Clara Luna has had an abundance of activities and celebrations over the past few months, starting in November. The theme for November’s Club de Niños was rebellious women. We read stories and learned about the lives of valiant women like Malala Yousafzai and the Mirabal sisters of the Dominican Republic. At the end of the month we celebrated this inspirational theme with one of our events known as “Erase Una Vez” or “Once Upon a Time”. For this gathering, Club de Niños students set up stations to read aloud a selection of stories to their parents. A group of five students also put on a puppet show called “La Princesa Vestida con una Bolsa de Papel”, which is about a princess who saves her prince and promptly leaves him in the dust when he criticizes her appearance instead of thanking her. It sends a great message of women’s empowerment and keeps parents and kids entertained. Afterwards we all gathered to enjoy hot chocolate and rosquitas. Also in November, our club of teenagers started their work on our community library, set to open this spring. For two and a half hours every Saturday morning, this group of ten adolescents selects the books to be displayed, mainly literature in Spanish and English, and organizes and labels them in accordance with the Dewey Decimal System.
In December, we brought 2019 to a close with our annual Christmas party. 32 families and 60 kids joined us for a night of celebration that included choreographed dances and puppet shows put on by our students. When we resumed our regular programming in January, we held two sessions of our “Cuentos en la Plaza: Mobile Libraries” in Puerto López’s San Jacinto neighborhood. We enjoyed bringing books to a group of 15 kids in the area and reading with them. Again we performed “La Princesa Vestida con una Bolsa de Papel”. It was lovely to see how pleased the children were watching the clever princess. For our second session, we read stories by Anthony Browne and everyone made a drawing of his main character, the kind gorilla Willy.
TITLE OR SUBJECT OF REPORT: Scary stories at Clara Luna haunting house
This September, we read Anthony Browne’s club King Kong, for the children’s. The kids loved the craft activities that followed, which included making King Kong masks and colorful armbands. For our last children’s club of September, we went to the central park of Puerto López. Here activities were being held in honor of the last day of September 2019’s climate strike. The kids read books about the planet and our impact on it. After, they put on a theater performance in the park. Intercambio and English classes with adults carried on as usual. In our English club with children, we introduced the Japanese poetry style of haikus, first in Spanish then progressing to English.
The month of October was an exciting month for the Clara Luna Foundation, our main focus of this month was on scary stories, more specifically old Ecuadorian legends. Since the month of October is known for Halloween, which is followed by Día de los Muertos, we mainly worked around different ecuadorian legends such as ‘La Mano Negra’, ‘La Dama Tapada’, ‘Las Brujas Blancas’ and many more. With Halloween and Día de los Muertos in mind, we organised an event on the 25th of October, during our weekly Club de Niños. On this day three pairs of children read the ecuadorian legends for the other parents and children. Another group of children performed a muppet show called ‘Davilara, el Rey de la Bomba’, based on the (recently) award-winning book ‘A ritmo endiablado de bomba’ written by Marco Chamorro and Alice Bossut. Thanks to the help of the parents, the volunteers and Paola’s organisational skills the event turned out very successful. The children were all dressed up in their favourite Halloween costume and the parents had prepared some delicious hot chocolate milk and rosquitas, which is a traditional treat during similar Clara Luna events.
The end of May was a busy, joyful and colorful month that welcomed an art Festival called Festi’artes (2nd edition – focused on the connection with the Pachamama). It was organized by the collective Alegrate Puerto Lopez and more than 165 artists attended to this event. The Children from Clara Luna and the community were both, actors and participants to the event. On the first day for the parade, children walked dressed as their favorite book character and they showed banners to share their love of reading.
Then, in the Pabellon infantil, (https://youtu.be/RjZKRiRHY9w) they could enjoy activities about reading and different workshops such as one with Santiago Gonzalez, who is a famous Ecuadorian illustrator that presented one of his characters called « Luciano el Gusano ».
With the teenager groups, we also started a library activity. The idea is to lend the long-term reading books we have and this group of about 8 youths from 12 to 15 will be in charge of running this concept. For now, we registered the books we have, created a membership card and we are thinking of the different rules. Implementing our programs inside the community is something very important for us.
We keep on going to the school of Rio Blanco, a small community 20 minutes far from Clara Luna. This month we focused on whales and see life as the « Humpback Whales season » started in Puerto Lopez. Indeed, they chose this place to give birth and from June to September you can see them jumping majestically not far from the beach. We worked on the book, « More, More, more » from dawn Casey, and the kids draw their own whale, working with different textures (crayons, painting…) and different types of blue. It is amazing how you can see 20 different drawings with cute differences, even though all the drawings were inspired by the same book. Children’s imagination is limitless!
We have continued our outreach reading program and related activities to the rural community of Rio Blanco on the edges of the canton of Puerto Lopez. During the school vacation in February and March we brought books to a community member’s shed where we set up tables and chairs for reading. Now that school is back in session, every Tuesday morning we ramble down the dirt road, ford the gentle White River that is the namesake of the community, carrying books and art supplies to the one room school house. The children have a hunger for books that is evident as they read the books aloud, then lean over to the students at neighboring desks and share their favorite parts of the stories with them.
One story we read was about a girl with many fantastic hats, so then we made hats using paper plates, ribbons, feathers and crayons. Each child’s work was unique and creative.
More recently we read The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein and then made tree sculptures using brown paper bags, cardboard and colored paper.
Tuesday evenings we go to the Plazaleta with blankets to spread on the ground and boxes of books. A lone ceibo tree stands at the end of the plaza. The ceibo tree is currently threatened by the proposed expansion of the road. We enjoy reading with the local children under its sturdy limbs. The kids made posters expressing their love of the tree and we hung them in the Plazaleta hoping that the planned road work will be kind to the tree.
We also extended our outreach with this program "Cuentos en la Plaza" (Stories in the Plaza) by bringing literature and activities to local schools in Puerto Lopez and to an after school community project in the village of Puerto Rico.
Volunteers Pauline from France, Blerta from Albania , Giorga and Camilla from Italy, Walter and Shara from the US and Aline from Germany were very helpful in organizing and coordinating our efforts.
In recent months we have visited the rural community of Río Blanco and it's one room elementary school where we brought boxes of books for the children to read with us. After a time of free reading,volunteers read a story to the assembled group of youngsters aged 6 to 10 as they listened in rapt attention. One story was about dinosaurs, always a favorite subject for the children. When the story was completed the we did an art activity making dinosaurs from paper plates.
We also extended our outreach with this program "Cuentos en la Plaza" ( Stories in the Plaza) of bringing literature and activities to local schools in Puerto Lopez and to an after school community project in the village of Puerto Rico.
We recieved assistance from volunteers Martina from the Netherlands, Pauline from France and Victoria from Germany. Celine and Lousia from Solidarite Sud in Quebec Canada were especially helpful in preparing and presenting programs.
Our teenager's club (Club de Jóvenes) participated in a presentation from the staff of Equilibrio Azul Foundation, Proyecto Tortugas. They learned about the threat to sea turtles from plastic pollution in our coastal areas, the life cycle and nesting habits of the turtles. The teenagers were trained in identification of nesting sites and they volunteered to spend several nights on a protected beach in the Machillia National Park observing and recording nesting activities of sea turtles.
Clara Luna wishes to express our gratitude to the children of St. Jesaja Church in volunteer Victoria's Germany home town for their donations that made the first stage renovation of the reading corner possible. Special thanks to Solidarité Sud whose volunteer's donations and physical effort created and furnished a new classroom that will be enjoyed by the children for a long time to come.
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