Posted by: Ali | December 8, 2009

A Special Christmas

Our internet is down so I can’t upload pictures at the moment but the theme of the week seems to be children with special needs.

When I went downtown on Saturday there was a big event going on in the main square, Plaza de Armas, with a stage and a band and a television crew and a large crowd of people.  It was proclaiming itself to be “Teletón 2009,” which I’m pretty sure was at least partially a campaign to sell fruitcake (the Spanish for fruitcake is “panetón”).  In any case, they were raising money for Hogar Clinica San Juan de Dios, an organization that we work with in Cusco!  And they ended up raising 1.8 million soles, which is about $700,000 CAD.  Also, about 80% of these donations were made by average people, not corporations or the government.  Yay people care!

Yesterday, I went with Kate to her placement at Manos Especiales, and stayed with her for most of the morning, which trust me was an adventure.  I have never really spent much time in a special needs classroom, but I’m pretty sure they’re usually a little different than this one.  I found some intriguing practices including tying children to chairs to stop them from wandering off.  Kate said that this was weird but understandable given that the school didn’t have one-on-one aides and stuff.

Today I was reading on the news and the US Ambassador threw one of those really fancy high-society parties for the special needs children of Lima (sadly Manos Especiales was not invited) which was, you know, sponsored by Starbucks and Coca-Cola and all those other people that want to look like they’re making the world a better place.  Anyways though, it sounded like it was a really fun thing for the kids, and very festive.  Yay Christmas cheer!


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