All those weeks we were looking for a secret formula that would bring us closer to the children. It’s not easy to organise afternoon activities. For several reasons. Firstly there is a wide range of kids from all the grades. Secondly, you never know how many of them will come. Each one has different needs and especially the youngest ones always try to get the volunteers‘ attention at all cost.
And then, one day we came to school at 3 pm, having prepared activities for 1st and 2nd grade. No-one showed up, there were only some boys playing football. So instead of doing what we prepared, we decided to think for a little what we would enjoy ourselves if we were them.
We remembered the most dynamic and interesting games from the days where there was no power in the universe that could make us go home before the sunset.
We focused on building a team, on making all of us work together. As a result not only the boys, but we as well enjoyed spending the time there a lot. We taught them new games and they liked them so much that afterwards we finished they gathered around us asking for another activity. Even after we left we could see them playing the games they had just learnt.
The next day they were already waiting for us. We took a string, held it 1.5 above the ground and asked them to cross it over to the other side. At first the children didn’t seem to be so sure about the excercise but soon enough they came up with innovative ideas on how to do it. They were creative and helped each other. We also had a chance to observe their behaviour in a group.
Now, more than before they come to talk to us during the breaks at school. Step by step we gain their trust. From now on it’ll be easier for us to work together on their curriculum. This week we learnt that we can only succeed in working with this community if our relationship with it is based on mutual trust and the willingness to understand each other despite of any communication difficulties.