We arrived at Project Manuelito in Talanga yesterday and enjoyed seeing how different it is compared with the cities we have been staying in. It’s like going back a few decades.

blogaugust5We started our first day by having breakfast with a few of the young boys we got chatting to and played football with the day before.  Followed by a quick meeting with Justin (who helps run the project) about what we would be doing during the week.

After the meeting Alex and I volunteered in the kitchen to help some of the girls prepare lunch, accompanied by some traditional salsa music as we cut vegetables.

Once we had finished helping the chicas cook lunch we starting writing session plans for Jorge who is the P.E. teacher here as he wanted some help with the girls football this week. He has taken the opportunity for us to run the sessions this week so he can see how we run training in England, so he can take out things he likes for when we leave.

blogaugust6After Bebe D and I finished a few session plans we headed back to our room and saw a huge line of children waiting to go in the office. The children were being given a brand new pair of shoes each which were confiscated by the police or custom officials as they are fake copies of Nike shoes, so someone in America donates over 800 pairs of shoes to the project.

It was great to see the delight in all of the excited children’s face’s. it is clear to see that its not often they are given something brand new straight of the box.

For the rest of the day we got to know a few of the children here and about their background.

We both got chatting to a girl called Sider who speaks good English and found out that she has been at the project since she was 1 years old and now she is 16. She came to the project as her mother wasn’t able to take care of her as her father is none existent, so her mother cannot provide for her and all of her brothers and sisters.

A boy called Marcelo also took a liking to Alex and I, he’s a vibrant and smiley young man and is keen to learn English and takes every opportunity to play football or volley football with us. Marcelo is one of 16 children and has been here since he was a toddler. His like many mothers is unable to take care of all of her children so he and a few of his siblings came to the project for a more sustainable and fulfilling life with a good education.

blogaugust4At lunch I was called over by a happy young man called Nelson who rides to and from school on a horse. Which me and alex found hilarious as he was using a blanket and rope instead of a saddle. This shows the differences in culture and was quite nice to see and innocent young man galloping home.

Straight after dinner we played  11 aside football match with the older boys from the project. Which was a good bit of competitive exercise.  And most importantly it was good to give the Latin boys a bit of English muscle which they aren’t used to! I thought it was only necessary to put a few of the boys who were flexing their muscles earlier in the day on their back. After being beaten 8-1 and getting very emotional like little ninos they warmed up as we chilled with them for the rest of the evening.

Overall Alex and I have had an exciting and relaxing first day at Project Manualito and are eager to make positive relationships with the children here for the rest of the week.