Before Tree and I left the States nearly two years ago, we set an intention to volunteer along the way.
As I’ve said before in other posts, we wanted to volunteer for a couple of reasons:
1) To enmesh ourselves deeper into a community and really get to know the language, culture, history, hopes, dreams, and daily struggles of the people.
2) We realized that, as U.S. citizens, we were born into a world of privilege and abundance that was afforded us in part by exploiting the resources of developing countries, so we wanted to give back to some of those communities by offering our time, energy, and skills on a hands-on level.
That was our motivation when we founded an NGO called Huanchaco in Action whose principle goal is to find community solutions for community problems (ex. Dirty beach? Organize a beach clean-up). Our first project was opening La Casita de los Ninos, a Montessori-Waldorf style community school, offered on a sliding scale, where we aim to inspire a lifetime love of learning and civic action.
The school is going great. We’ve had a few curveballs thrown at us, but we’ve consistently been able to adapt, and really, that’s what it takes to survive.
The newest change, of course, will be my absence, but our friend Anne, who has been helping us from the beginning, has taken on some more responsibility to ease the transition.
Recently, she hosted an ‘Open House’ day so that children from the surrounding areas could come and experience the Montessori method, play, and eat a little cake.
Soon, she and Kelly will be hiring a permanent Director to run the school. Check out Huanchaco in Action’s Facebook page to get the latest updates.
My last board meeting with the girls! More than anything, I’m going to miss my dear friends. I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to work together with such dedicated ladies. Clockwise: me, Kelly, Edurne, and Anne!
The talented Anne also happens to be the creator of Wachaque, the super cool Huanchaco magazine, and she did a cover story on La Casita de los Ninos. That adorable little girl on the cover is our very own Catalina.
Before I left, a school in the neighborhood was closing its doors, and I was able to procure a bunch of supplies for a very good price. Yay!
The next day was like Christmas at La Casita.
Although we’re moving on, we feel great about what we’re leaving behind and the future these young children will bring to the world.
Thanks again to all of you who contributed to La Casita de Los Ninos. We absolutely could not have done it without you. In fact, the most rewarding part of this experience has been doing it with you. I’m amazed by what we can do together when we start to discuss our challenges, find ways to address them on a grassroots level, and most importantly, empower one another to take compassionate action.
I am so grateful to a part of something bigger than me, to be a part of ‘WE’.
I doubt this will be the last time that we get involved in some sort of community service. It was too fulfilling of an experience to not do again. But now we’re going to take a little break as we lead up to the arrival of our new baby in a few short weeks!
“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” – Aristotle