Last Spring I began my second volunteer project in Baja. I started bringing visual art projects to the kids at the Hogar Del Niños in Todos Santos. The Hogar is a children's home for either orphaned children, or for children whose parents are not able to care for their children. There are 25 kids at the orphanage ranging from one year to 20 years old. Most of the children are at the elementary school age. Every other thursday I have brought a new project to the kids. My goal is eventually to bring more complex, on-going projects (especially for the older kids). It can be very self-esteem building for children to work for many weeks on a progressive project. But because of my limitations with Spanish, and the fact that it takes a lot of time to build relationships, I want to go slow and just focus on coming up with fun projects and getting to know the kids.
WEEK ONE: GROUP DRAWING
I brought a large roll of paper but since since we didn't have enough tables, we lay the paper on the floor and I gave them markers. My goal was to keep it simple--so that I could get to know the kids a little, or the very least--learn their names, which is always a challenge. My Spanish is a work in progress--and these experiences, while they illuminate my shyness with Spanish, are also great for improving skills. I tried to explain to the kids that drawing can be abstract--as that usually the main goal with the group drawings. The kids didn't hesitate to get on their knees and start drawing. Some of them made abstract shapes, and some of them drew images from life. They were quite focused for about 45 minutes, and then one by one they started wandering away to other activities.
Afterwards, we taped up one of the group drawings to decorate the side of the freshly made bunks in the boys' room and in the girls' room.