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!