I really care for Familia Feliz and its orphans.
I didn’t want to wait a year before I started dedicating myself utterly to this place. I wanted indeed to donate my contribute no matter when I would have left this place.
I often ask myself if 3 months spent volunteering would be able to make a person a “better person”, but while waiting for an answer,
I rather focus on what will make of my contribute here, a better place for the kids.
But what am I doing here in Familia Feliz? And how do I donate my contribute?
First of all the awakening.
Usually it’s around 5 am. We meet at the BIG HOUSE with the other volunteers and start singing, praying and studing a book about children education. It is a good chance to learn and discover what values we put into educating the kids at our classes.
This study it’s about 30 minutes long.
Volunteers who are in charge of the cooking also take care of the kitchen, making sure it’s clean and tidy. The others go back to their rooms and repeat the study with the students they are in charge of.
This in the picture is my room. You can see the closet, the mosquito net, the ledder I made to get up there since the were nothing bofore I moved up. I share the WODEN HOUSE with Jerry and Steve, two other volunteers and with 4 of my english class students: Jose Luis, William, Edwin e Juan Carlos. Under my room there is the bathroom and the kitchen.
After studing with THE WODEN HOUSE students, it’s time to shower. The water is cold as it’s taken directly from the river so it might be less pleasent to use it at 6:30 am, when the sun hasn’t hit the ground. But during the sunrise, dear, it’s a great experience to shower with a roof made of sunlight.
Spare times are often used to go running or to start some homework the kids have got the day before. Every two days we have a cleaning day for all the shared areas of the house.
My turn is Thursday, with Edwin. We clean the bathroom, kitchen and sweep the floor.
7 am it’s the time for breakfast.
Usually in the BIG HOUSE, we serv breakfast for around 35 people (volunteers and kids), while the other 25 are having their own meals with their adopting families in the houses assigned to them.
YELLOW HOUSE, which hosts 8 girls and an adopting family from Mexico.
BRICKS HOUSE, which hosts 6 kids, a baby and an adopting family from Bolivia.
TRACY’S HOUSE, which hosts 4 kids and an adopting mother from the USA.
WODEN HHOUSE, with 4 students and the 3 of us.
From 7:30 to 8, I do english make up class for two of the students I teach on Sunday. Since the fast changing of teachers and volunteers, it’s sometime hard to keep the student preparation on the same level so I gave my availability to Lui and Renate to teach them the alphabet and the verb TO BE and TO HAVE. They are so enthusiastic about learning english it’s a pleasure to teach them so early in the morning.
8 o clock, time to start working.
I am the one in charge for the tool room and for the spare parts room. When I arrived, most of the tools where lost or broken and many times the kids would forget them in the garden, when they would get rusted and old. And a system to take care of all this was the most important part missing.
I thought that if dontars had seen how badly their money where invested on tools, they wouldn’t have donated anymore and so I decided to tidy up the rooms, put them in order, fix the broken tools and introduce a system that helps us to take care of everything we receive from donators.
So now we have a tool room and also a spare parts room. We have spare tools to use for camp works. A bench to work on. A solar power system to plug tools to. A RE working generator, a welder, an inverter 12 – 110 V and, who knows, maybe soon we could have some new tools too.
But let’s have a look to all the things that have been made within this last month:
- Installation solar panels
- Installation solar batteries
- Installation inverter
- Bridge built
- Sharpening mantainence bench built
- Gasoline generator fixed
- Mantainance and tools usage form created
- Counting broken parts and working tools
- 10 zappe, 5 picconi, 5 hammers, 2 grinders, 1 drill, 1 bench, 2 seats fixed
- Pick up maintenance: oil changed, u joints changed, cooling fluid changed, bumper fixed, bull bar welt
- Counting macetes and mantainance
- BIG HOUSE mantainance: mosquito net and windows
- Battery holder welt and fixed
- Floaters and bathroom fixed
So, as you can see there is a lot to do here, that’s way I keep being busy from 8 to 12:30 am and from 2:30 to 8 pm.
As for breakfast, even luch and dinner and served in the BIG HOUSE. Sometimes we are 35, some other 55. Depending on the day.
Sharing meals and sitting at the table with many other people it’s always a good chance to interacte and learn more about the other volunteers and kids.
These are the moment when friendship can develop and we can share our ideas and thoughts.
Sometimes we plan recreation activities or something for everybody to do. Watching a DVD on some volunteer’s laptop it’s one of the options or singing while strumming a guitar or two.
Few other times, we volunteers have our meals upstairs to meet and discuss general or specific topics about education, improvements and complains.
There is always a lot to do, from morning to night, and every single bit of it is dedicated to the self sustainability of Familia Feliz and its kids education.
Spare hours or half hours are meant to be spent for either resting, cleaning our own rooms, talking to other people, play (football and volleyball are the most popular and I even have to keep up the fame of the italians world cup winners in 2006 ).
Students can keep studing or doing homeworks o, in my case, as I mostly work with diesel, gasoline, dust, greace, rust and wood, I have a lot work with my dirty laundry.
What I really like about this place is its simplicity. Even wash the clothes it’s become a real job. We don’t have laudry machines, dish washers, playstations, phones, tv and at night we use candles.
If you keep quiet, under the starts and the company of the others, you can hear the frog singing and the monkeys jumping from tree to tree.
It is a magical place, this Familia Feliz. And I am glad I can show it to you as I see it.
Because I really care for you to understand how lucky we are compared to these orphans.
ps. here are my two friends. the tarantula keeps watching every single work I do in the tool room, while the big spider sleep abbove my mosquito net