Fun and games and music!
Semana Santa, which literally means ‘Holy Week’, is the week around Easter and it is celebrated throughout Latin America. All schools are closed during this week. So, instead of following our regular class schedule, we decided to host a 3-day holiday camp for the children. The theme was “Around the World” with the idea that we would teach the students about different continents, counties and cultures.
On Monday of Semana Santa, we started our Cultural Camp in El Cocal.
We divided the days according to continents. On the first day we focused on Europe and Australia, the second day celebrated cultural traditions from Asia, and the final day wrapped it up with Africa and the Americas.
We exposed the children to a wide variety of cultural activities such as Aboriginal painting from Australia, lantern making from Asia, netball from England and an Easter egg hunt from North America. By engaging the students in these experiences, we introduced them to new ideas cultures. For the majority of the students, this was the first time that they were exposed to traditions outside of Costa Rica.
The volunteers with GVI Quepos successfully provided students with a safe, fun, educational environment to spend their Semana Santa holiday week. This is important for several reasons.
Access to camps and activities like these are incredibly important for the children, and even more so when the schools are closed. When the schools are closed there are very limited supervised activities for the children. They will mostly be found playing, unsupervised, in the streets. This can be problematic because there are plenty of negative and unsafe situations that the children could be exposed to. The community, made up mostly of migrants fleeing bad situations in their own countries, is rife with drugs, violence and cultural conflict and poverty.
For these reasons it is important to provide an alternative for the children that is safe and fun. Word of our camp reached over 20 children, which gave the program an platform to inform more families about what we were teaching on a regular basis. As a result, we had 10 new children join our regular classes after the week was over! We were also able to bond with students who were already attending class and a greater level of mutual trust was achieved between the volunteers and their students.
It is safe to say that Cultural Camp during Semana Santa was a great success in both positively influencing the children as well as expanding the reach of our regular program so that it may benefit more and more children in the community.
Thank you for your generosity which makes programs like this possible.
GVI Costa Rica