3 months to properly prepare the mission
arch 22, 2018: I’m starting a Facebook page to reach as many people as possible and to share my new adventure. Then, I created a fundraising campaign, held a raffle… to raise some funds to help the centers in which I was going to work even more.
April 06, 2018: After contacting the press, an article was published in the newspaper. This article made it possible to reach some associations and companies that donated school equipment, football jerseys, stuffed animals, costumes, shampoos, footballs or pharmaceutical products (bandages, toothpastes…).
May 13, 2018: ut the missions, the countries, the cultures… a small meeting took place. It allowed me to understand the needs of the country I had chosen, the different things to know before leaving… This meeting was an opportunity to discuss the topics of health, safety, culture…
June 28, 2018: It’s time for the big departure, with suitcases of 22 kg each, filled with beautiful things for Bolivian children. Here we go, the adventure begins for me, a 6-month adventure.
June 30, 2018: One day after my arrival, and welcomed by my host family, I celebrate my 21st birthday with them.
Gardening, playing, drawing and… doing your homework!
Going to Bolivia with plans in mind, such as putting on a dance show with the youngest children for Christmas or a football team with the older ones, I quickly realized that this would not be possible and that my plans would have to be adjusted according to their real needs.
So I gave myself a few weeks to observe, and then I suggested a project that could be carried out. During this time of observation, we carried out some activities such as gardening (with the donations collected I bought gardening equipment: shovel, rake… and soil to plant) but also games and drawings for the children’s center. As for the older children’s center: creation of Christmas cards, little games, football (because I discovered that they loved football a lot) but also and above all homework!
Recreational TV and culture, and Brazilian bracelets
After spending one month at the center, I noticed that they sometimes watch movies or documentaries on an educator’s laptop… but you understand that watching a small screen at 20 is not very easy. So I decided to buy a television for the center. A television that was used for moments of relaxation, “information” moments, cultural moments, but also during interventions with the pastor for example.
I was wearing a lot of bracelets and the children asked me every day to give it to them, or teach them how to make them. So I decided to teach them how to make Brazilian bracelets. An activity that requires focus, fine motor skills, self-confidence… They really enjoyed it and, throughout my mission, we made Brazilian bracelets.
Objects recycled into sorting bins, piggy banks, and even table football!
Then, I decided to continue an existing project, which aims to give a second life to recycled objects. After watching a video on the pollution in Cochabamba, we went to collect waste from the nearby streets. After this, we built with the children the different bins that exist so that they learn to sort objects they throw away. Mahé, another volunteer, worked with us on this project. We built piggy banks, pencil pots, flower pots, table football…
Tiramisus, crumbles and pizzas for the vacations
The children were often asking me what I ate in France. I decided to do some pastry workshops with them to introduce them to some of my local specialties with tiramisus, pancakes, crumbles, pizzas… Some tastings and activities that are quite fun to do!
At the end of my mission, which was at the same period as the children’s holidays, I had the opportunity to participate in several organized days. In the center that welcomes the youngest children, I was able to participate in the graduation of the 5-year-olds who will go to school next fall, and move to the center for the older ones. And in the CAICC for the older children, I had the chance to share my last day with them during “Christmas Day”, a day on which children receive their Christmas gifts and discover the people who sponsored them.
An experience of integration and daily sharing
The mission is of course to be with the children, to offer them our help, our support, our smiles, everything we can bring them in a short time, but it is also to participate in the daily life of the center in which we work, especially by helping to cook, to clean… We bring a lot to the children, but not only. We also bring a lot to the educators, to the director… But you have to know that they too bring a lot to us. During these 6 months, I never felt out of place, useless, or alone. They have always been there to accompany me.
An experience that is not easy every day, because you have to know how to adapt, how to deal with difficult situations… An experience that has made me grow, that has taught me a lot about myself, but also about others because I have discovered populations, customs, ways of life that are very different from mine.
Finally, if there is one thing I would like to say, it is a big THANK YOU to the association for sharing this adventure with me, a big THANK YOU to my host family, a big THANK YOU to the CAICC, the director and the educators for trusting me and for taking me as a team member and not just as a volunteer. A big THANK YOU to all the people who made it possible for me to carry out this mission and a big THANK YOU to the children, for all they have given me and for their trust as well.
A mission that left its mark on me and a desire to travel again. So that’s why I take this opportunity to share with you my new fundraising campaign because, yes, I want to leave as soon as possible, even if no date has been set for the moment.
To know more
- See Laly’s online fundraising campaign (in french)
- See Laly’s Facebook page and follow her adventure (in french)
You are inspired by this mission and want to join the adventure?