This week, Tuesday and Thursday, our group tackled a new project. Our challenge: entertaining kids for a couple hours. Rest easy friends, it was a job we all enjoyed and participated in with ease. These children ranged from the ages of three to fifteen, and there were about thirty in total. The majority of the children still attend the elementary school down the road from where we were staying, and the meetings each week were arranged by Waves of Hope as one of their community projects. The kids, full of energy and laughter, welcomed us into their circle with much anticipation. We were not the first to join them, and it was obvious that most of them are comfortable with foreigners. They delighted in talking with us, telling us their names and sharing their young lives. In most cases, the foreigners they meet do not speak Spanish, so it was a real treat for them, and for us.
On Tuesday we started off playing a bunch of group games, such as duck-duck-goose (pato-pato-ganso) and soccer (Colby and Lindsey braved the sun and heat), and drawing pictures (the rest of our group opted for the shade). Everyone shared Spanish songs and poems, and we even played the game of telephone (in Spanish, of course). Our fearless leader for the week, Ezequiel, is a native to the area and has accompanied us on all of our adventures including our time with the kids. With proficiency and patience he brought everyone together, making sure the kids listened and understood all of the games he suggested. He also made sure their pockets were full of small prizes at the end of the two hours, each of them taking home stickers and pencils.
On Thursday water balloons we made creative use of water balloons. We started by playing a game in which a balloon full of water was placed on a chair in the middle of the circle and people from the group were chosen to sit on the chair until the balloon popped, splashing water everywhere. There was much anticipation, waiting to see who would be the next victim, crushing the balloon and wetting their pants. Everyone, adults and kids alike, couldn't help laughing at the spectacle and the looks of terror on each person's face as they prepared to sit. You'd be surprised how long the balloons withstood the weight of the kids and even the adults! Next a balloon toss ensued, and if you dropped the balloon (most likely soaking yourself in the process), you were out of the game. We concluded with ice cream for everyone, more prizes being handed out, and blowing bubbles outside.
I believe that all of us, as exhausted as we were from this physical week, truly enjoyed Kids Club. The children were so full of smiles and made us laugh. We felt loved and part of their lives for a few hours, a reward when working with such adorable children (in this case thirty of them!). They were patient with our varying levels of Spanish, and appreciated our attempts to converse. We got to be silly and show them that in spite of the ugly history between United States and Nicaragua (which they will someday learn if they don't yet understand), that many of the American people are kind and generous. It was wonderful seeing the kids quickly open up to us and accept us. Hopefully we inspired them with our presence, encouraging their own exploration of the world in years to come!
Dominique Del Calzo
May 20, 2016