Thursday, 12 April 2012

Laura Flores workshop

Can you give a workshop to the Mums of Laura Flores?

Sure thing!

So I agreed to give this workshop to the Mums. The idea was to give some ideas of communicating with their children and some activities and games for them to do in the house. This workshop would be fairly easy in England. I probably wouldn’t prepare all that much for it. I would rummage in my toy box and take a bag full of games and resources and we would have a play. I would model to the Mum’s how to play the games with their children, to communicate most effectively. It would not be too difficult. Most parents would have lots of toys and games in their houses. Most children are overloaded with stimulation since they were born.

The Mums and children working together
Giving this workshop in Laura Flores was much more of a challenge. The fact it was in Spanish did not bother me. I would get by. I know I do not speak well in Spanish but there would be people there who could re-word things so the mums could understand. I found it difficult to prepare for because the culture here is so different. Laura Flores in itself is different. I had visited several people’s houses in LF so knew the sort of lives they lead, what they had in their houses, had spoken with many parents before and worked with their children. I knew that they did not have much in their houses. I don’t remember seeing any toys. I know that the children play outside, in the streets. Young children. Really, as soon as they can walk, they are outside “playing” with their brothers and sisters. They do not have anything to play with. Occasionally the boys find a ball and play football. Sometimes a girl might have an old dolly. Normally they just run around, go into each other’s houses, pop into the church if something is happening, eat, sleep, and watch their mums. There is not a real time of “play”.
So I had all this of what I know about LF in my head as I planned the workshop. It would be a waste of time to show them nice games and toys when I know they do not have them. I had to be resourceful. So using toilet roll tubes filled with rice as instruments, collected bottle tops to colour sort, recycled paper to make a counting card game and a few other things I had collected along the way, I set off to LF. It was a particularly hot LF afternoon. The sun was beating down on the aluminium roof, the sun’s rays were streaming in through the “windows” and as the workshop progressed, it got hotter and hotter. It wasn’t the best workshop I have done. As it was so hot and I was so tired, I seemed to lose all my Spanish words. It was a funny mix of playing games with the children, talking to the adults, trying not to touch the flea ridden stray dogs wandering in and out and trying not to overheat. The joys to Ecuador!

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