News from the Los Niños Front – February 2020 ProjectThis was a very different year from the Los Niños projects of the past. Due to extraneous circumstances, we were not able to bring any teachers from the USA and instead enlisted the talents and support of the Ecuadoran artists that we have known and worked with over the years. Angel, our resident dance instructor, attended again and was the pride of our group and the joy of the children. The children never missed dance class and often sang the familiar song that was played all week with great enthusiasm. This year we engaged the talents of Jorge as our theater instructor. He played theater games and taught skills to help the children feel more comfortable being the center of attention, which is often very difficult for some. He brought much laughter to the classroom experience! Lucia, the newest to our group, taught puppet making, using all recycled materials (plastic bottles, newspaper, glue, paint, yarn, fabric, and colored paper). Lucia and this art activity were so well loved by all – and that was before they even knew what was going to happen at the end of the week! Upon completion of the puppet making project, Lucia surprised the children, performing a play using puppets, written by Jorge, offering instruction about the value of kindness towards animals, the environment, and the importance of freedom to make good choices in life. It was the first time that these children attended a theatrical puppet show and they were delighted and enthralled. Even Hernan, the principal, was taken by the professional nature of the performance.
After viewing the performance, there was a discussion about the nature of the story and the children were then given an opportunity to participate in their own puppet show with their peers and their hand-made puppets. At first they were shy, but then it was hard to keep them from the stage.
The final day of the project was a lovely culmination of all the work of the 3 teachers and was a great success. The children were reluctant to leave and asked when we would return again.
In addition to the work of our volunteers, we engaged the Ubidia classroom teachers and asked all the children to write letters back to the US – to be sent to the children who had written letters during the Michener Museum Martin Luther King Family Day. Each classroom within both the lower and middle schools participated in writing letters so that we could return with them to the US. We also had the great joy of presenting over 100 pairs of shoes to the children, which had been donated by families at the Michener Museum event. The children were so grateful for all of the lovely shoes and proudly wore them the entire week. Thank you to the staff at the Michener Museum Art Education Center in Doylestown, PA who helped to put this event together in January 2020, and special thanks to Ruth, last year’s art teacher, who spearheaded the event and helped us get the 2019 children’s art work into the Art Education Center exhibit. We were very proud of and grateful for all their achievements.
As a special request, the principal of the school asked if we could help to replace the ceiling tiles on the children’s bathroom in the lower school. The tiles are broken and allow rain to get into the bathroom, flooding the bathroom and making it difficult to use and clean. We gladly assisted in the mission to improve the bathroom and have asked that when the school children’s parents complete the installation of the new ceiling tiles, they send us pictures of a new and drier bathroom. We will await the finale of that long-overlooked project.
Happy to help with repairs!
Overall, the 2020 project was very successful and we are grateful for all the contributions from many of our generous patrons. A special thanks to Jen and the Steel Soccer organization for always providing us with a new allotment of soccer balls to last for the next school year at both the lower and middle school. This year we were even able to provide Darwin, (an avid soccer player and fabulous vet tech from Ecuador who volunteers with our Los Peluditos projects), with size 3, 4 and 5 soccer balls – a total dream come true! Special thanks to many of the Los Peluditos volunteers who brought lots of children’s supplies for both projects and continue to support all of our combined efforts.
Thank you to Nancy who tirelessly worked throughout the year to make this year’s Intag project a success. My partner in mind, body and spirit, you are a wonder to behold!
Check out this short video highlighting the music: