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Thursday, August 20, 2015

Questionable Spanish by Micha O'Neil


So despite a rough start and losing our stripes (an area in which most would hope to make gains) the ‘Zebras’ have made it through to week ten with more than a little bit of work under our belts. A busy few weeks have seen us running around preparing for what felt like a million projects at once. Four Human Rights workshops to groups of 40 lively children in one day, teaching workshops on various topics to future facilitators, surveying in the rain and cold, damp jaunts halfway up a mountain are no mean feat.
After a rather dry start on the workshop front we were suddenly confronted with the news that we were to be inundated with four in one afternoon. Never ones to back down from a challenge we hopped to it, excited to be connecting with the public once again (this time with their genuine consent and willingness). With my questionable Spanish in my best teacher voice I managed to make myself a new best friend and, more importantly, a cracking presentation really seemed to get the kids thinking about and engaging with the topic. Admittedly there were times they seemed more interested in drawing and making an obscene amount of noise (probably not a coincidence that this coincided with when they were left with the scared looking visitors) but they had some great answers to our questions and a level of enthusiasm that I don’t think I will ever be able to emulate outside of Nandos.
In just these last few weeks we’ve also been really lucky to have had the opportunity to work with CDC, a local human rights organisation, in association with local LGBT groups. Our main focus has been to promote their campaign for equal rights for every type of family, for ‘#eltipodefamilianoafectalederecho’ as they would so accurately put it. We’ve spent several afternoons parading the plazas of La Paz asking the average Joe (or Juan) how they feel about the concept and using our best sales patter to get them to take a photo with the fantastic props the partners have produced. We haven’t always got the answers we hoped for but if everyone was as keen for change then our efforts would be rather unnecessary…
A final highlight which I think deserves a mention is our aforementioned ‘cold, damp jaunts halfway up a mountain’. Admittedly most of them have been rather sunny (even to the point of a burnt shoulder or two) but, being the cheery character that I am, a morning outside in the rain really sticks in my mind. Despite this, however, we’ve had a quite lovely time with the more than welcoming folk at Fundacion Alternativa.


We’ve built flowerbeds from recycled wood, bins from plastic bottles and even weeded allotments for a few of the locals. I may have missed a few sessions due to an altercation with the bottom of a mountain, but my time there still stands out as one of the most fun and productive projects we’ve been a part of and there was always a turnip or two awaiting us at the end of a hard day’s work.


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