After Colombia, we once again had the opportunity to help out with some volunteer work in the city of Cuzco, Peru. Aldea Yanapay is an organization to help children develop their skills after normal school hours. To participate is for free and one can help out in a multitude of ways. During our stay we were helping out a bit the marketing team and were teaching arts and other classes for the kids. Contrary to that what we experienced in Colombia, there are much more volunteers and much more children. The children are divided into certain age groups, thus it is easier to take care of the ones with similar abilities. The kids not only have a 2 hour class of arts, tutoring, library or games, but after they all gather in a circle where they can express their options in an organized way. What was amazing during these sessions is that a lot of kids have an attention span of a few seconds. If they were asked to repeat something that was just being said, very often they failed to do so. The lack of listening skills is not only present amongst the children, but we experienced amongst Peruvian adults as well. After the circle each age group has a special class where they learn about a certain topic of the week and prepare a little show for the Friday afternoon presentation. During our stay the topic was the creation legends of the Inca empire. The legend of the Ayar brothers and the legend of Mama Ocllo and Manco Capac. The kids were preparing various dresses, shields and coronas out of recycled material during art classes and used them in their theatrical performances. After all all the classes end, the kids get a mug of warm milk, and whenever there is budget for it, a pill of vitamins.
The organization is mostly funded by the Aldea Yanapay restaurant and the Hostal Magico. Anyone eating or staying at these places would support the project and thus the children. The founder of the school and the related facilities is Yuri, a guy from Cuzco, his passion for the project is captivating and inspiring for all volunteers who work there. We had a great time with the children of Yanapay and respect to all the volunteers who donate their time and effort to make something better. To our greatest surprise, just when I started to feel sad about not seeing any Hungarians since leaving the USA, we even bumped into Nerissa, another volunteer from Hungary. No wonder the children already knew about Budapest, the Danube, the goulash and the paprika:)
How you can help?
If you have the possibility, spend a few weeks in Cuzco by volunteering, believe me, it is worth the experience. If not, donations are always very welcome, visit the site of Aldea Yanapay for the details.