Nailed it!

Hey Everyone!

Well yet again, it looks like I will only be able to post once this month but let me tell you, ALL OF THE THINGS HAVE HAPPENED!

The last time I wrote, I was just finishing my Mid-service training and Mid-service medical and was finally back in Celica preparing for a two week vacation camp.

This was the first time I had ever held an event like this and the only advertising I did was just going around to different schools and telling the kids about it. The kids seemed really excited but in order to be realistic, I kept reminding myself of how terrible kid’s memories are so I wouldn’t be like…

what have i done

… if no one showed up.

I had been holding a Kid’s Club twice a week for several months and I usually had 10-15 kids at a time so I assumed that there would probably be the same amount for the vacation camp too. Well, on the first day of camp we had over 40 kids show up! I was seriously like…

in-the-zone.gif.pagespeed.ce.NLnFTcfdWs

But at the same time like…

escalated

 

We ended up running out of chairs, so after the first day we had to make the camp first come, first serve, which for Ecuadorians was like…

mind blown

Basically the entire structure (we thought about later) was totally against everything Ecuadorians are used to. There was no official sign-up, it was first come, first serve AND there were no certificates (Ecuadorians LOVE certificates!). I’m sure that confused A LOT of parents, but fortunately everyone adapted to the structure without any problems.

Also, fortunately for me, I had asked 2 other volunteers to come and help me with the camp so I had back-up! Without them I would have definitely been like…

eat

 

Throughout the entire week we had camp in the morning/afternoon and the kids were all elementary school age so it at some points it was definitely challenging, but overall very rewarding. During the first week we taught about self-esteem, biodiversity, English and several other topics.

We also had a chance to do arts and crafts activities! After observing in classrooms around Celica, I have noticed that art is a very different subject here. There is always a right and a wrong way to color things. Also, there is very minimal to no praise and a lot of negative feedback about the quality of their work (yes, they tell children their art is bad)…

life is hard high fives

 

So throughout camp we allowed the children to color and make art without restrictions and with A LOT of praise, it was definitely amazing to see them grow and lose inhibitions and not just copy one another. After all of those activities my heart was pretty much like…

thug-life

And the kids were pretty much like…

ron big deal

 

The volunteers that came to help also got to talk about the states that they’re from and let me tell you, the kids were like…

excite

They LOVED learning about where the other volunteers were from and all about the United States, it was so stinkin’ CUTE!

 

Soooooo after my first week of camp, I ended up catching a virus from one of the kids, lesson learned…

purell

I had a cough and fever for the entire weekend. I was pretty much like…

cameron-im-dying

After several days of this, I realized that I would not have the energy to continue a second week of camp. I talked to another volunteer that was supposed to be coming to help and she actually offered to run the entire camp for 2 days while I got back on my feet, just so I didn’t have to cancel it!

I gotta say, once I found out that news I was pretty much like…

lets do this

So the volunteer came all the way out here and was able to teach the kids about hand washing, teeth brushing, nutrition AND her state! This volunteer created such wonderful activities that at some points the children were actually like…

umad

I have never seen them as excited as they were when they were doing those activities… and we were talking about nutrition and hygiene! It was really AMAZING!

After the volunteer went back to site, I was in good enough shape to run the last two days of camp on my own. During that time, I got to teach them about Texas which definitely included bull riding and tornadoes! Needless to say the kids were like…

xctd

Camp has honestly been the most rewarding experience of my Peace Corps service thus far. Not only were we able to teach important information to the kids but we were also able to allow them to be creative and give them an experience that they will probably remember for the rest of their lives! I definitely feel like…

nailed it

 

 

So immediately after camp, I got to get on a bus and head to Quito for a meeting with the LGBTQ volunteer support group! I love this group of volunteers and we have more new members so it was great getting to know them and bond with this group of dedicated volunteers!

After a long 2 weeks with tons of kids and getting sick, that was definitely exactly what I needed!

Once I finally got back to Celica from everything that’s been happening these last few months, I took a few days off to relax and now I’m getting ready for HALLOWEEN!!!

I definitely feel like this…

Halloween-Costume

And a little bit like this…

Batman_Scared

 

Well, that’s all I have for now!

Hope everything is great in your part of the world!

Peace Out!