Report by Otto Härö about his volunteer work at Consciente
Xiomara, the teacher in one of the two schools I was working in as a volunteer in El Salvador, sent me a video just some weeks ago. In the video the children of the school were singing “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”, in plain English. That’s one of the videos that has brought me most happiness, and it made me want to go back to El Salvador. Seeing, after being away from El Salvador for months, that the children still sing so well and with so much energy was something really inspiring.
What I liked a lot in my stay as a volunteer in Consciente was the cooperative air they have. In Consciente we did things together. Although teaching English and arts was kind of my own project there, the people around me were interested to know how I was doing and were always keen on supporting me. Whether it was helping in the planning the classes or listening to how well, or how badly, I felt the classes that day had worked out. By the way, the more active the classes were, the better they worked out. Bingo with English numbers was one of the favourite activity of the children. And of course singing “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” together 😉
In El Salvador they do things together. One example; When we went to spend a day by the beautiful river Sapo, of course we took with us the ingredients to prepare bean soup on the spot. Once we were there, some started to prepare the beans, some to find firewood and others to prepare the fire. The atmosphere of togetherness and the unreserved warmth in El Salvador made a strong positive impact on me. And the bean soup always tastes much better after having prepared it together!
Apart from the classes in the schools with the children, I had the opportunity to participate in other activities of Consciente as well. I had the opportunity to get to know many of the students Consciente supports. Participating in the educational events and everyday life of the students I learned a lot, but also I felt that I had the opportunity to participate in something really important and significant. In my opinion, what makes Consciente bigger and more effective, is the believe in the people it has. In Consciente it is believed that a change and positive impacts come from the people, by empowering the people to go forward and inspire others.
Author: Otto Härö from Finland, Volunteer for Consciente from February 2016 – April 2016