Take 75 children between age 8 and 13, from three rural communities around Chinandega, Nicaragua. Start with a crust of trying to help seed hope in the lives of impoverished children who come with little if any exposure to the arts. Mix together the passion and creativity of some 15 volunteer artists, social/community workers, and supporting organizations.
Add dust, strong sun, and over 90 degrees average temperatures (the hottest part of the country). Separate children into dance, art, and music classes, with generous handfuls of catchy camp songs, group games, and snacks. Don’t forget to keep everyone hydrated!
Place all children and teachers in ovens for two hours (translation= the tin-roofed classrooms of a small rural school) until thoroughly creatively cooked, and soaking in sweat.
End result? A week-long arts camp that leaves the teachers exhausted (including myself!) but satisfied; the children with songs stuck in their heads, some new art skills and encouragement for their futures. I had 15 children in my class, and shared the teaching with Gerardo (one of the art teachers here at CCBN). It was both an incredibly rewarding, and draining week; a crash-course in teaching art, working with kids from a completely different background and temperament than kids around our community in Managua, and in learning how to go with the flow. A lesson plan was hard to follow–we simply had to be ready to switch directions depending on the attention span of the kids.
Serving size: This is the third year that these organizations have collaborated together to make an arts camp for kids in Chinandega, in the north of the Nicaragua. It is the second year that the Cultural Center of Batahola Norte has sent volunteer teachers/assistants, and hopefully a project that will continue to grow. Gerardo participated last year, and wants to brainstorm with me on ways to bring what we learned at the camp to the community here in Batahola Norte.
————Interesting links to learn more…
———–Photos from the training