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 “.

March at Clara Luna

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.

February 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

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!!!

Nina showing her Magic tricks “Sim Salabim”
There is not place like home!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They got their Magic Sticks
Magical day with “glitter”, feather and tricks.

December at Clara Luna

December at CL by Lino Wiede

The beginning of December at Clara Luna was all about Human Rights. After coming back from the trip up north Paola, Antonia, and me, Lino, realized several ideas and projects to get the kids closer to the subject of Human Rights. We started off with creating a special “Clara Luna Human Rights Bill”. On a big wooden board the kids and their parents signed a declaration with their handprints in the colors of Ecuador. The declaration said: “Todos los seres humanos nacen libres e iguales en dignidad y derechos (All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights)”. The process of creating the declaration evoked emotions and a sensibility for the importance of maintaining these rights. We also introduced Club De Niños to “Imagine” by John Lennon. Next to listening and signing the song, Paola discovered a book that contained the original lyrics with a Spanish translation and images that illustrated the message of the song and the Human Rights topic. In the English classes Antonia and me made the Rabbits, Sharks, and Butterflies familiar with important vocabulary and phrases to understand and distinguish the contents of the many rights a human being uncompromisingly has. The United Nations Human Rights Declaration of 1948 served as orientation for us. This milestone document was also subject to the first Jovenes meeting of December. Antonia and me discussed all the 30 articles with the teenagers and watched a short documentary of how the declaration accrued. Afterwards we asked each of them to pick an individual right that was most important to them and let them explain why. At the end of the Human Rights period at Clara Luna we created a short film with the kids and teenagers that emphasized the most important aspects of what we learned in the past two weeks. You can watch the video on the Clara Luna YouTube channel as well as on the newsletter.

On the 15th Antonia left us, unfortunately. But she is going to be back to celebrate New Years with us before she ultimately leaves back home to Germany.

The following weekend the Jovenes were part of a project that was created by “Mingas por el mar”, an Ecuadorian organization that cleans up beaches on the entire coast of Ecuador and provides information about how trash, especially plastic, threatens the vitality of our oceans and its biodiversity in general. The teenagers, Paola, the Mingas por el mar team, other volunteers from Puerto Lopez, and me met in the morning on Saturday. We started off with a small presentation about what happens with trash after it is irresponsibly disposed into the ocean and how it ends up being part of every organism in the water in the shape of micro plastic particles. The moral of the presentation was to especially prevent the usage of unnecessary plastic products. Afterwards we gathered and walked along the beach of Puerto Lopez to collect trash. It was interesting and alarming at the same time: most of the trash were the “unnecessary plastic products” we were taught about – things like plastic bags, toothbrushes, cups, straws, and of course candy wrappings. At the end we sorted the trash to put it onto a wall at the beach front that we had painted blue before. When you walk by this work of art automatically catches the eye and makes one aware of the two problems we all have to faces and solve: how do we create less trash and how do we dispose it responsibly.

The last week was even more about creating. Christmas time was approaching and we had to prepare the annual Party at Clara Luna that took place on Wednesday, the 20th. During the English classes we practiced Christmas songs with the kids (Spanish and English ones) to perform them at the party. The Jovenes helped Paola to set up the stage and to bring chairs and tables downstairs and the mothers cleaned up the garden. The party started in late afternoon. All the people who are involved in the foundation came to celebrate. Adam, the patron of the disabilities group, came to play the guitar and dressed up as Papa Noel (Santa) – the kids made big eyes. The songs worked out well, it was fun and I hope everyone enjoyed it, but we still were far from being perfect. Gifts that Paola made were handed out to every kid and we let everyone write down a wish for the next year on a small piece of paper and collected them in a bottle. Afterwards we let a balloon fly to symbolize our wishes on their way up in the sky. Paola and the mothers prepared delicious food and hot chocolate – it was a success!

On Thursday, one day later, we had another Christmas party with the disabilities group and Adam. This one was way smaller but as good as the other one for sure and this time I got be Papa Noel – a very skinny version the kids found. That was the last event of this year. It was a long and eventful month and now we look forward to another beautiful and successful year at Clara Luna! Feliz año nuevo a todos!

 

Paintting the Mural.
Mural activity after the Beach Clean up.
Moms stampped their hands on the Rigths board.
We have the right to FREEDOM!
Reading “Cosas que pasan” by Isol.
Christmas Carols singing by the Kids.
Santa Claus visited Clara Luna.
The Kids Club gang.
Mothers in charge of the delicious banquet.
All the best wishes for New Year.
Presents time.
Salvador and Jaimito.
Santa’s helpers of this Christmas.
Kids excited with their Christmas gifts.
Christmas Violin Live Music.

November at Clara Luna

November started out very relaxed with a four day weekend “Day of the Dead Feriado” giving Paola, Joseph, Scott and Linda time to recharge after their trip to the north. The team was joined by the new volunteer Antonia from Germany. Saddly Scott and Linda left near the end of November after spending two months working at Clara Luna.

This month we continued with the legends theme in Club de Niños, adding “El Duende”, “Las Brujas Blancas” and “El Padre Almeida” to the list. Tying into that theme, the kids prepared the play “Davilara el Rey de la Bomba” for the monthly event “Érase Una Vez”.

The Jovenes spent this month learning all about local endangered animals like the Guacamayo Parrot and the various sea turtles coming to Puerto Lopez to nest each year.  They took a field trip to a nearby park to visit a project trying to increase the native Guacamayo population by releasing captive ones slowly into the wild.

The trip to the north was also a really fun experience. Paola Joseph and Antonia were joined by Lino, a new volunteer from Germany, for the trip. Together we visited various schools in Canoa, Tabuchila, San Vincente and Chone to read with the Kids and perform the theatre production “Davilara el Rey de la Bomba”. It was great to see the kids staring at the puppets with openmouths, and to see the wonder in their faces while telling the story. Reading with them was a special treat as well, because you could tell they really needed the practice made possible through the Clara Luna Foundation.

On our last day in Chone we where able to take part in the parade for the Dia Internacional de la Discapacidad.

Yarén sharing feathers.
Reading time in Río Muchacho.
Making rooster for the legend “Las Brujas Blancas”.
Victoria cutting worms.
Rosmery showing her Padre Almeida picture.
Team work. Alena and Lupita.
“Padre Almeida” craft activity.
Playing during Club de Niños.

A Legendary October

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!