Volunteering and a trip to Prison

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September 18th 2008
Published: May 16th 2011
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Hey all!!

Monday was a great day at the Salud Mental, first we had a mini-physio session where we rolled out mats and helped the kids to roll/crawl/tumble their way down them. We took one of the girls, Maria Fernanda, down to the shop to help us buy some fruit for lunch, and then the usual encouraging them to sit still to eat! In the afternoon there was older kids in, two of whom had autism, and we tried different activities such as music and dance. I worked two shifts at the Salud Mental again on wednesday, sports activities in the morning with a lot of throwing balls around randomly, and then a quiet teo hours playing board games with the older children.

Today I had a different experience when I joined Julien at Yanmilla Prison. We had to bring our passports and had our arms stamped three times on our way through. Julien works with the women rather than with the men, but the whole place is less like a prison than it's own community. The women's yard is like a plaza with laundry hanging out to dry, toilets, sinks and a place to cook, and women and children sitting under shelters knitting and sewing all kinds of crafts to sell!! Children are allowed to stay with their mothers until they are five, nobody wears uniforms, and the women operate shops out of their cells. It's crazy but brilliant. Up to 80% of the women prisoners in Yanmilla are there for carrying drugs as they needed the money, so the volunteer program has been primarily concerned with teaching the women skills so they can support themselves and their families. Julien had been teaching a few of the women martial arts and self-defence skills. I of course spent the day chatting and playing with the children!

Headed out for dinner tonight for Jenny's leaving party, but it was an early enough night. Jungle trip tomorrow!!!


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