The children at Globalteer’s Peru Community Project were in for a real treat when they turned up at Picaflor House last Monday. Unbeknownst to them, staff and volunteers had been clearing and levelling ground for several weeks in preparation for a big surprise, and when they arrived on Monday morning, a fabulous new playground was there to greet them.
Normally the gardens of Picaflor House would be filled simply with the sound of laughter from children playing, or kicking a football between the new goal posts, but last week the secret delivery of a slide, two swings, three see-saws and a climbing frame set the wheels in motion to transform the dusty grounds into a fully-fledged playground.
The playground was the brain child of former Globalteer volunteer Katie Borg, a Spanish teacher from Leeds, England who spent two weeks at Picaflor House in 2011. Following her time in Oropesa Katie returned to work at Kettlethorpe High School in Wakefield determined to continue supporting the project she had fallen in love with. For the Year eight children at her school, Picaflor became the perfect destination for the £1238.55 (almost US$ 2,000) they raised through a range of activities they undertook for the school’s Children in Need Fundraising Project.
Initially Katie was happy to let the project decide on how to spend the money, telling Annie Irving, Globalteer’s Project Manager for South America,
“[The year eight kids] did all sorts of activities to raise money for this fantastic project…we hope you enjoy spending it on something really worthwhile for those lovely children in Oropesa.”
But Katie’s students soon had their own ideas when they saw photos of the Picaflor House children enjoying an afternoon at the local fun park. They decided their real wish was to build a playground for the Picaflor kids, and this week their vision became a reality, promising even more fun and laughter every playtime for the children of Oropesa.
Various volunteers at the project helped to clear and level part of the grounds in preparation for the new playground equipment and a local man was employed to undertake the final construction of the playground equipment over the weekend.
Annie explained how the surprise unfolded:
“We hadn’t told the kids what was happening – we wanted it to be a surprise. And what a surprise! You can see from the photos of the broadly grinning faces just how excited our kids were when they came to school today.
"Thank you to everyone involved in this wonderful initiative, particularly Jonny Dennis for his back-breaking work clearing and levelling the ground where the equipment now stands, and a HUGE thank you to Katie and the wonderful kids at Kettlethorpe High! Your efforts have brought great joy to kids who don’t often experience that emotion in their lives. We at Picaflor House are all extremely grateful to you for your fundraising efforts”.
If you would like to find out more about volunteering at Picaflor House please visit our Volunteer Peru Community Project Page, or the Picaflor House website.