March celebrated International Woman’s Day at Clara Luna
by Edward Feeley
Clara Luna planned many activities of Club de Niños during this month around the celebration of
courageous and influential women of the world. One source of inspiration and information about heroic
women was the book “ Cuentos de Buenas Noches para Niñas Rebeldes “ ( Good Night Tales for
Rebel Girls) by Elenea Favilli and Francesca Cavallo.
This book tells of the extraordinary lives of 100 brave women and, in addition, features the illustrations
of 60 artists from around the world.
Volunteers Marie, Maelle and Yesica read the stories of their lives and their struggles and then the
children illustrated their deeds on posters.
Some of the selected stories featured Wangari Maathai, a Kenyan biologist, environmentalist and the
first African woman to receive the Nobel Prize. She was known as the "Tree Woman" for having
promoted the planting of millions of trees.
Policarpa Salavarrieta was a hero and martyr in the Columbian fight for independence from Spain.
The story of Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head when she returned by bus from the school to
her home was of great interest to the children. The reason for the attack was clear: this 16-year-old girl
had dared to raise her voice to defend rights of girls to be educated. We staged a puppet show that told
the story of her fight for education and the bravery she exhibited.
Volunteers Ed, Dallas and Mercedes continued English lessons with their respective classes.
Once Upon a Time, a monthly program, spotlighted young readers, Flavio, Jaime and Harold, reading
short stories to an audience of parents and peers.
The Disabilities Club learned to make ceviche, cleaning the fish, chopping the ingredients and squeezing
the limes. Then we had a delicious meal. We also went surfing. Many of the participants ventured into
the surf for the first time and discovered that they loved it. Special thank you to Adam and the surf crew
from Ayampe. See the video by Brian Bautista.
March was a busy and fulfilling month at Clara Luna.
Charles Darwin’s Birthday in February at Clara Luna by Marina Morel
February began with the Popular Consultation in Clara Luna. Every member of Clara Luna got an ID card for the “Republic of Clara Luna” and voted yes or no on seven questions concerning future activities of the foundation. Would you like to meet an author? Yes!!
To celebrate Darwin’s birthday , we did activities about evolution. From the book “Grandmother Fish”, we did all together a big evolution tree. The volunteers, Ed, Nina, Yesica and Marina had fun preparing the activity.
With the help of a Peruvian art therapist, Luciana, the Children’s Club also did some theatre. We all became fishes, monkeys, dolphins…After that, we read a story about Darwin’s life and told it, then played it.
On a rainy day, after carnival, a motivated group went to clean the beach in an event sponsored by the Ministry of the Interior and Conservation International. Together we collected hundreds of pounds of trash. We all want to protect our planet and our cousin animals. Good job!
The Disabilities Club worked on the conservation theme, and they also went to surf twice on Thursdays! They were great afternoons, because of the beautiful sun and special help from Adam and the surf crew from Ayampe.
This month is also the beginning of Rainbow Days. With the kids between 10 and 12, we are doing activities to improve self-esteem. Now, we can say: ¡Yo soy! ¡Yo puedo! ¡Yo tengo! ¡Yo haré! ¡Yo creo! ……I am! I can! I have! I will! I believe!
The Youth Club talked about sexual education. It was a really interesting exchange with the teenagers. They know a lot of things, but they are sometimes confused because of what they can see on movies. On Saturday, after el club, Yesica teached us acro yoga on the beach. The kids loved that and they planed to do it each Tuesday.
To conclude this month, Joseph, Yesica, Paola and Marina went to the north with the Marin turtle story. In spite of the rain, the kids of San Vicente, Tabuchila, Canoa and Chone seemed very happy with the puppets show, the games and the handcrafted turtle.
February is a short month but we did a lot of interesting and funny things!
A Magical January at Clara Luna by Nina Unternährer
After the Christmas break we dove into the world of magic. The magic was amusing not only for the kids, but also for the volunteers. Ed, Lino, Paola, and Nina very enthusiastically practiced magic tricks, which they can presented to the kids. We became proper magicians and even amazed each other with our magical abilities.
The children from the “Club the de Niños” read by themselves, as usual, then Paola read them a related story about magic. Afterwards it was time for the show by our magicians. One after the other we showed our tricks; Lino had some card tricks, Ed had the magic two-dollar bill and the magic coins, Paola made the coins disappear and reappear and Nina had the magic flying bottle and the magic spoon. Wow, you should have seen the faces of the kids!!! Amazing! They were completely shocked, sitting there with their mouth wide open! We said, Mission Completed!
For our trip to the north we prepared the magical puppet show “El Mago de Oz” (The Wizard of Oz). For this we received help from the new volunteer Jade. Together we created the puppets, Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tinman, Lion, Wizard and two Witches, one Good and of course, one Bad. Our first performance was before the assembled “Club the Ninos” on a Friday afternoon. They really enjoyed the show. After the performance, every kid made his own magic wand which completed the magical ambience.
After this first show we were ready to go on tour to the kids in the earthquake region up north. Very early Saturday morning we left by bus. Our troupe managed to inspire and fascinate these kids with the puppet show and our simple magic tricks. They also became true magicians with their self-made magic wands. It was an unforgettable experience for all of us.
With the “Club de Jóvenes” we looked at the subject evolution. We explained evolution to them, showed them videos and got them to know Charles Darwin and his evolution theory inspired by the Galapagos Islands.
To finish our magical month, we got totally bedazzled by the laughs, smiles and energy of the disabled kids during the surf lesson, simply magical!!!
In early October we said goodbye to Szilvia, and we also began to plan for our next theme. Following up the success of the Clara Luna Olympics was a difficult task, but we decided that a theme like the Legends (Leyendas) of Ecuador would be appropriate for a month that includes Halloween and Dia De Los Muertos!
During the week of October 9, we enjoyed Club de Ninos on Wednesday by finishing up with one of our September books, La Manzana Roja, by painting trees and drawing animal characters and doing a red tempera paint apple print on the tree–messy, but the children had fun doing it! We also were treated on Friday after Club de Ninos to a teatro, Adan y Eva, performed by a traveling couple of actors from Switzerland. The play was very entertaining and the children were laughing their way through most of it. We said goodbye to Lucas on Friday and Laura on Saturday, and then the Clara Luna House got a bit more quiet for the rest of the month. On Saturday October 14 we worked with Club de Jovenes on a sensitive topic regarding understanding personal space and how having a good understanding of it links up to proper behavior in social and dating situations.
During the week of October 16 we presented two of our Leyendas to the students during Club de Ninos – La Mano Negra (on Wednesday) and Etsa–Leyenda de Oriente (on Friday). We did crafts for each of these legends–spiders made out of hand-prints for La Mano Negra and colorful construction paper birds to be used for decoration for the puppet show in the upcoming Erase Una Vez–for Etsa. On Saturday the Club de Jovenes learned about birds of Manabi Province and made some larger and more colorful birds to be used as set decoration for the puppet show.
During the week of October 23, we read the last two of our legends to the kids at Club de Ninos on Wednesday. We also did crafts for each of these legends, making white handprint ghosts for La Dama Tapada and colorful crepe paper cut-out calacas (skulls) for La Caja Ronca–to be used for decoration in the upcoming Erase Una Vez on Friday. The Erase Una Vez on Friday was a big success. We had readings of each of our legends by some of our Club de Ninos students, a reading of another leyenda, La Madre Goyita, by Valeria Saenz, and the puppet show Etsa was put on by four students from Casa Búho in Machalilla. Puppets were made by Trish, and our decorations looked fabulous! On Saturday, the Club de Jovenes students traveled to Ayampe with Ed, Alex, and Lobo to watch the release of some endangered Papagayo birds into the wild as part of our focus on learning about the native birds of Manabi province.
Also on Saturday, Paola, Joseph, Linda and Scott left early in the morning for a weekend-long visit to Canoa, Tabuchila, Río Muchacho, San Vicente, and Chone in northern Manabí province. We visited many locations in these areas and gave the kids a chance to read for a while, sing and dance along to Chumba La Cachumba, listen to a reading of each of the leyendas, and watch a presentation of the puppet show Etsa. As Szilvia said about the trip to the north last month, it was amazing to be able to make the children laugh and be happy!
We returned to Puerto Lopez late on Monday October 30 and awakened to find that another volunteer, Antonia, had arrived from Quito (and Germany!) by bus overnight–Happy Halloween! We enjoyed the day getting to know each other and ended it at a local restaurant watching the kids of the town go by in their costumes. October was a great month at Clara Luna, and we are looking forward to November and more leyendas!
OLYMPIC SEPTEMBER BY SZILVIA MESTER
We started the Olympics theme in Clara Luna in the Kids Club.
At first we talked about the antique Olympics, we played games, for example we tried the movements of discos. In the activity we made olive branch with them. Then we spoke about the modern Olympics; we watched recording of different sports. We made 5 taps, 5 colors of the olimpic circles, every volunteers represented their own country; Germany, Hungary, Spain, USA and of cours Ecuador.
From then we practiced a lot with the kids the different sports (running, relay, archery, long jump, football) at the beach. It was fantastic how the kids took the competition seriously. Of course we always said that the most important thing is to enjoy the game.
We worked a lot! Every day there was something to do. There was a very good volunteer team, it was great to work together.
In the end of september we went to North again; we made other theatre (I made the poppets I am so proud) and read other books and do activities. It was amazing again to make the children happy!
On Octuber 6th was the big finale; the children told tales, they did the puppet’s theatre; solemn announcement of results, prize-giving ceremony. It was a worthy closing of the subject.
The children were really happy and we also!
AUGUST OF THE HOSPITALITY
In August, we were joined in the activities by Guillaume from England and Melissa from Germany.
Club de Niños learned of hospitality, through the stories and activities they learned The Humanity Rainbow, the children of the world, their rights, the causes and consequences of the migration, and they discovered Human Values such as tolerance, empathy and brotherhood that explained hospitality.
The books we read were Derek Munson’s “Pastel para enemigos (Enemy Pie),” “Ígor el pájaro que no sabía cantar (Igor the Bird Who Did Not Sing)” by Satoshi Katamura, “Los días raros (The Rare Days)” by Maria Fernanda Heredia, ” La vida sin Santi (Life without Santi)” by Andrea Maturana, “La partida del soldado (The soldier departure)”of Javier de Isusi, and “La peor señora del mundo (The worst lady of the world)”of Francisco Hinojosa.
Also, the children prepared the puppet show, “La peor señora del mundo (The worst lady of the world)”, which was a resounding success in the monthly event “Érase una vez (Once upon a time)”.
In “Cuentos en la Plaza – Mobile Libraries”, we explored humor, tolerance and empathy. In our pink suitcase, were the books “Fernando el furioso (Fernando the furious)”, a child who destroys the entire planet in a tantrum when he loses control of his temper. The children then helped Fernando to rebuild the world. The book “Pastel para enemigos (Enemy Pie)”, taught us to resolve conflicts in a positive way. Another title that we read was “Hipopótamo peleón (Big Bully Hippo)”, a story that deals with importance of good manners and cordiality. Our puppet show was “La peor señora del mundo (The worst lady of the world)”, a story that illustrates a lesson on the importance of living together in harmony. We visited Ludoteca Nueva Esperanza in San Vicente, Pío Montufar Refuge in Bahía de Caráquez, Gabriela Mistral School in Tabuchila, the Ricardo Abad Solórzano School, Juntos Venceremos Special school and 30 de Mazo Neighborhood in Chone.
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.
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 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.
Name: Lucy Rogerson
How did you find out about Clara Luna?
What attracted you to working with Clara Luna?
The opportunities that Clara Luna gives to the kids and the volunteers.
What do you think your best skills are for being a volunteer?
Spontaneity, attentiveness, fluent English and team work skills
What is your current volunteer role with Clara Luna, briefly describe your typical day.
English classes on Tuesdays, Thursdays Spanish classes in the first couple of weeks Club de Niños on Wednesdays and Fridays. Helped with physiotherapy exercises with a little girl, Angie. Turtle Patrols
How long have you been volunteering with us? (eg. 3 weeks out of 6)
How long did you end up staying with us at Clara Luna?
Describe in 3 words what makes a good volunteer
Creative Spontaneous Open
Did you speak Spanish prior to volunteering with Clara Luna? un poco
If Yes: Do you think it is important? If no: Did you find it difficult?
It makes it easier to work with the little ones. About a 3/10 on a scale of necessity .
What was your level of Spanish when you began volunteering with us? 2/10
What was your level of Spanish when you left Clara Luna? 4/10
Describe in 3 words your experience here at Clara Luna
Eye-Opening, Fulfilling, Rewarding