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 “.

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.

July at Clara Luna


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.

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.


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!



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