Thursday, August 21, 2014

Farewells and Welcomes ...

Although we’ve only been at the UpClose place for a few weeks it already feels like home. Recently we have seen a lot of volunteers come and go; and have had some fantastic farewell parties. Our first farewell party was for Andrea and Amanda. Both contributed hugely to their projects. Amanda has previously worked in schools helping children with learning disabilities so was great to have her as an addition to the English classes. Andrea, an occupational therapist, helped huge amounts at the Fundacion Provenir and showed us so many OT techniques to use with the children at the centre.

We have recently changed method from 1-2-1 occupational therapy at the FundacionPorvenir to group therapy, which will mean the volunteers will be involved greatly in supporting the therapy. We will be split into three groups; one group focusing on interaction with the horse, the other group doing occupational therapy techniques on the horses and the last group doing dynamics through games which help with movement and balance etc. The three groups will then swap over so each child is able to be part of each process. Working at the FundacionProvenir and with Andrea has sparked my interest in becoming an occupational therapist. I have loved learning about all the occupational therapy techniques that can be done through playing games with the kids. I have researched doing a year abroad as an intern in an occupational therapy centre, then going on to a Masters in occupational therapy back in London. I hope that with my passion for Arabic language I would be able to intern and see the approach to occupational therapy in the Middle East.

The leaving party for Andrea and Amanda was a tea party where everybody bought cake and consisted of a lot of laughing and jokes. Amanda and Andrea received a small goodbye present and a thank you speech from Anahi and Emma which was very touching.

Our next farewell party was welcoming Alicia and Velma and saying goodbye to Fergus, Esther, Patrick, Arthur, Bianca and Tristin. All of the volunteers were saying goodbye to have provided so much support to the projects and I know they will be greatly missed. I have worked with them at the zoo, FundacionProvenir, NuestroEspacio . We have made great progress in the different projects; for example in NuestroEspacio we have started teaching English language and values.  We had anamazing party which was a BBQ and a camp fire, ending with songs lead by Emma’s family friend on the guitar. Again the volunteers received parting gifts and a thank you speech from Emma and Anahi. It’s so warming to see how valued each volunteer is and how much of a difference they can make whether they stay 2 weeks or 2 months.  I have already learnt so much since I’ve been in Bolivia and hope to continue learning especially focusing on my Spanish and occupational therapy techniques.

Written by Jade Parker.

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