Today was the last day at the Pumamarca school for many of us volunteers. Knowing this would be the last time that I would see the school and the children (for now, anyway), I was plagued by a feeling of melancholy from the moment I woke up in the morning. I taught my English class (the lesson was on nouns describing the human body), then helped with the Physical Education class and hygiene—my favorite part of our routine, and one last opportunity to see the kids lined up at the outdoor sink ready to have us dry them carefully and then apply the hand and face cream. It was also one last time to see several of the children get in line for a second time—even though they were already clean and dry—just because they love the activity as much as we do.
After classes, we had a small assembly to say farewell to those of us who are leaving. The school director gave a speech, the students sang, and then the kids presented us with flowers and cards. At the end, each child gave us hugs and goodbye kisses. I’m really going to miss their smiling faces, their joyful laughter, their openness, and their unbridled curiosity.
After school, we went to Hernan’s house to continue the work there. The house is really coming along and will soon be ready for the roof. I am sorry I won’t be here to see the completion of that work, but knowing that another group of volunteers are on their way—and that Ginny and Iris are overseeing the work—I trust that it will be completed in no time and that Hernan, Darwin, and Juri will soon be in a more healthy, stable home situation.
I’m really going to miss this place.