I first visited this wonderful kindergarten, in a neighbourhood Barracas, earlier in February. The school term had yet to begin and Buenos Aires was emerging out of the extended summer vacation period. When I returned early April, I was expecting it to be just as peaceful but boy was I wrong! The kindergarten was loud, chaotic and bustling with activity. The best word to describe it would be ‘alive’. Babies crying, children laughing, women singing while cooking in the kitchen. It was a whole different world than I remembered it to be.
I decided to devote at least one day a week to head down to help with the little ones. Perhaps one of my better decisions made to date. The day starts off slow and peaceful but that soon changes right after the kids have an early morning snack. They can barely sit still in their little chairs for 15 minutes before they’re running off. They have a rather odd fascination with the little chairs they sit on. They drag and push the chairs across the room despite orders not to do so. But you can’t really blame them can you? Curiosity always gets the best of us sometimes.
Refueled and energized, they waddle around the room, touching and grabbing everything in their reach. I was under the impression that it would take a while before they warmed up to someone new. All it took was for me to sit in the middle of their play area and they’d come up to me in turns or all at once. The joy of being surrounded by all these wonderful kids made waking up at 7 in the morning worth it. I’ve never been a big fan of soiled diapers or snot but I found myself wiping their snot or picking them up when they needed their nappies changed. I think it would take a lot more for me to actually change their nappies.
Some of these little ones can’t even walk just yet and require constant supervision. It’s a lot of hard work especially after lunch and trying to put them all to sleep. One starts crying, another tries to run off instead of being put to sleep, another starts getting agitated and tries to disturb another child who is already asleep. It’s chaotic and it takes a lot from a person to keep an eye on every kid. I can’t possibly imagine how these two women take care of them all every single day. I have nothing but respect and admiration for them. They’re tired and worn out but the love they have for the children surpasses any negative energy.
They gave me a little gift and a thank you note. But really, it should be me thanking them for such a wonderful experience. And me thanking them for showing me how important it is to devote your time to doing something you love.