San Jose is a district of Sucre, about a 10 minute walk from our house. We have been working there one day every week since we got here. It is run by two ladies from our church named Dorihna and Desiree from Brazil. They opened the centre to provide a place for children to go and do their homework as many do not have a quiet place to work at home. They also have a program for teaching bible stories and “life skills”. They teach basic first aid for example how to clean a cut, protecting from the sun and they ensure that the children brush their teeth at the centre. They do exercises to improve the children’s co-ordination – a bit like drills at army camp and simulate the children using brightly coloured toys and games.
We go and do arts and crafts based on the bible story of the week. Each week the children make something which they are always delighted to be able to take away with them. This week we were talking about the story of Joseph – when he became the government official in Egypt for the Pharaoh. It gave us a chance to talk a bit about history and what it was like in Egypt and how we can learn from the artefacts they left behind. So we made Egyptian necklaces using paper beads – rolling strips of paper around a pencil and sticking them and then threading them… see photos. Doing craft gives us a chance to talk to the children about the story, to ask them what they think, to teach them to share and most importantly give them lots of praise and encouragement which is sadly often missing from their lives.
The children in San Jose are all very affectionate and delighted to see us every week. We walk in and get swamped by hugs and kisses and shouts of proffi Roooof and Diiinnnooooo. ( Proffi is the word for professor which is what they call their teachers).