Emily Bourn - After School Sports in Peru
My Sport Project
I have been in Calca, Peru for about 6 weeks so far, and have loved every minute of it. I am on a Sports placement, focusing mostly on volleyball. In the mornings, I work at Thomas Alva Edison High School. I am the gym teacher there for all grades.
At about 8:30am, I show up to school and am showered with hugs and kisses from the students. All eager for gym class to begin, we make the walk across the street to the Recreation Center. Once there, we run laps, do various exercises, and then focus on our selected sport of the week. Whether it is basketball, volleyball, or soccer, the kids love learning about each sport. At about noon, I leave school and head home for lunch. As I leave, I once again receive hugs and kisses as they wish me a good day.
In the afternoons, myself and two other coaches make our way to the after school volleyball program. There are two different groups. One is here in Calca, and the other is in the small town of San Salvador. Both groups of girls love volleyball! They work hard, enjoy their teammates, and are very grateful to have me and the other coaches there. We run different drills, teach basic skills, and have lots of fun. The girls are quite talented, and always eager to improve.
Ranging in ages from 8 to 14, they are constantly asking me questions about where I am from. In their eyes, the United States is a foreign yet glamorous place. My blonde hair is also very foreign to them. They are constantly stroking it, as well as my clothes, and all the cool gadgets I seem to have. I have grown very close to the girls, as well as the other coaches.
I wouldn’t have been able to do any of this if it wasn’t for Projects Abroad. They put me into a program where I could really thrive. At the end of the day, I feel very accomplished and appreciated. Both the secondary school and the after school programs are small, which allows me to form great relationships. I will forever remember not only the kids, but the teachers as well.
I am also lucky enough to live with an incredible host family who have been there for me since my first day in Peru. I feel welcome in their home, and in their family. They call me their daughter now, and they have become my “padres” here. My host sister, Jhetsamyra, is also in the after school volleyball program. Her energetic, kind spirit draws everyone towards her. We have a blast playing volleyball together, as well as UNO, and various other card games.
All in all, my experience here has been great. I look forward to going to work every day. The support that Projects Abroad provides me is unbeatable. I have received many phone calls, as well as home visits from the supervisors. They make sure that I am feeling healthy, comfortable, and enjoying my work. If there were ever any issues, Projects Abroad would take care of the situation immediately. I am very grateful to have their support throughout my journey here.
I would recommend this program to anyone who loves sports, and loves kids even more. Words cannot describe the excitement that the children show when they see volunteers like us walk through the door. It is such an incredible feeling.