Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Update from Uruguay - We're at camp!

Playing volleyball in San Jose


Tara, Marjan and I have access to a computer and internet right now so we thought we´d update you on our trip to San Jose, and how life at Camp Artigas is going so far.

On Friday, Feb 11, 2012 we arrived in San Jose. We got to visit ¨La Casita¨ where a lot of their social programs for kids and youth are run. We got to sit in on a First Aid class happening there (not run to certify the youth, simply just to give them knowledge). We learned that La Casita is a second home to about 120 youth, who use the facility to do homework, study, have something to eat, brush their teeth, plant an organic garden and play games. As of now, the Casita consists of 4 classrooms, a kitchen, an office and a bathroom. They have an outside area to play in, but it doesn´t belong to them (they are hoping to purchase it), as well as they have an outdoor organic garden which they grow food that they use to cook. We were happy to find out that the Casita was made possible because of the strong partnership with the Winnipeg Y, growing over the past 40 years. 

"What time is it Mr. Shark?" on the beach!
We visited the other branch of the Y in San Jose which was the gym, workout area and pool. Carla, the CEO, hosted a BBQ with all the leaders and employees of the Y there to welcome us. 

During our stay in San Jose we stayed with Fernando Ramos, the vice-president of the board of the San Jose Y. Fernando and his family were very hospitable and welcoming to us.

After the weekend in San Jose, we came to camp on a school bus with a group of campers and leaders. The bus ride began at 8am, and was nothing short of 2 drums, a tambourine, singing and laughter. Oh, and there was also a megaphone in the mix. About half way through the trip, a herd of cows started to run towards the bus! We slowed down and waited for the cows to separate to the sides of the road. We started to speed up again, only to see they were quick to turn around and herd with the bus. 

First aid class
Camp Artigas is very rustic and beautiful. There are an abundance of eucalyptus trees, a river and sandy beaches. There are four main zones with cabins and bathrooms. We are staying in the central zone. The main activities during the day are beach games, boating, canoeing, zip-lining, and games in the forest. There are also some arts and crafts. There are coordinators and camp employees here, but the leaders run the show. We have been able to incorporate our ideas, games, and songs from home with the groups. The heat during the afternoon is very trying. Tonight some of the groups will be sleeping in tents after cooking super on a bonfire (supper here is at the earliest 9pm). We´ve only been here for a few days (including our time last week), the camp in deep in tradition and so far we´ve barely scratched the surface. 

We´re not sure when we will have access to a computer again, however when we do we will be sure to send another update. Tara is also able to send pictures through her phone when she has a chance.

We hope all is well back at home!


Tara, Marjan and Kristen

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