2013-12-26

A child in the Kindergarten

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Isabel de Bertodano and Henry Rossi from a small town in England seized an opportunity and came to Buenos Aires bringing their one year old toddler with them. Their volunteer project was dedicating their time to a local kindergarten center called Los Pinitos. They arrived having little expectations knowing that they wanted to contribute and to give their daughter a cultural experience. Los Pinitos is located in Jose Leon Suarez, about a block from shanty town called Villa La Carcova. This kindergarten was founded by Cecilia, a local from the area. The center has anywhere from 7 to 20 children managed by two local volunteers in the morning and 2 local volunteers in the afternoon, one being Cecilia’s sister. The family had a long daily journey by train roughly 50 minutes to the outskirts of the city and then a short bus trip. At the center, Isabel spent time teaching children English songs and reading English and Spanish books translating them from English to Spanish if necessary. The children loved the books especially the pictures in the books and by all means appreciated the personal attention given by Isabel. Nina picked up Spanish and adapted well with the children, explained both Isabel and Henry, even secured a play buddy named Iara. Both Isabel and Henry, observed that children were not allowed to go play outside. Perhaps, it was the lack of teachers, safe management and large number of children that prevented this from happening. What they did know is that children ought to be able to play outside! Soon after, Henry observed that he could possibly change that with some work to the yard. As a current artist and wood worker in UK, he saw a potential in the area outside. He began collecting scrap wood and other supplies and constructed a small fence separating the kindergarten center from the house occupied by Liliana Cecilia's mother thus allowing a proper play area for the children. Additionally, he put up a swing set that had been sitting there abandoned for some time and cleaned up the rubble in the area.

It seems every week Henry found new ways to improve the yard hoping that one day children like his daughter Nina could happily play safely outside. Isabel and Henry are hopeful that changes done in the yard will be sufficient, only time and follow-up on this project will determine this. In addition to their contribution to the center and playground, Isabel and Henry realize that their daughter Nina is extremely lucky to have been born in a small town of England rather than an overflowing shantytown in Buenos Aires. As Nina grows, they will teach her to be appreciative of the things she has and to be understanding of other cultures and all they have to offer.

 

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