Today marks the first day our CEVA (centro de vacaciones), a week-long day camp for kids around Chile. It takes place at various times around Chile in the summer for groups of children all around the country. Maureen, my housemate, is the head coordinator of the CEVA in Valle Alegre, a section of Calle Larga, the town where we live. She’s been working on this program for a few months. After our group training last week, we’re greeting 40 children this morning, ranging in age from four to twelve. I’m a leader of the thirteen nine- and ten-year-olds. My hope is that they like the Chilean songs I learned on missions, or else I’m up a creek.
During the week we’re going to be playing all sorts of game, doing crafts, and taking three field trips. We’re going to a local botanical garden, the pool, and the zoo in Santiago. When we went door-to-door in Valle Alegre to sign up kids, they were really excited about the zoo. Like most kids, these ones seem to love animals. On top of that, many of them come from a relatively poor background and have never been to Santiago (the city of five million people that is about 90 minutes away from their home by bus).
With any luck, I’ll survive the wickedly hot Chilean summer sun and the Chilean niños to tell the store on the other side.