I am posting a new blog which is updated and run by Casa Alianza UK. Many of the updates on the blog are from volunteers and former volunteers, like myself, talking about their experiences of working with street kids, the activities they are doing and the harsh realities of street kids and youths at social risk.
First of all, the new facebook page is: https://www.facebook.com/CasaAlianzaUK.
The website is: http://www.casa-alianza.org.uk/.
The new blog is: https://casaalianzauk.wordpress.com/2013/09/27/volunteer-with-casa-alianza-nicaragua/.
And you can also follow them on twitter on: @CasaAlianzaUK
I still think about my experiences at Casa Alianza everyday, and how much it has motivated me in my own life, seeing young people strive forward despite the odds, despite their adversity, and how I should do the same. Last Monday, it was lovely bumping into a couple of girls, Sara and Scarlett, who were both in Casa Alianza, but are both now running a small beauty salon upstairs to Casa Domingo. Both the girls gave me an enormous hug and told me how much they enjoyed me teaching them English. Scarlett, I always remembered, played football amongst the boys. She had a calm character and I admired her a lot for continuing throughout games even when she was hearing sexist and harassing comments from some of the guys. She also enjoyed singing. I remember letting her listen to my iPod and she began practicing Whatever by Oasis. She changed a couple of the lyrics to Spanish, which gave it a bit of a Latin feel, as well as changing some of the notes around, to give it a bachata beat. It made me proud to see her doing well.
Sara I didn’t know so well. I knew her boyfriend a little better actually, who was in Casa Alianza and also has connections with Casa Domingo. I haven’t heard from him in a while. She was always polite, always dancing and being cheeky, but in a fun way. Sara always hobbled a bit. I was curious about her injury. I never asked her directly, so I asked a member of staff. The staff said she was tortured by someone in her family. It brings back the harsh reality of these kids, though I am proud to see her flourishing doing something she likes, and she’s smiling.
Yesterday was the anniversary of Casa Alianza. I had really wanted to go, but unfortunately, thanks to a cold, I was unable to. Having been told about some injections I could have to get rid of the cold almost immediately, I went to a pharmacy to see what it was all about. The process involved three jabs over three days, one in both arm and one in my right buttock. I asked them whether it was just a preventative flu jab, but they insisted it wasn’t and I would feel better the next day (after each jab). Well, after three days of feeling drowsy having had chemicals pumped into my body, I’m still sneezing and snotty and coughing with a sore throat that feels like a crisp is permanently lodged there. I feel a bit conned having paid 200 odd lemps, and the next time I have a cold, I think I will just have to accept that it will take the customary week or week and a half of nose blowing, paracetamol and drinking loads of tea with lime and honey to shift the pesky bug out of my body. As stated, it meant that I was unable to go to the Casa Alianza anniversary.
In the last couple of months, I have gone to a couple of dance productions at the Teatro Bonilla in Tegucigalpa, performed by a youth dance group which one of the boys in Casa Alianza attends. He’s a great lad, absolutely hilarious in fact, who does a clown sketch when Casa Alianza have an event or activity. He likes me to call him by his English name, John Charles, so I do so. He is originally from San Pedro Sula and his three sisters have all come through Casa Alianza. Two of them have kids now and are working, and they are still very much part of the Casa Alianza family, from what I gather. I remember the first time I met him: he told me that he was going to be my number one student. While the English classes festered a bit and turned out to be homework classes, he was right: he was one of the best students. He was always there, pen, paper, books in hand (which some rich kids in Macris School can’t even manage) and he would revise intensively for tests. He was also suffering from post-traumatic stress and having very dark flash-backs of time when some gang-members broke into his house and threatened to kill his mother. Like the girls above, he is now flourishing. With help from the psychologists and counseling in Casa Alianza, he seems to have calmed down a lot. With me, he’s been very open about what he’s been through. He’s a joker, like many 18 year olds, but he still has a mature head on his shoulders. He talks to me about the girls that he likes and how should he approach them, which I would then have to advise him on (not that I’m an expert, but he seems to think so). He is a curious young man with a million and one questions, some of them a bit personal (he once asked if my girlfriend and I have had sex, and how often, which often gets him the blunt response of MIND YOUR OWN BLEEDIN’ BUSINESS). But I always try to give him a lot of time, when I can.
I thought I would include a couple of pictures below of the dance event below. After the event, by the way, I gave him a bar of Dairy Milk. He said he shared it. I don’t believe him! Enjoy!
I know that this isn’t from Casa Alianza Honduras, but I thought I would include a short video from Casa Alianza Mexico to explain a bit more about what Casa Alianza does in other parts of Latin America, where other volunteers are participating. It is in Spanish, but hopefully that might inspire a few of you back home to learn a bit more of the lovely Latin lingo. Enjoy!