May at Clara Luna by Annabel Wiest

Translated by Abril Mendoza

Let’s have a look at what happened in May at Clara Luna, the month that marks a custom that we have now in our work, and where different projects are born. Our “live” shows on Facebook are popular, and they are becoming professional. We discovered some new features on the platform such as uploading videos, playing music, sharing the screen, uploading a YouTube link, and transmitting the live video. It makes our work more comprehensive and fuller. For example, during the live, we broadcasted videos of former volunteers sending their best wishes to the children. Unfortunately, we depend on the internet and technology. Sometimes due to the very slow and weak internet connection, the transmission is interrupted. We had to cancel a transmission and postpone it for the next day because the network had difficulties. Yet the children are always so motivated and punctual! We found a great dynamic between Paola, Paolo, her son, and myself. It is as if we were not in quarantine: every Monday, we have a meeting that begins a week that is full of stories and emotions.

What is happening during this quarantine? Officially, we have not been in quarantine for the beginning of May. The Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno has set up a red, yellow, and green traffic light system. Each color corresponds to a list of restrictions similar to those in quarantine. In Puerto López, the mayor Javier Pincay announced a red light for all of May. The curfew is still mandatory from 2 P.M. to 5 A.M. and, even though the restrictions are not so strict now, we should try to stay home. The restaurants are still closed, many started a delivery service, and that delighted me because I missed the “encebollado” (the typical Ecuadorian fish and onion soup). We patiently wait until good news arrives, and it seems the health situation has certainly calmed down. We nevertheless remain very vigilant. For example, before entering the market, we must always go through the disinfection tunnel and check our temperature.

We are gradually starting to see a little light in the approaching future. The government seems to be implementing educational innovations in the circumstances of the health crisis. The school is going to be organized remotely, with courses on the internet and television. Like in other countries, some schools are gradually reopening their doors with a restriction on the number of students present. We are thinking of organizing ourselves to provide academic support to Clara Luna’s children. The current idea is to have a small group of fewer than ten children and to follow the school program. Some of them do not always have internet or television access. For many parents, it is difficult to imagine sending their child to school during the ongoing world health crisis. We are currently investigating the different situations of families to be able to plan new activities. Clara Luna evolves and adapts in all situations! We will momentarily continue our kid’s club online!

Clara Luna usually participates in the “Festiartes,” it’s a festival in Puerto Lopez which takes place every May. Unfortunately, the event has been canceled for this year. Nonetheless, we are going to organize it on a live show on Facebook for two consecutive mornings. This event will take place at the end of June, and you will soon be informed of this year’s special festival.

See you soon.

April at Clara Luna by Paola Martínez

Translated by Abril Mendoza

Meanwhile, in times of a world pandemic.

In Clara Luna, there are four people in quarantine since March 16 for, about, 5 weeks we had dark days with sunshine. We were paralyzed and enclosed by the circumstances; we had weeks of uncertainty due to everything that was and is happening, with the nostalgia of having the house empty, honestly boring.

In the first two weeks of April, we concentrated on helping the children managed the quarantine, we worked on providing books at home, and we created a catalog of 50 narrative books from our library stock. The children selected a book from their houses, and we went out to make the corresponding deliveries so that the children could be distracted reading until “the panorama improves.” Furthermore, the children began to share videos of their readings with us.

On April 18, we surveyed parents to understand their situation during the health emergency, being able to identify their needs and a different way of carrying out activities with children. Consequently, we started a new way of working: the “Virtual Kids Club.” Through the social network Facebook, the most popular in our community, the children of the club could connect through the Facebook accounts of their parents. In April, we made three broadcasts, and we had the pleasant surprise of knowing that the children missed their Clara Luna routines, and we also missed them. The longing for shared moments invaded us.

The first virtual session was a debut, with the theme of “Earth Day,” for almost thirty minutes we were on the air. Time in which we read Oliver Jeffers through “Here we are” and his notes to live on the planet earth, a children’s audience that sent greetings, and messages on how to protect planet earth. A resounding success!

The second transmission we celebrated “Book Day,” the main activity was to read “A child of books” by Oliver Jeffers, and we presented the puppet play “The Incredible Book Eating Boy” by the same author. We made some recommendations on what children can do at home, and how to stop the spread of the virus through hand washing, social distancing. We explain the differences between isolation, quarantine, and estrangement.

The theme of the third transmission was “Ceibo Day,” a celebration of the icon tree in the province of Manabi, we read “Stuck” by Oliver Jeffers, the story of Floyd, a boy who tries to solve a problem by throwing things at him. We also share some ideas of friendly actions with planet earth that we can do at home.

Another activity that we had the opportunity to coordinate was the delivery of food kits for 40 families in the canton, a second-level subdivision of Ecuador. It was carried out thanks to friends and volunteers from Clara Luna Their donations, allowed us to reach families who are facing hard times as a result of the pandemic.

April surprised us! For Annabel, Paolo, and me, volunteers of the “quarantine team.” The situation has been a transformative experience, which has not only allowed us to see the positive side in times of adversity, but also to find a way to reinvent ourselves, creating another way to continue connecting with our community. We will continue to tell you more!

February at Clara Luna by Paola Martínez

February: Women in Science

Translated by Maddie Fox

For the month of February, Clara Luna’s group of volunteers was made up of Franka from Germany, Annabel from France, Maddie from the United States, and Paolo from Ecuador. As this month was dedicated to women in science, we read stories about curious, bright women and girls who sought to understand the “why” and the “how” of different phenomena. These important questions require time and dedication, and women who seek their answers are examples of determination and audacity for those who dream big. To illustrate these qualities, we used the books “Good Night Stories for Rebellious Girls 1 & 2” by Elena Favilli and Francesca Caballa, and “Girls are of Science” by Irene Civico and Sergio Parra Castillo.

Four women who made important contributions to physics, chemistry, and other sciences, passed through the spotlight of the Children’s Club. They included Marie Curie, a pioneer in the field of radioactivity and the first person to receive two Nobel Prizes in different specialties: physics and chemistry; primatologist Jane Goodall, who has dedicated her life to studying the behavior of chimpanzees in Africa, as well as to educating and promoting more sustainable lifestyles around the planet; Vera Rubin, the astronomer who saw what no one else saw: dark matter; and May-Brit Moser, the psychologist and neuroscientist who won a Nobel Prize for her discoveries of cells that form a positioning system, our own GPS, in the brain.

The children were very enthusiastic and engaged with the themes like dark matter, humans’ internal GPS to direct us through places, Goodall’s chimps, and Curie’s radioactivity. We wrapped up the month’s theme with a vote for “Clara Luna’s Woman of Science 2020”, and the winner was Jane Goodall with a strong lead over the others.

In pursuit of the ideal hairstyle in Clubcito, we experimented with many different hairdos by reading “What’s Wrong With My Hair?” by Satoshi Kitamura. The little ones had fun reading about emotions in “Monstor of Colors” by Ana Lleras and learned about friendship and sharing with Marcus Pfister’s “The Rainbow Fish”.

With our Club Lobitos, for disabled youth, we whipped up delicious treats in the kitchen, like crepes and banana cake. We also enjoyed the sun and sea, and went surfing with volunteers from Ayampe.

At our “Once Upon a Time” event, the Sharks Club, our club for teens, put on a puppet show about computer science, based off a story from the book “Goodnight Stories for Rebellious Girls”.

Likewise, the Sharks Club continued to prepare and organize Clara Luna’s public library. They worked diligently, with lots of enthusiasm to complete our project and open to the public so that we can share with the community the treasures that exist amongst these books.

February was a month full of ingenuity, leaving us with a learning experience on how lovely it is to share with others what we have, as well as what we know.

January at Clara Luna by Franka Sketta

We started the New Year with a lot of energy!

In January the team of Clara Luna consisted of the three volunteers Annabel from France, Maddie from the United States and Franka from Germany. We also had a lot of help from Paolo, the son of Paola.

Throughout the month the kids from “Club de niños” read many books from Dr. Seuss. They loved listening to the rhymes and completed them by themselves. The stories “Huevos Verdes con Jamón”, “Yoruga la Tortuga”, “Gertrudis Paz”, “El Gran Fanfarrón”, “Loráx” and others made us laugh and also learn how to be happy with ourselves.

We’re very excited to start again with the “Club de lobitos” in which we work with people with disabilities. Together, we all went to the beach of Puerto López, surfing and just enjoying the waves. It was a lot of fun!

A novelty is our “Clubcito” for the little ones with ages 3-5. It’s so great to see that even they are so enthusiastic about reading or listening to a volunteer reading. They experienced how “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” transformed into a beautiful butterfly which they later painted. By reading and painting “Elmer” the kids discovered diversity and friendship.

This month we went twice to San Jacinto, a district of Puerto López for our event “Cuentos en la plaza”. We brought the library to the kids of this district and also performed the muppet show “La princesa vestida con una bolsa de papel” again. It was amazing to see how fascinated the children were by watching the smart princess tricking the dangerous dragon. The second time we went there, we focused on the stories of Anthony Brown. Finally everyone drew his main character, the kind gorilla Willy.

As you can see, January was an exciting month for our Foundation and we are looking forward to all the adventures February will bring to Clara Luna.

December at Clara Luna by Paola Martínez

Time flies when you’re having fun!

I would like to share a brief summary of what we have accomplished in 2019, remembering that what we’ve done in the past allows us to envision what we want to do in the future. Goodbye 2019, hello 2020!

In numbers, our Children’s Club program held approximately 100 sessions in which the children grew familiar with reading and learned to love the adventures that books can bring. Our teaching English program held approximately 400 hours of English lessons for children, teenagers, and adults. We also had 50 sessions of language exchange, which is always a lot of fun!

In the first quarter, together with a group of volunteers from Solidarite Sud, Quebec, Canada, and the Saint Jesaja church in Wiesbaden, Germany, we opened two important spaces for our children: the English classroom and the first stage of the reading corner where children finally have spaces more conducive to learning and enjoying reading.

In the second quarter, we were very busy with lots of workshops and camps, starting with Rainbow Days, a program to strengthen self-esteem. We also held a club focused on gender which culminated in an intensive three day camp called “GLOW-BRO”, or Girls Leading Our World and Boys Respecting Others. Also, with our event “FestiArtes 2019, conexión Pachamama”, the kids and the community had the opportunity to participate in workshops, plays, and other cultural activities.

In the third phase of 2019 our family grew, registering 28 new kids along with their parents for the third annual “Escuela para padres” or “Parent’s School”. From July through September, the mothers (and hopefully soon we will have more fathers attending!) participated in workshops covering themes such as positive discipline, the rights of the child, types of abuse, good communication, values, self-care, and other topics that provide tools to help parents in the upbringing of their children.

In the final quarter of the year, Clara Luna’s group of teenagers started a project called “Biblioteca comunitaria”, or “Community Library”. This youth group, sensitized to the importance of promoting reading for understanding human, social, and cultural situations both in and outside the community, initiated the process of implementing the community library, which will open its doors in 2020.

We brought 2019 to a close with our Christmas celebration, in which 32 families and 60 kids accompanied us to end the year with a motivation to maintain the commitment to the Clara Luna community. And volunteers? We had approximately 30 welcomes and goodbyes to important allies, who contributed their time and knowledge to help Clara Luna continue to grow. Donations? To our friends and sponsors, our family that even at a distance stays connected to our cause and has supported us in our years of growth and learning: Thank you for your unconditional support! Without you, none of this would be possible.

Here’s to a truly successful year!

And what is to come in 2020?

So much that we can’t stop, won’t stop! Our kids will participate in projects like “Escuela de las Buenas Acciones” (School of Good Actions), followed by the opening of our community library in March.

Among the benefits of learning a new language is stimulation of the memory and improvement of attention. For these reasons we are preparing for the addition of more English classes, for the newly registered children at Clara Luna.

Our pilot plan, “Clubcito, reading with the little ones” challenges us to create special moments and fun read-alouds for the little ones in the house, who will enter the world of reading as early as possible. The clubcito was the most requested in 2019, now it’s starting!

2020 arrived with sunshine, a great time to go to the sea and enjoy the Surf Club. With our “ Club Lobitos”, who love surfing and water, we will reclaim our space for activities with the group of people with disabilities. We are missing them dearly!

Of course, “FestiArtes 2020, Diversity edition”, in collaboration with the collective “Alégrate Puerto López”, is bringing more cultural activities to Puerto López. Continuing to plant the seeds that our children will one day harvest, we do not stop until we know that our little ones have grown up in a motivating environment that makes them curious about learning.

Certainly, the fourth GLOW-BRO Gender Club and Camp, the fourth school for parents, the third edition of the Rainbow Days program and many more family reading events like “Érase una vez” and “Cuentos en la Plaza” will continue as it should in the rural areas of the province. This year, as allies of the School of Good Actions, and in line with the UN’s sustainable development goals, we are preparing the program “Mobile Libraries” as an educational tool for training for gender equality.

We will continue to go out to the park, to the sidewalk, to wherever the children are, bringing plenty of books!

In 2020, we want reading to be endless!

November at Clara Luna by Annabel Wiest

November in Clara Luna rhymes with Girl Power!
As you guessed, the month of November was dedicated to rebellious women who fought for their rights, who struggled to get justice, and who did everything they could to acheive their dreams.
During each « Club de Niños » we presented a woman or group of women considered « rebeldes ». We started with Frida Kalo as a transition with the mexican Día de los Muertos in October. And we made a world Tour, starting of course with Mexico, then Iran with Yusra Mardini, Pakistan talking about the incredible Malala Yousafzai, travelling through Italy and the Maria Montessori’s innovating system of education, and finishing this incredible journey with the Mirabal sisters in Dominican Republic. This tour allowed children to get to know women’s conditions throughout the world, see  that war is still running in some countries, that children can’t always go to school and understand that men and women must be equal and must have the same rights.
We got to know various famous rebel women. We learned together how was the political situation in Pakistan and Iran, we learned the meaning of the word « refugiado » and admired the strenght of Malala and Yusra, as examples of bravery. We made homemade medals that children offered to their mothers, to show how strong and brave they are. We made our own butterflies to celebrate the power of the Mirabal Sisters, also knonw as « Las  mariposas ».
The mothers also celebrated during November as we organized a photo session with accesories to remaind us that we’re mothers, but we are also women and proud to be, no one can’t blew this off, not even the wolf of the little red riding hood, because when you say « Dije No!» it’s no. We stand for the women’rights and against gender violence. We all worked on the children’s rights : to education, to be loved, to have fun, to alimentation, to have an identity, and so on. And we made an awesome video about it as a fun souvenir of the month and to celebrate el Día Internacional del niño.
Our event « Érase una vez » was also dedicated to women and we really wanted to work on gender violence. After searching for old socks to make the puppets, a group of 5 kids participated to the muppet show called « La princessa vestida con una bolsa de papel » where the Prince Ronaldo and the Princess Elizabeth are supposed to get married but a dragon burns their castle and sequestred the Prince. Elizabeth’s clothes got burned in the fire, she only finds paper bag to use as a dress. She’s really intelligent and succeeds in munipilating the dangerous dragon so that she can save Ronaldo. The only thing he says when he finally get free thanks to her is that she looks terrible in her paper dress, and doesn’t look like a real princess anymore. So Elizabeth reponds « Eres un TONTO » and they never got married. It’s was simply amazing to see how children reacted to this story because it was funny obviously, but it was also meaningful.

«One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world» Malala Yousafzai.

“One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.” ― Malala Yousafzai

October at Clara Luna by Margo Vanoverbeke

The month of October was an exciting month for the Clara Luna Foundation. Not only did our team consist of no less than five volunteers, we also had a lot of exciting activities to prepare and perform. This month our team consisted of Maddie, Annabel and Margo previously mentioned in the blog of September and we had the pleasure of having Matteo and Sarah from Switzerland helping us out for three weeks too. 

During the first weekend of October, we made a trip with the organisation to Canoa, San Vicente and Tabuchila respectively, were we performed ‘La Peor Señora del Mundo’, a muppet show starring the worst female on earth and her surroundings. This may not sound so fun, but it sure was. The children were all very excited to see how ‘La Peor Señora del Mundo’ is being tricked into being nice to everyone around her. The voice of this despicable woman was executed wonderfully by Annabel, who nailed the evil laugh and smoker’s cough and in this way added an extra value to the muppet show. I must add that pigeon’s ‘roo roo’, executed by myself, Margo, was also pretty spot-on. After the muppet show we would read a story together with the children of the different communities and perform an activity in relation to the story. 

 However, in the hometown of Clara Luna, Puerto López, our main focus of this month was on scary stories, more specifically old ecuadorian legends. Since the month of October is known for Halloween, which is followed by Día de los Muertos, we mainly worked around different ecuadorian legends such as ‘La Mano Negra’, ‘La Dama Tapada’, ‘Las Brujas Blancas’ and many more. With Halloween and Día de los Muertos in mind, we organised an event on the 25th of October, during our weekly Club de Niños. On this day three pairs of children read the ecuadorian legends for the other parents and children. Another group of children performed a muppet show called ‘Davilara, el Rey de la Bomba’, based on the (recently) award-winning book ‘A ritmo endiablado de bomba’ written by Marco Chamorro and Alice Bossut. Thanks to the help of the parents, the volunteers and Paola’s organisational skills the event turned out very successful. The children were all dressed up in their favourite Halloween costume and the parents had prepared some delicious hot chocolate milk and rosquitas, which is a traditional treat during similar Clara Luna events.   

Overall, October was an exciting, scary and educative month full of great moments between the children and the volunteers and Paola at the Clara Luna Foundation. I am already excited to read about what the month of November will bring for us. 

September at Clara Luna by Maddie Fox

We’re Back! King Kong and Climate Awareness at Clara Luna


After a yearlong hiatus, we at Clara Luna are excited to resume our blog posts!

This September we had the help of volunteers Pauline from France, Maddie from the United States, and Julius from Germany. Throughout the month we read Anthony Browne’s King Kong for the children’s club. The kids loved the craft activities that followed, which included making King Kong masks and colorful armbands. Before saying goodbye to Julius and Pauline, our group of volunteers carried out a decorative project for the children’s club. Julius built a shoe rack from scratch and Maddie and Pauline helped to paint it. Clara Luna’s entryway, once an endearing chaos of 30 pairs of shoes, now looks immaculate!

After Pauline and Julius left we gained two new volunteers, Margo from Belgium and Annabelle from France. Intercambio and English classes with adults carried on as usual. In our English club with children, we introduced the Japanese poetry style of haikus, first in Spanish then progressing to English. For our last children’s club of September, we went to the central park of Puerto López. Here activities were being held in honor of the last day of September 2019’s climate strike. The kids read books about the planet and our impact on it. After, they put on a theater performance in the park.

It was great to see the kids excited and engaged in a wide variety of subjects and activities this month. We plan to keep this energy going into October!


May at Clara Luna

May celebrated International Mother’s Day and 

the First Art and Cultural Festival in Puerto López

May was full of adventures and parties, with the volunteers: Richard and Sara from England, Sarah from Germany and Landy from Ecuador. After the Labor Day holiday, we restarted with more strength and desire to continue working. We started our annual School for Parents program, with sessions on children’s rights, advisable discipline and adolescence. The Children’s Club continued traveling with Jules Verne through the books, they embarked on the Nautilus in “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” and “From the Earth to the Moon”, two titles that blew the imagination of our little readers to the voice of “We all live in a yellow submarine …” Also, we had the first arts festival in Puerto López, FestiArtes 2018, there were: murals painted, a children’s reading space, workshops for children, craft fair and art and cultural activities. For a weekend, Puerto López enjoyed this wonderful family and recreational program.
In Cuentos en la Plaza- Mobile libraries, we were again in Chone, working on Mother’s Day activities with the Junior Chamber, this time we read “My Mom” ​​by Anthony Brown, who helped us discover how many wonderful and simple things about our mom and above all how much she loves us

April at Clara Luna

April celebrated World Book’s Day and Earth’s Day at Clara Luna

At Clara Luna we had a beautiful April. We had excellent assistance from the volunteers: Maëlle from France, Jana from Germany and Yesica from Colombia.

The Children’s Club had its registration of new members. We also welcomed all the children and parents who joined the Clara Luna Family during 2018.

During Children’s Club for the International the Day of Art we featured Willy, the most famous chimp of children’s literature. He taught us about classical works of art through Anthony Brown’s book “Willy’s Paintings”. Also, the children were introduced to the French painter Henri Matisse by making his famous “Cutouts” with their own individual interpretations.

For Earth Day, the children learned more about respect for nature as we once again we read “The Lorax” by Dr. Seuss. We searched for the lost “Once-ler “, reminding the little ones that through small and simple actions we can still protect our mother earth.

For the Day of the Book, the children of the club were captivated by Jules Verne’s “Journey to the Center of the Earth” embarking on an extraordinary trip that will take them to other adventures that are coming soon. We also watched a video of the Beatles song “Yellow Submarine” and learned the chorus in English.

The Teenager’s Club spent several sessions learning about and discussing Emotional Intelligence.

In Cuentos en la Plaza, the mobile libraries, had a visit to Chone, along with the Junior Chamber with whom we shared a very enjoyable reading session, a free exploration of books and the story “Ramon Concerned” by Anthony Brown. The children made the small cloth dolls called “ Quitapesares”, who, according to folklore, help solve your problems if they are placed under your pillow while you sleep. In Tabuchila and San Vicente we celebrated Earth Day with “The Lorax” and the puppet play,”Malala and the Magic Pencil “.