Working on the Millennium Development Goals

As with every Global Volunteers team, our projects in Calderon are geared toward meeting our commitment to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. Our Calderon Development Partnership addresses two of those goals: To Reduce Child Mortality Rates; and To Provide Complete Primary Schooling for Boys and Girls. In this regard, the FUNDAC childcare program works in a manner similar to the Head Start program in the U.S. to provide a firm health and education footing for preschoolers so they are ready for primary school.

Every volunteers works eight hours a day in project preparations and on-site work. We’re committed to full-time assistance to the work project. Either in child care, assisting meal preparations, or helping to construct the new Center, our efforts are focused on improving and expanding our assistance to FUNDAC.

Today, Claudia returned to her children after a day in the kitchen and they were thrilled to have her back. The little ones grabbed her legs and she sat herself down in the child size plastic chairs to play and interact. Rita spent time with her group of youngsters and with what little downtime she had, cradled baby Leonardo. Julie returned to her babies and used her teaching skills to help three older children of the mothers with their English. They were attentive students and it was captivating to hear them count to twenty and learn the English names of animals.

Ed, Elle and Jennie did the dirty work. Ed worked with Walter, the father of one of the children, to finish repairing the fence. Ed and Walter then moved 80 cement blocks to the courtyard to help with the goal of cleaning out the second floor so it can be skim coated. Elle and Jennie swept up and carried buckets and buckets of sand and dirt from the second floor to the courtyard and their dust covered faces and hair were the lasting evidence of this hardship duty. Two primary labor goals were now completed. Living up to the philosophy of Global Volunteers, the labor projects were accomplished with the willing hands of several parents of the children in this daycare.

I spent the day in the kitchen with Elisa and Isabelle. Warm and cheerful women they are, who talked a blue streak, thinking I knew more Spanish than I do. It is times like this that I wish I could better communicate as there are many questions to ask and stories to share. I am glad I had the opportunity to spend time with these two and see how much effort goes into preparing just one day’s worth of meals for 40 children.

While in the kitchen, I could be an observer. Hour after hour there was the happy sound of 40 energetic children learning about the color azul, playing in the courtyard and eating chocolate covered bananas. I watched as they merrily chased bubbles in the sunlit courtyard and played soccer with the four balls we purchased the day before. And I observed just how dedicated, enthusiastic and special my teammates were.

After lunch, we made cut outs of fruit which will be assembled into several mobiles. This gave us time to spend with Christina and some of the staff. These women work so hard and have infinite patience. Christina was asked if she was tired at the end of the day. She replied, “Yes. but I take home the smiles of the children.”

Hopefully we will leave a positive imprint on these little ones, hopefully we will teach them something. But these children are teaching us more than they will ever know.
-Pamela Ward
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