Miguel shares his experience of a typical shift at the Children’s Shelter in Peru!
“We have 2 different shifts, the morning one that it’s from 7am until 12pm and the afternoon one that it’s from 1pm until 6pm (although normally we will finish a bit later in both shifts depending how well the small children behave when eating hehehe).
I have been normally doing the afternoon shift, so I’ll tell you what we do on daily basis using that shift as an example.
We will leave the flat about 30/40 minutes earlier and take one of the Peruvian buses, they are very small and kind of funny way of travelling. Once we get in, we need our photo passes (that small children love, they always check our photos on them!) and sign in the visitors book.
The Tias, who are the local volunteers who stay at the shelter 24hrs with the children, have divided the children in 2 groups, the small ones (ages 0-4) and the bigger ones (4-11).
The first thing we do is help the small ones (normally around nine of them) finishing eating, we will help them washing up their hands and faces and we will bring them to a patio upstairs on the top of the building where they can play with loads of toys. They also have a little wooden house where they can sit down and do some games, build some towers, make some animals with recycling materials, etc. a place where they can develop their learning skills and not only play.
We take them all of them upstairs so the bigger ones and the Tias can eat peacefully.
It depends of how many volunteers are at the shelter we might also need to help cleaning the dining room, washing up dishes (that is like a never ending job hehehe) and/or help with the laundry, mainly folding clothes that are already clean and dry.
Some other volunteers will spend the whole afternoon upstairs playing with the small children and helping organising different games so they do some exercise and learn colours and stuff, like animals, shapes, etc. Others will help the bigger ones with their homework, sometimes they have to create a poster, or paint some drawings, so it not just maths and writing. It could be fun too!
Around 5pm the small ones will have to have dinner, so we take them all downstairs to the dining room, wash their hands and sit them in their chairs, each day will have different food, so it could be challenging to get some of them to eat properly, but normally they eat very well and always ask for more food.
After dinner we will wash them again and other volunteers and Tias will change their nappies and put them into bed with their pyjamas, then it’s normally 6pm and the shift is over.
Obviously some days we will change the routine, we might take the children to the park, or organise some party so they can dance, or the bigger ones will help with the cleaning or baking cakes… the Tias try to make every day a different one.
I hope this gives you an idea of how a day looks like at the Shelter. I am going to miss them!”
A very big thank you to Miguel for sharing his experience at the Children’s Shelter. If you are interested in joining this project, you can read more about the Children’s Shelter and the volunteer role here on the following page: https://www.podvolunteer.org/Child-care-and-orphanages/orphanage-peru.html