Volunteer Experience: Claudia and Chris

IMG_7548Name: Claudia / Christian
Nationality: German
Age: 29

How did you find out about Clara Luna?  
workaway.com

What attracted you to working with Clara Luna?

A lot of different projects with children

What do you think your best skills are for being a volunteer?

Responsibility, creativity, experience with children and knowledge about social games

What is your current volunteer role with Clara Luna, briefly describe your typical day.

-teaching english (2 classes, twice a week)
– exercises with Ulessis (three times a week)
– help with Club de Ninos (twice a week
– turtle patrols (twice a week in the morning)

How long have you been volunteering with us? (eg. 3 weeks out of 6)

4 weeks

Have you volunteered before?
Where? A horse ranch in Costa Rica
How long? 2.5 weeks
What did you do? taking care of the horses, preparing them for tourists and riding
the horses that require more socialization
What did you like about that program to encourage you to volunteer again?

the variety of work and the amazing kids!
How does Clara Luna differ to the last volunteering program?

Clara Luna was much more work, but didn’t FEEL like work.
Clara Luna provided more contact with the locals in the community

Describe in 3 words what makes a good volunteer

flexibility, creativity, responsibility

What difference do you feel you have made so far?

I learned a lot about Ecuadorian culture, the language and how everything works here. We tried to give our input regarding the structural context and educational objectives of club de Ninos but the time was too short.

Did you speak Spanish prior to volunteering with Clara Luna? No, not really

Has your Spanish improved since volunteering with Clara Luna?

Yes, of course

Describe in 3 words your experience here at Clara Luna

Insightful, diverse, lovely

Volunteer Experience: Phil

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAName: Phil
Nationality: British
Age: 57

How did you find out about Clara Luna?  
Volunteer Latin America website

What attracted you to working with Clara Luna?

Paola!

What do you think your best skills are for being a volunteer?

Patience, willingness to take anything on

What is your current volunteer role with Clara Luna, briefly describe your typical day.

Physio with Ulises 3 times a week. Teaching English to various student 2 days a week, some Saturday mornings

How long have you been volunteering with us? (eg. 3 weeks out of 6)

9 weeks/9 weeks (We leave tomorrow)

Describe in 3 words what makes a good volunteer

Enthusiasm, goodwill, flexibility

What difference do you feel you have made so far?

Giving confidence to a few young people, carrying on physio work with Ulises, hopefully starting some young people on the path of learning English

Did you speak Spanish prior to volunteering with Clara Luna? No

Has your Spanish improved since volunteering with Clara Luna?

It could only improve! – immense progress

Describe in 3 words your experience here at Clara Luna

Fun Humbling wonderful

Volunteer Experience: Jane

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAName: Jane D
Nationality: British
Age: 55

How did you find out about Clara Luna?  
Volunteer Latin America website

What attracted you to working with Clara Luna?

The range of opportunities, Skype call with Paola, the location

What do you think your best skills are for being a volunteer?

Teaching experience, language skills, flexibility, willingness to learn

What is your current volunteer role with Clara Luna, briefly describe your typical day.

Teaching english, physio sessions 3 times a week, club de ninos, intercambio- there is no real typical day!

How long have you been volunteering with us? (eg. 3 weeks out of 6)

2 months

Describe in 3 words what makes a good volunteer

flexibility, openness, empathy

What difference do you feel you have made so far?

providing opportunities for students to progress both in confidence (personal development) and language skills

Did you speak Spanish prior to volunteering with Clara Luna? Yes

If Yes: Do you think it is important? If no:  Did you find it difficult?
It helps with non-english speakers, but it’s not essential

Has your Spanish improved since volunteering with Clara Luna?

Yes

Describe in 3 words your experience here at Clara Luna

Unforgettable Life-affirming Fulfilling

December at Clara Luna by Mary Moore

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The month of December was a whirl-wind here in Clara Luna.
December brought the strong sun that many volunteers were waiting for.. just in time for some of them to bid us farewell! Carolina (France), Paige (United States), Manuela (France), Lucy (Germany) all said “Adios” in December, and our poor new volunteer, Gus had to manage to help us pick up all the pieces!
Luckily for Gus (and everyone else), there was no shortage of parties here in Puerto Lopez in December. Manabî started off with “Inmaculada Conception” November 29th- December 8th: an entire carnival popped-up in the street over night complete with bouncy castles, zipper rides, and carnival games. Food vendors filled the air with their delicious smells while vendors of all other varieties filled the night with their offers booming through incredible sound systems. There were plenty of performances on the streets and stages set up for nights of cumbia dancing.IMG_8017 IMG_8120

Club de Niños took a particularly socially conscious turn with activities for the UN Day of Persons with Disabilities on December 3rd. The kids read the stories they had made about accepting and appreciating differences and played games that promoted inclusion. Human Rights Day came right after on December 10th and was marked by Clara Luna’s first ever Club de Niños youtube video (check it out!).
Then began the The Club de Niños Christmas preparation. The kids went straight to work making decorations for the Christmas tree and decking the halls with all kinds of holiday cheer (and even Christmas Carols!) . They made home-made Christmas gifts that were eventually shared amongst the group during our very own Santa Claus appearance!
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As for the Christmas for the Clara Luna volunteers- I don’t think that anyone was quite prepared for the intensity of Christmas preparations here in Puerto Lopez:In place of hunting for Christmas trees, we were re-painting and propping up our ‘ole faithful’ Charley-brown christmas twig.
While our friends were wrestling with crowds of shoppers, we were down and dirty making homemade Christmas gifts with the kids.
Instead of stuffing stockings for our families and friends, we were making a production line to wrap the Club de Niños gifts. in time for he special day 
Our sweet mothers and grandmothers were enthralled in their christmas baking, meanwhile we were preparing popcorn tree-trim and Oreo-pops.

The Clara Luna gift-giving was on Wednesday, December 17th and the kids were over-joyed to receive a quality gift for their hard work and attendance here in our programs. Books, coloured pencils, erasers, colouring books and many other goodies filled the bags of wide-eyed participants. Special props to Steven y Nayeli, who won an extra-special gift for being the Participants with the Best Attendance.
The December 19th Christmas celebration was a huge success in no small part to our volunteer team. Stations were set up with face-painting, balloon animals, bubbles and a photo station. Santa Claus made an appearance, distributed gifts, gave participants a sugar-coated oreo-pop and quickly sent them on their way home (he’s obviously a big hit with the parents…)
Puerto López Bacelona fans mustn’t have been very well behaved this year: Emelec took home the “campéon” title December 21st… but we won’t give that much air time on this blog..
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We said “Merry Christmas and See You Next Year!” to all of our English classes and closed the Clara Luna workshop for a much deserved 2 week Christmas break.
The Clara Luna volunteers had a very sweet (and very international) Christmas dinner on the balcony of the volunteer house before setting off to nurse their hot-glue gun machine burns and recharging their super-hero energies with a stiff regiment of delicious coconut drinks on sunny coastal beaches.

Merry Christmas and a Prosperous 2015!

November at Clara Luna by Kamila Berentowicz.

In November we had a full house. There were Jane & Phillip from England, Viviane & Mary from Canada, Manuela & Caroline from France, Paige from the USA, Kamila from Poland, and last but not least Christian, Claudia and Lucy from Germany. We were like happy sardines in a multicultural can 😉

We taught English classes to many groups: children and teens. We also had a special group of “Servicio Civil Cuidadano”, very motivated students who are currently unemployed and receive support from the Municipally of Puerto Lopez.
And of course we continued with “Club de Niños”, every Wednesday and Friday. We are so happy because the kids love to read. Every time we start our meetings with a short reading session in which children read individually. Sometimes we read together as well. Once we read “El pez Arcoiris” which kids liked a lot. Inspired by the story every kid made their own marine friend from a paper and we played some games like “fondo del mar”, to understand more how our little friends feel in their natural environment . Another time we discussed construction and recycling. We read a story called “Los tres cerditos” (which the kids know by heart but the wolf part is always so exciting to them J Chris and Claudia came up with a brilliant idea with spaghetti & marshmallow craft: the kids built a tower, car, doll, house and many other crazy things (and ate the leftover marshmallow, of course). The same day in which we were reincarnated as toys, with a little help of a Chris the Wizard and his magic stick.

Not to be overwhelmed by aquatic topics we also did some culture introduction at “Club de Niños”. Viviane told the kids about Canada, and Jane & Phillip about Great Britain. Soon we need to catch up with other countries 😉

Our favorite game in November at “Intercambio” was definitely “Taboo,” lead by Claudia and Jane. Always full of laughter and smiles. But in Clara Luna we not only practice languages, we also practice Yoga. Viviane was our instructor. She made a very active and relaxing contribution to Clara Luna’s community. Thank you, Viviane! 😉

In November volunteers of Clara Luna frequently vistied persons with different disabilities to practice physiotherapy and help them with their schoolwork.

We also helped Machalilla National Park by doing morning and night patrols in search of turtle’s nests as now it’s their nesting season and these majestic animals are in need of protection.

The weather was rather moody in November but somehow we made it! 😉

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