Ulog # 048: Giving Back to a Community Left Behind

6개월 전

Reading Children’s Books to Poor Kids at Barrio 14 de Octubre, El Peñón (Cumaná).

Greetings, dear Uloggers and Steemians

Yesterday, we materialized an activity that has been in the making for some time now. We were going to do this last weekend, but due to the looting of what used to be my office, I had to postpone it. I have to thank my student, now colleague, Yeny Gonzalez (right) for giving me the inspiration to plan this activity. She just got her Bachelor's Degree diploma on Thursday, but she has been working on poor communities for a while. It was after seeing some images of her recreational and educational projects that I decided to propose a joint experiment to take children's books to one of the thousands of enpoverished communities of our town.

As we anticipated, not only did these children lack books at home, they were eager to have some. Ironically, this community is one of the many neighborhoods whose inhabitants gave all their hopes and support to a revolution that ended up confining them to poverty and ostracism.

"Here are the ones who love this free, chavista, and bolivarian mother land. Carrying on with the legacy of commander Chavez"

This is a considerably big barrio, all the houses look like these ones. No pavement. No basic public utilities.

Yeny, who has already worked in this community, arranged a meeting at one of the houses and she, along with her friend, Rosangela, who is only 15 and was our official photographer, took care of all the logistics and snacks.

Karismar Noriega, another student of mine, now colleague, also graduated on Thursday, a great collaborator who has been working on projects of her own. She deserves a separate post to show the world how big her heart is.
These are some of the kids that we found in this community.

Looking at these faces it is easy to forget about your problems and think about how you can contribute to feeding these kids' dreams and aspirations.


The Warm-up

I let the experts in recreation do their tricks and have the kids activated.

They were sports. The little one stole our hearts.

Reading Time

It was my time to present some children's books. I asked them whether they liked books or not. They all said yes, but they also told us they do not have any books at home. They were surely ready for some stories.
I started with a puppet book about a naughty monkey who threw banana peels to all animals that crossed his path.



Play video

Then I read some fun poems from Chamario by Eugenio Montejo (a.k.a Eduardo Polo)


I was gladly surprised at these children's sagacity with language. They got the puns, the word play, all the fun Montejo offers in his hillarious children poetry.


Time for them to read.


This kid surprised us all with his fluent and fun reading of El conejo mentiroso.

This was Maruja Casanova's adaptation of a Warao trickster tale.

We were so pleased with their involvement, their anticipation to the plot's twists and turns. It was a blast!

Coloring Time

We asked them to draw and color whatever they wanted from any of the stories read thus far. We gave them paper and color pencils.
Even the boys were excited
And the big girls
The tiny ones worked the hardest

The beautiful results


We read some more


And at the end I gave all those books away. I did not anticipate such a wonderful turnout, so I ended up owing books to some of the attendees. I will take some more books next week and plan a followup with the books they took home.

Snack Time

Yeny took care of the snacks. She and her parents have been developing a bakery business at home and are generous enough to share with those in need.
They were enjoying every second of this.

Goodbye Time

We wrapped up the reading session and promissed to come back for more

My wife and daughter gave up some of their beloved books and even dolls and other toys to give these children an extra smile!

These children truly deserve a better future. They belong to a generation that was promised a lot and little was delivered to them. They deserve to dream and their dreams deserve to come true. The social and moral debt the Venezuelan government has with these kids is high, but it can still be paid. Change cannot and should not wait any longer.

Thanks for your visit. Hope you enjoyed this post.

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Wow! What a beautiful post! It surely deserves more attention. I hope you get some. Thank you.

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Thank you, brother. We're happy you liked it.

You were the one doing the apparent giving. But it is evident from your face that you received back too.
In some of your video's you look tired and stressed (of course you have every reason to be), but to see you smile here is wonderful. You look younger that smile suits you.


Thank you :)
You are right. For me, this was one birthday present. It had been a while since I last felt so excited with company. I have grown increasingly asocial/antisocial(?), but these children really worked their magic. There was even a mangy little dog who did not desert us and was sort of participating in every activity. During snack time it came to me with such an authoritarian bark, bigger than itself.
Everything converged here to give us joy and hope.
Ironically, and I did not recognize it at the moment, this was the same barrio where some 25 years ago I came along with a group of fellow undergrads for a field work. It was a "new invasion" then and people were hopeful they would get their houses built. It wasn't chavez time yet, but he'd come soon after and use places like this as an example of the unfulfilled promises of democracy. He promised to change that and look at this 25 years later.
I know people can get used to the damnedest of things and make homes of the most unusual places, but still they deserve better.
To see these children transmit so much energy, excitement, and enthusiasm despite their suroundings is a transformative experience.