I don’t usually get to devote time to spend with large groups of children. The opportunity arose when our new partners on the Mexico Childcare Project invited us to the ludateca (toy library) where our volunteers will soon be based. Large groups of English speaking children are already a lot to handle, so the added aspect that all the kids only speak Spanish could make me go weak at the knees. However, I trudged on thinking this is a great time and place to use the limited Spanish I know and to get to know these little rascals.
My colleagues and I headed out on the first Thursday of our volunteering adventure, and we haven’t looked back since. It’s been a lot of fun and something to look forward to after spending hours in an office watching the sun go by and the taunting waving of the palm leaves out the window. We’ve all participated in countless numbers of Gangnam style dance remakes, dodgeball games, arts and crafts, homework help, duck duck gooses, and so many more activities where we learnt that the fuel tanks on excited children last way longer than those of fully grown adults. There are the wild kids, like little Andres tugging at my pant ties screaming at me for a different name “OTRO!” (apparently he didn’t like the one I gave him) and the twin girls always climbing on any adult that will let them. There are motivated children that are absorbed in their assignments during lesson time, and there are kids that tend to have a slight distraction problem as you watch their thoughts wandering about and their pencils barely moving. There are the shy kids that will give you a fleeting glance and join in on activities only when encouraged to do so by the ludatecarias, which brings me to another point…
The women that work at the ludateca are phenomenal! Some have been working there for years, some for months. However, it is easy to see why every last child is completely fond of every one of those ladies, or should I say heroes! They are devoted to creating a safe and creative learning environment. It is also very important to note that it is an environment where the kids are encouraged to openly bring up their problems for people to listen to and care about what they have to say. Not every child is lucky enough to have this kind of fostering atmosphere at home.
I am happy to have been able to be a part of it all.
Until next time, or in ludateca language – hasta luego!