Another night of fitful slumber follows and as per usual our eyes simultaneously ping open like demented Chucky horror dolls and we are wide awake at 3am, which is 9am in the UK. Surely we'll be released from the grip of this bloody jet lag soon?!
We are back at the project by 8am and are immediately knee-deep in runny-nosed and hyperactive ninos pequenos. I find one minute spent looking after a child is like thirty spent doing anything else. That multiplies tenfold when you've got twelve kids instead of one, and doubles again when you both speak different languages. Well, we did want a challenge.
The main phrase that sticks in my mind is "no se tocar!" which means "don't touch!" and echoes around the building whenever one of the kids grabs something they shouldn't, ie every 2 minutes.
The highlight of my day is reading aloud to the children, and my heart swells when I say the words to the picture book in English and they go to great pains to explain the pronunciation in Spanish. For example, I say "giraffe" and little Sara says "no Sam, Giraffe!! (pronounced he-raff-eeee). Elephant is Elly-fant-eeee. I'm learning more Spanish from these inquisitive 2yr olds than in my official daily intensive language classes which come as part of the volunteering package.
Although they don't understand what I'm saying, they get the gist from my intonation and respond accordingly. They all have such strong and different characters and I find myself really warming to them all for different reasons. We play with hand puppets, dance, play and eat lunch and before I know it the shift is over once more.
I go on the hunt for De Mama and find her looking sweaty and harassed, with babies hanging from every limb, whilst Andy is the complete opposite, chilled and smiling. His group of children are older and well-disciplined, and the fact that they speak some English makes his life far easier. Jammy git.
We make an executive decision today - we decide to bunk off our 2hr afternoon Spanish class. How rebellious, I hear you cry. The lessons are so intense and are not especially beneficial for our needs as they are too grammar-heavy, when all we really want are the essential words and phrases. It's just a bit too much like hard work.
We skip out of Maximo HQ feeling much lighter having given Ally-hand-ra the swerve and instead spend the time eating chorizo pizza and exploring the bustling city on foot. Now THAT's more like it! For the first time since we've arrived we feel relaxed and it's so nice to have a bit of respite from our hectic schedule...
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