The GVI team in Quepos, Costa Rica, is still going strong in our new community center, La Casa del Sol. Our team and the town of El Cocal have seen the huge impact that GVI has had thus far in the short amount of time we have occupied the Casa. The children return every day for hours of enjoyment with volunteers and school friends alike. Students in El Cocal only have school in for three hours every day since the teachers are in charge of two grades each and must split the day accordingly. When the students are not in school, they change out of their uniforms and return to the Casa, ready to play and learn.
There is no art curriculum in the school of El Cocal, and we felt this was a perfect opportunity for us to step up and take charge. The GVI volunteers have taught the children all of the basics and continue to increase the general knowledge of art in the community through new plans and projects. The artwork on the walls of the Casa prove that the kids are now experts on primary colors, mixing colors, shapes, patterns, designs, drawing, painting, and tracing. While we believe all of these are an essential part of a child´s education, the art program has surpassed all expectations by also introducing the children to music, theatre, construction, and so much more.
Music days in La Casa del Sol are a favorite of everyone. The days are filled making instruments and practicing keeping rhythm, learning different choreography and making dances to popular songs, experimenting with different sounds and creating new noises, and even learning to play the guitar. On these days, sounds of music and laughter come ringing from every room in the Casa. Children light up as they experience different types of music and dance for the first time. This past week we even had a train of children and volunteers, with different homemade instruments, singing and chanting while walking down the main street in El Cocal; it was a special sight to see.
Another huge hit has also been our theatre days. With the help of GVI volunteers, children are able to make puppets out of all different kinds of materials, practice comedy skits, create their own plays, learn miming techniques, practice ventriloquism, write their own scripts, and experiment with different voices and accents- just to name a few of the days´ activities. The children have even taken time to make miniature stages for their puppet shows! Construction is also a favorite, especially for the older kids who can never turn down building something new. They have constructed kites to fly on the beach, boats for racing, cars, volcanoes, and houses. Every day in La Casa del Sol is a new adventure for everyone involved.
We are going strong here in Quepos with a dedicated group of children who come every day to be with us. Summer vacation has already begun for the children, many of whom are now working, watching siblings, or helping around the house, but we still are lucky enough to hang out with 25-35 children every day. The activities we have been doing with the children put a fun spin on all things educational, and an educational spin on all things fun.