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2016 (Aug/Oct) 2nd Mission Trip (2 of 7) – Knitting classes & more

15 August, Monday (continued) – While most of us were away having fun at Huacachina, Jo Ann Hill, Lily Silverthorn & Caroline Seacor all went into Ica to find a knitting store.  And did they ever find one!!!  The store proprietor made a big sale on this day!!  Jo Ann said she went into a ‘yarn stupor’ when she found this store!

So time for the Hearts and Hands classes to begin!!!

We were all set up for a begin time of 2pm for youth and 3pm for adults.  As these first days always have wrinkles, especially when set up in a foreign language, a continent away and 6 months ago, things didn’t initially flow just right.  And then of course there is that ‘Peruvian time’ factor where people say THIS time and show up at ThAt time.  

But with a little work, and getting a few names that we knew were on the list engaged, it all came back to them and then poof … like priming a pump. We got 4 or 5 in and then the rest showed up. We had a total of 21 young children for the first class which was larger than committed!

The children were focused on using the looms, which are great for making hats, scarfs and other common used knitted items.  And the loom is easy to train on.  

We had a good mix of girls and boys that actually signed up for the training.  Having Yadera, Lily & Theresa as translators was of extreme help  (impossible without).  

Jo Ann would give a welcoming message and a short group orientation session (all translated of course); Then Jo Ann would “police” the tables and translators would help to communicate the corrections, or instructions.The afternoon classes for adults will focus on crocheting skills with a primary intended audience of adults.  We used a Youtube video for this training session.  To make room for the adults downstairs, the children moved themselves upstairs. 

We seemed to have more facilities to teach in and more students interested in learning than we had teachers to go around.  The afternoon session was a great showing as well of 15 adults, so 36 or so for the day.  Many happy faces and a great deal of skills transfer.  We predict a much larger crowd tomorrow.

Although 15 wasn’t the entire list of adults who said they were interested when we polled many months ago, it was a great number which utillized the full extent of the crew that came down to train, especially with overlapping the children and adult sessions for a bit.  
In fact if there were more we were worried how it would be accomplished. And since after Tuesday, with many of our crew leaving for Machu Piccu, we will see how this works for Wednesday through Friday.  Anyway, great problems to have!!
Overall we had a fantastic turnout of near 40 people and turned quite a few heads, and had a lot of folks go home very impressed with what they were able to learn.  We look forward to their return tomorrow, as well as they perhaps passing the word to others.  
But then again, there’s that ‘problem’ of success .. we are hurting for teachers.

16 August, Tuesday –  Another new day, ready for new surprises.  After today we loose Gracie Rosberg and her family as well as Theresa and Nico, who will leave for Machu Piccu Wednesday morning.  But we are looking forward to a great day today.

Took a better breakfast photo of the Rosbergs & Wanings, since the last one posted was a bit out of focus.  

Deborah, Greta, Yadera & Caroline do some morning worship harmonizing and it was beautiful.  Have a short video of it, with little Pia running up and giving them crackers while they sang.  Will try to locate. 
Trying to adjust a bit from yesterday, and feeling that the youth got cut short yesterday when the adults showed up, we thought we would start them upstairs this time to cut down on the chaos a bit during the cut over.  
We still have a limited number of instructors to go around, so having both the youth and adult sessions going on simultaneously will have its challenges.  So, we have multiple rooms on the 2nd floor where we will table the youth and see how that works. Problem being to start with is that today we have 29 youth versus yesterday’s 21. 
And today we have 19 adults versus the 15 of yesterday!!  Success!!   We have a lot of very busy mothers working quite diligently and learning a lot.  

Some of their daughters are wearing some of the handiwork that their mothers produced.  Still challenged a bit with limited teachers and expecting babysitting services that we can’t afford to do. 

So we will be drafting some of the youth at the mission perhaps for this duty tomorrow.  Great challenges, very busy days, and the problems we are having are due to success.  Excellent 2nd day as well as first.   Jo Ann is very happy!! 

After a busy day, we relax a bit.  Some of the kids come over and they give their goodbyes to Nico, checking out some of his silly video creations as well.  Nico made many acqaintances at the Mission.  Hope he can come back sometime in the near future. 

17 August, Wednesday – We gave our goodbyes to the Rosbergs and Wanings this morning as they moved on after breakfast to catch a noon bus to Lima, for their side trip to Machu Pichu tomorrow.  We will sourlly miss them, especially since Grace is one crackerjack kniitter, and Theresa is a needed translator, as well as all the other help that the rest of them have given.  Today we run with a far tighter crew.  

We did many chores in the morning, and had lunch.  Then shortly after lunch we had an expected Orthodontics visitor from Ica.  Dr Melanie Parker, of San Diego has been kind enough to provide all the materials needed for orthodontics work for two young girls here in the village.  We found a volunteer orthodontics dentist, Jose Carrasco (SmileDentica), at our partner church in Ica.  Together with the material donations from Dr Parker and the volunteer work from Dr Carrasco, we hope to give Kelly Ramirez & Luciana Gallegos Astorga a beautiful smile.  

Dr Carrasco met the girls today at the Mission. In a few days they get mouth models made, Saturday they get whole mouth photos/X-rays. Some cavity work will be needed first and Dr Carrasco is going to donate that work as well.  We promise to keep Dr Parker posted as their progress. We are blessed to know these two volunteer medical workers . God bless you both.  

Our third day of teaching knitting and crocheting gets underway, but this time with a greatly depleted staff.  Today we got a little break with the youth students dropping from 29 to 24, but it seemed that many of them had little tag-a-long siblings that needed babysitting so that sort of washed the ‘break’.  Anyway, it went well though, and we kept them in training as long as possible, overlapping with the adult program downstairs until we needed the workers all to work with one group.  So much was accomplished. The Adults came in at 4pm and different than the youth group, this group grew again.  From 15 to 19 and now to 27!  Who knows how many tomorrow.  

So on paper, we broke the 50 person/day level, but we think more are coming in than are being recorded, so perhaps 60!!A very successful day.  During all the activity inside, and considering we were running short of teachers and aids, I had to double down on the role of corraling the ‘little ones’ so the ‘adulto’s’ could learn to knit and crochet uninterrupted.

 This was a risky business that nearly took my life.  What I won’t do for the cause.

18 August, Thursday  Note from Jo Ann Hill:“First off… please pray for one of the team who has been sick for 2 days! (Secondly) Tomorrow we have an extra long session with the ever expanding number of women but first Lily and I are making an early trip to the Mercado in Ica for more yarn. Yup…I said MORE yarn.

We gave them an extra half hour today (Wednesday) but they refused to leave, It is a beautiful problem to have.The mission has rocked every night with laughter, learning. sharing and making friends.Yarn has been flying and we try to teach as many new things as possible but are running out of time. 

Deborah felt a bit better today and we ran out to the back yard to cut my hair. But it drained her and she had to go back to bed. Please pray feverently as she needs to travel Sat morning to Lima by bus then Sat night we fly back (13 hours). More later.”Statistics for today: 25 youth and 35 adults!!!   What a session!!


19 August, Friday – Before our daily knitting session, the youth come by for early hugs and goodbyes knowing this is the Hearts and Hands last day at the Mission. They definitely don’t want them to leave. They then went home and got out of their school uniforms and many returned for the last day of training. 

One last day of training.  We decided to isolate the children down to just those that had major projects that needed finishing up, and all others to not be allowed to participate.  This is mainly due to a lack of teachers and a need to have one last final well staffed and informative session for adults. But although this let a lot of people that came on the last day and wanted to start a new project disappointed, it led to some great teaming, training, organized teaching and further success of the overall trip.  

Mariana was a fast learner on the loom earlier in the week so we are grooming her as a youth trainer.  We had her and one male ‘trainer’, both left with looms unfinished, and four others for them to guide to a finish on this last day with the Hearts & Hands instructors. On her own initiative, Mariana used her own loom to coach her friend Jennifer Smit (picture) to learn the technique while she worked on a chain knit she was learning. 

It was great planning to focus on the adults on this last day, concentrating all the training and translation talent on the one floor, while still letting those children with projects well underway to finish.  Lots of new information was relayed and a lot of great relationships were nurtured and skills moved forward.  We are much farther along seeing how this might sustain itself and slowly grow at the mission as a vocational and recruiting and complementary activity.

Near the end of todays session we asked for a raise of hands of those that might want to continue and to help us continue it by taking a leadership role.  We had 3-4 names, many of which we have been talking with.  We also have two strong candidates for youth leadership that show good teaching skills and are fast learners and really seem to like the craft. 

What was refreshing to see also was that we had a good number of boys that took to learning how to knit.  The girls were in both the knit and crochet classes, but still a large number of boys and one that is a leader.We are excited that there is a cross-gender appeal, where last time we were here and the city was running dance lessons for the annual harvest festival, we couldn’t find a single boy to join.  This seems to appeal to them differently, and it is a great alternative to all the things that young children, especially boys, get in trouble with at this age.

Now the hard part comes.Time to say goodbye.  

It’s been a very busy heartfelt week and Jo Ann Hill and her team have put their heart and soul into everything.  They were ecstatic after the first day as to the reception and every day improved on the last.  
Some emotional farewell words were said by Jo Ann with translation by Lily or Yadera.  And a lot of hugs and good byes but a subtle promise to make efforts to return very soon!!  
We have a lot of materials now left and some new recruits to take the  leadership of starting a ‘hearts & hands Peru’ group here at the mission.  New projects can hopefully start this coming week with the new leadership getting started.  This was overall a fantastic event.
20 August, Saturday – Got up really early to see all our Hearts & Hands ladies off.  Being that there were 5 of them and Lily was going with them as far as Lima, Lily had to climb in the ‘boot’ at least as far as Ica where they caught the bus.   The mission says good bye but will expect to hear again from H&H and will definitely be reporting back on all the training that they gave and the materials they left to be used.  Thank you ladies for your dedication!!  Travel safe!! 

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