring. It was great! We were dropped off at a club on the waterfront of Puerto Madero and danced the night away. Yes, this is a view of the bus:

Me and Carrie as Asia

It was SO much fun!! After the entire night out (SOMEHOW) I made it to class bright eyed and bushy tailed. Yawn! Can't wait for the weekend!


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