July at Clara Luna

JULY “THE MADNESS IN BICYCLE”

In this month we were accompanied by Peter from the United States, Matthew, Hennie and Hanna from Germany, Eva from Spain.

In July, the children worked on stories with the theme of Diversity. We had our first “Fair Clara Luna” where there was a garage sale, reading activities, yoga for parents, a puppet show,“The Musicians of Bremen” prepared by children. There was a circus for children presented by the project Anay Pacha and a candy fair organized by the Club de Jóvenes (Youth Club) also a raffle of an almost new bicycle.

In cooperation with the Sustainable Development project, a workshop was done making toys with recycled material, where children reused discarded materials to protect the environment.

We celebrated with the Machalilla National Park its 38th anniversary, we marched in the parade with banners with messages of conservation and protection to the environment.

The Club de Jóvenes (Youth Club) made a bicycle trip to Los Frailes beach, Machalilla National Park area as a day of recreation.

In Cuentos en la Paza – Mobile Libraries, he also did the LA DIVERSIDAD tour, we were in Chone, in the Ricardo Abad Solórzano Elementary School in Mario Loor  Neighborhood and in 30 de Marzo Neighborhood in San Vicente with the children of Ludoteca Nueva Esperanza, in Pío Montúfar Refuge and María Auxiliadora Neighborhood in Bahía de Caráquez, and in Gabriela Mistral School in Tabuchila.

June at Clara Luna

JUNE “MONTH OF YELLOW, GREEN AND RED MONSTERS”.

We started the month with Caitlin and Peter from the United States, Mateo and Hennie from Germany, Bobbi and Tate from Canada.

The Children’s Club took off from stories of monsters, began with Maurice Sendak’s classic “Where the Wild Things Are”, then went to Anna Llenas’s “Monstruo de colores” to address the theme of emotions, “Ñac Ñac el monstruo come libros “by Emma Yarlet,” Montsruo Rosa “by Olga de Dios, and we could not miss the stories of Julia Donaldson,” The Gruffalo”and” The Daughter of the Gruffalo “. For the International Day of the Father “Yo mataré monstruos por ti. (I will kill monsters for you” of Santi Balmes)”, to tame the fears of the children.

The children did activities on the subject, like dancing the cumbia of the monster of the Canticuénticos.

In Once Upon a Time, “The Monsters” the children told the monstrous stories and they made a good presentation of the puppet show, “El Grúfalo”.

In the Language Exchange, we received a visit from Jipijapa Redemptio students, the students demonstrated their knowledge and command of English in their International Baccalaureate (IB) program.

The program Cuentos en la plaza – Mobile Libraries in the area of ​​the earthquake, made its monthly tour of Chone, in the school Ricardo Abad Solórzano in Mario Loor Neighborhood, and in 30 de Marzo Neighborhood, in María Auxiliadora Neighborhood in Bahía de Caráquez , Mauro Cedeño  Elementary School in Río Muchacho, the school Gabriela Mistral Elemantary School in Tabuchila, and Elías Cedeño Jerves  School in Canoa.

 

 

May at Clara Luna

MAY ANNIVERSARY

In May, Joanna from England, Peter from the United States, Matthew and Hennie from Germany, Bobbi and Tate from Canada were the volunteers who worked with us during the month.

Clara Luna was participated in the “Marathon of the Story, Quito a city that reads”. We moved to the Itchimbía Park, in the capital, with the group “Alégrate Puerto López” and we had a weekend full of stories, books, authors, launches of new children’s literature, such as “Matilda” Sozapato, “Luciano worm “of Santiago González, both of whom are Ecuadorian authors and illustrators.

Children’s Club, for International Migratory Bird Day, we read Fr. Eastman’s classic “Are You My Mother?” as well as International Mother’s Day.

We were invited by the National Park to take a tour of Los Frailes, to learn about the diversity of tropical dry forest birds.

Also by the Day of the Tree could not miss “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein, the poetic story that teaches us to value and to respect the nature that surrounds us.

Another book that was in the month’s repertoire was “Into the Sea” by Brenda Z. Guiberson, which deals with sea turtles and their life cycle, a nice story teaching about the importance of our reefs and marine life.

The boys at the Thursday Club, prepared fruit salad and read “The Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle, they also went for a walk on the beach.

In Once Upon a Time, we had simultaneous activities like: Tales in the square with the new collection of books for our library, children and parents read together and enjoyed the new books and, of course, the children read to the audience like every month.

The Puppet Show, for our sixth anniversary was a tribute to the sea turtle, “La Leyenda de la tortuga (The Legend of the Turtle)” presented by the children of the Ecological Club of Equilibrio Azul Foundation.

The program Cuentos en la plaza – Mobile libraries in the area of ​​the earthquake, made its tour of activities to: Chone, at Ricardo Abad Solórzano Elementary School on Mario Loor neighborhood and in 30 de Marzo neighborhood, Ludoteca Nueva Esperanza in San Vicente, Mario Cedeño School in Río Muchacho, Gabriela Mistral School in Tabuchila, the children read the stories, such as: “El árbol generoso (The Giving Tree)”, “Igor el pájaro que no sabía cantar” by Satoshi Kitamura and “Perrito panzón y otras historias” of the Ecuadorian author Ana Carlota González.

April at Clara Luna

April at Clara Luna by Hani Nasser

On Tuesday April 13, a group of us from Clara Luna went to the center of rehabilitation of marine fauna at the National Park of Machalilla. There we took part in releasing a rehabbed sea turtle back into the ocean. The center was so nice and it was wonderful to see turtles that I think are such amazing creatures. As told by the director of the center there, 87 turtles have been rescued, rehabilitated, and been released back into the ocean so far in the last four years since the establishment of this rehabilitation center. Most of the turtles that need rescuing are injured because of human activity in the ocean. Broken shells and cut off limbs from the propellers of boat engines or swallowed fish hooks and plastic bags make up most of the injuries that turtles are subjected to by our actions.  Yulexi, the turtle being released back into the ocean was brought in with a fish hook stuck in her throat. Yulexi was operated on and treated for a period of 8 months. While I was there, I felt like I was a part of something incredibly hopeful which is that there are people out there working to help creatures that we are blindly pushing into extinction. Unfortunately, we were told that this is the only center of rehabilitation for turtles in all of Ecuador, but at least there are some people that care and have saved 87 valuable lives. So please if you are in the Puerto Lopez or Machalilla area dedicates some time to visit the center and volunteer. You will not leave the place feeling disappointed but rather proud and accomplished because you would have been a part of helping, taking care of, and rescuing the incredible sea turtles.

World Book Day

On Friday April 21st, Clara Luna organized an event for the World Book Day. The event consisted of three different readings of books written by Oliver Jeffers. The books were: Perdido y encontrado, De vuelta a casa, and Como atrapar una estrella. There was also a play performed based on the book El incredible nino comelibros, along with a song sung by the kids (Twinkle, twinkle little star). Many parents and kids from Puerto Lopez attended the event, and everything went great. The atmosphere was magical and the kids preformed amazingly. At the end of the event hot chocolate and snacks were offered to all the attendees.

March at Clara Luna

Preparing for Erase Una Vez

I arrived to volunteer at Clara Luna just as the carnival was ending. At Clara Luna, there were already four volunteers staying there and they were preparing for an event called Erase Una Vez. This event consisted of a puppet show, storytelling, and an educational section about recycling. To prepare for the event, Claude and Joanne, a Canadian couple built a puppet stage from scratch. It looked really amazing as it was decorated with many types of colorful fish puppets. Claude and Joanne also practiced with the kids for the show. Paola, Clara Luna’s director, helped the kids with learning how to read the story that was going to be presented at the story telling event. Everyone worked hard and was really excited for the event that would take place on the 10 th of February.

The Turtle Rehabilitation Center Visit

On the 9 th of February, Paola, Adam, and I took the kids from the disabled club to the sea turtle rehabilitation center. While we were there, we learned about the dangers that the turtles were subjected to from humans and how we can protect them. The kids were very happy to see the turtles swimming around in the pools, and they had a lot of fun.

Erase Una Vez

The anticipated event was finally here, and many kids showed up with their parents. The story telling took place first. The kids that read the story were so cute, and everyone enjoyed their reading and took many pictures and videos. Then, Simone, the art and dance teacher, taught the parents about recycling. Finally, the puppet show was on!! All the kids and their parents sat down on the outside patio and the show started. The kids manipulating the puppets and the ones reading did very well as everyone watching was very entertained. After the show was over, everyone clapped really hard and they all seemed to be very impressed. Some of the parents offered hot chocolate and snacks for all the attendees. Yey that was so much fun!!!!!!

The Trip to the North of Ecuador

On the 18 th of March, Paola, her son Joseph, his friend Benjamin, a new volunteer (Hani), and I headed to the north of Ecuador to do some work with the communities that were affected by the earthquake of April 2016. We had prepared a puppet show, storytelling, and an art activity for the kids in four communities (San Vicente, Rio Muchacho, Tabuchila, and Bahila). It was a very long weekend full of travel but I had an amazing time interacting with the kids there and making them happy. It was an eye opening experience to see how the people there are living in hardship after the earthquake. These communities need a lot of help and I was very proud to be a part of this effort organized by Clara Luna.

GLOW Camp

This camp was lead by the Peace Corps volunteer, Devin, who has been working with Clara Luna for awhile now. Together 45 girls came together, 15 from Puerto Lopez from our youth group, for a week of education and women’s empowerment. We held various sessions about sexual education, gender, and leadership and during our free time watched movies (She’s the man and Moana), did yoga, played games, swam in the pool, visited the beach, and more. The week was an absolute success and a wonderful week for the girls. They are surely some of the next women role models in Puerto Lopez and Ecuador.

World Water Day

On Wednesday March 22 nd , Clara Luna organized a trip to Los Frailes Beach for World Water Day. We went there with the kids, some parents, and guides from the Machalilla National Park. At the beach, the kids were taught about conserving water, keeping the beaches clean, and protecting the water on our planet. The kids had a lot of fun running around in the water at the beautiful Los Frailes Beach.

Surf Club

On Thursday March 23 rd , we took the kids to the beach for some surfing lessons. Some of the kids surfed with the teachers and others played in the sea and enjoyed the beautiful day.

 

February at Clara Luna

Carnival ends with cheer as electricity is restored to Puerto Lopez. Despite the few blips in electricity,the events of the holiday did not seem to diminish all that much. The crowds, from all over Ecuador and beyond, came to, what we now consider “our” town, to enjoy the beautiful beach and warm weather.

Puerto Lopez did not disappoint. As children scampered back and forth with spray cans of foam and squirt guns, giggling gleefully, and parents lazily basked in the shade watching the waves crash, I came to realize just how fortunate I have been to indulge in the infectious atmosphere of Puerto Lopez for nearly two months.

Beyond Carnival, February has been a busy month. It began with an ‘Erase Una Vez,’ our big monthly event, for the children and their parents. Students showed off their fantastic reading skills to smiling families filming and photographing their children with cellphones. The event culminated in a puppet show put on by the children, followed by snacks and congratulations. Awards were also given to those students with the best attendance records. Stay tuned for March’s Erase Una Vez, our fellow volunteers, Claude and Joanna, have been working tirelessly on preparing a main event that will surely receive an offer from Disney or some other major motion picture company.

Clara Luna also hosted a number of organizations in the surrounding area, all with the goal on helping children in their communities. The workshop, which lasted several days, allowed these organizations to meet, many for the first time. The leaders of the organizations shared lessons learned and together thought through problems that they all face in their respective communities. I expect workshops, such as this one, will continue and create a large impact in the region for helping to advance the wonderful missions of these organizations.

The day to day life in Puerto Lopez has also kept us busy. English classes continue, and our younger students have shown improvements in vocabulary, which has been fun to watch (no longer do they just say “I am happy” when asked how they are!). Our older students, already with a strong foundation in English, have been working hard on fixing grammatical errors. Turtle patrols have yielded few results for Lyvia and I, but Claude and Joanna have found live turtles on three separate occasions since their arrival in January. With just two weeks left in Puerto Lopez, we will keep our fingers crossed for a baby turtle sighting. Wish us luck!

Chao,

Andy

January at Clara Luna

After the Christmas and New Year holidays,  the activities return on January 10th with the English courses for the Rabbits and the Butterflies levels, and a little later for the Tigers. The “Language exchange” returned as well, which was welcomed warmly by the new volunteers, whom have little knowledge of Spanish. “Club de Ninos” is very popular and the attendance is growing every week. We had 38 kids participate in the “Pirate” theme activity. They all made pirate’s hats, eyes patches and participated in a treasure hunt.  The monthly themes varies based on the books they are reading. The past month the kids have made a lion’s head mask, a big birthday cake,  and a bird in a nest. During club de niños they also play outside for a game or two. All this, of course,  after 30 minutes of reading. The new “Club de Jovenes” is having a lot of success.  About 20 teenagers meet at Clara Luna every Saturday morning. “Cuentas in la Plaza” happens every two weeks.  Many children and families playing in the park are interested and come to read a book or two.

For the first time Puerto Lopez had the “Feria Algarroba” from January 21-22 on the “malecon” or boardwalk. Clara Luna had a stand and offered different activities for the kids,  such as reading, face painting, a puppet show, and storytelling by Paola and some of the kids.  Valeria and Arturo, friends of Clara Luna, entertained the children with songs.

The last week of January,  Paola and three volunteers went to visit 3 villages touched by earthquakes last April. This is a visit that Clara Luna has committed to doing monthly since the earthquake. The children had a rare occasion to read,  draw, hear storytelling and watch a puppet show named “La Gallinita Roja” played by the volunteers.  The children appreciated the show and laughed a lot when the curtain accidentally play fell down revealing all of the puppets and actors.  This incident could be used again for the next shows,  it’s a guaranteed success for laughs.

Here we are , January is over and we are going into February with thrilling programs and busier than ever!

We are also kicking off 2017 with a new fundraising campaign that will be held year round. If you love the programs we put on for kids and want to continue supporting Clara Luna, here is a way! A few dollars can go a long way here in Puerto Lopez. Donate here.
Written by Johanne and Claude, volunteers from Canada.
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December at Clara Luna

The month of December was a very exciting one all centering around one event, our holiday party. Two weeks before, kids started preparing decorations for the party during kids club after our normal reading activities. Some parents of the kids met to make secret santa gifts out of recycled materials. And during English classes, the kids practiced some carols in English to sing during the party. The party was on the 22nd of December, where all the children who partake in our activities in Clara Luna were invited to attend with their parents. During the party we told a Christmas story, sang Christmas carols, did a secret santa gift exchange between parents, had a video and snacks, and most importantly had a special visitor, Santa, who gave out small gifts to each child. We had a wonderful end to 2016  and are looking forward to 2017 at Clara Luna!         15697747_1405814766108810_4402715655992308659_n 15697708_1405812776109009_8733672733705641046_n 15672881_1405812406109046_4180286814004396603_n 15672494_1405812609442359_2909221658467266386_n 15665621_1405814689442151_567936070982534476_n 15622292_1405812539442366_4419248812002001400_n 15589641_1405814042775549_3953367451799410320_n 15589553_1405812569442363_907069927526497424_n 15193527_1405813026108984_1480059739767849451_n

November at Clara Luna

In November, there were three girls volunteering at Clara Luna: Tatiana from Belgium, Lisa from France, and Sara from Germany. The experience at Clara Luna was unforgettable, we met such amazing people from the foundation and also from Puerto Lopez. Something really nice here is that you won’t be bored, there are so many different things to do. Apart from the regular programs that we have enjoyed, such as Club de Niños and English classes, we did several special activities this month:

As Paola and the volunteers do once a month, we went up to the north, where the earthquake hit few villages. It was pretty special because “Foundation Futuro” organized for the first time in their village of San Vicente “El Festival del Juego”. This event applied a french concept called “Ludotheque”, providing toys, playgrounds and reading areas. We spent the afternoon sharing the books and stories we had brought with us with local kids and families.

The next day, we went to Tabuchila, a community around Canoa. Many children moved from their places to participate at the activities we proposed (crafts, reading stories). We finished this beautiful day by presenting a Puppet Show that we had prepared before coming called “La Ratita Presumida”! It was a great moment to share with these kids. We will remember all their cutest smiles !!

The following week we prepared with the kids of Club de Niños a special event called “Erase una vez…”. This event took place on Friday evening, when the parents joined their kids after Club de Niños. Three of the kids read books they had been practicing to the audience, and for each reader another kid helped to show the pictures of the respective books. Another highlight of this evening was the puppet play “La ratita presumida”, which the children performed for their parents. It was a really nice event, and the kids did a great job!

Besides the activities at Clara Luna, we continued to help the Book Bus project. With Arturo, the person in charge for the project in Puerto Lopez, we visited schools in the surroundings, bringing books with us to read with the students. At the same time, we specifically supported students which had shown to have reading difficulties in the earlier examinations. We trained with the kids individually to increase their literacy level, by practicing to read single letters, syllables, and words, respectively. We like this project a lot, and hope it will continue for a long time! If you want to have an impression of the project, we recommend you to watch one of the videos on youtube.

 

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reading  activity in Tabuchila
Tabuchila - making "quitapensares"
Tabuchila – making “quitapesares”
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“Erase una vez…” – reading of Ramón preocupón
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“Erase una vez…” – puppet play by the kids!
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Book Bus – reading activity in one of the local schools
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Book Bus – telling a story
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Book Bus – improving literacy on an individual basis

October at Clara Luna

The month of October was very busy at Clara Luna with the month starting with only 2 volunteers, Geni and myself from Australia. Needless to say the fun never ended. In Club de Niños we did crafts of bears, chickens, elephants, sunflowers and frogs. Especially for Halloween and Día de los Muertos we made some beautiful lanky skeletons. In English different ages learnt a variety of topics with the youngest ones learning all about “Our World” and the oldest ones concentrating on the present perfect tense. On the third weekend of October we travelled up north to Bahia, San Vicente and Canoa to do activities with the kids affected by the earthquake. This eye opening experience included visiting a tent city where kids are still living under tarps 6 months after the earthquake. Shortly after this weekend, 3 new volunteers came to join; Tatiana from Belgium, Sara from Germany and Lisa from France. With the extra volunteers, everything ran smoothly, with a new set up coming to Club de Niños where half played games in the backyard while the others did crafts, then swapped. Near the end of the month, we also had our monthly event at Clara Luna where kids are invited to participate with their families. This month we had a soccer tournament (Las Olimpiadas) which was a huge success. We had four teams of children, one of teenagers, and two for parents. Each child received a recycled art medal at the conclusion of the tournament. As a big family we went out for Paella with volunteers from Equilibrio Azul. Likewise we learnt salsa at Victor Hugo with Lisa leading the show and dancing with the instructor. We also had the opportunity to work with The Book Bus, where we visited local schools to read books, run activities and test the literacy levels of kids of different ages.

By Xanthia Dubler

 

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“Las Olimpiadas” – Team Mantarray
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“Las Olimpiadas” – during one of the matches
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“Las Olimpiadas” – group picture with medals
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Reading with kids affected by the earthquake
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Game at Club de Niños: “Frogs run loose in the backyard”
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Some of the crafts done at Club de Niños
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Me with two of the girls 🙂