Let us transmit to you herewith the warm greetings of the children, youths, and their families living at the SOS Children´s Village Río Hondo. I am so pleased to share with you some of the activities carried out during the year in the hope you will know a bit more about our children´s feelings and expectations.
The SOS Children´s Village Río Hondo shelters currently 107 children and their 12 families. We continue to support 40 young people, most of them following technical careers and eager to go forward in life. Gradually they are accomplishing their goals, making new plans and setting new goals for the future. There is always something interesting to do during the summer school holidays. This time they visited several museums and the ‘Magic Circle of Water’ (a group of 13 beautiful water fountains within the boundaries of a big amusement park). Among the favorite outings were the camping trip to the beach and the stay with their families of origin.
In July our Children´s Village celebrated its 31st anniversary. Young people living independently were also part of the celebration, as they had the opportunity to spend a whole day with their SOS families. Local authorities and the principals of the schools the children attend accompanied us too. The village community showed its organizing skills and arranged a beautiful artistic event with music and typical Peruvian dances. This year we had many reasons to feel proud of. One of them is Pedro. He concluded his career as Chef at the CICOTOUR Institute, but before receiving his degree he had to take his degree examination presenting a drink and a dessert made of camu camu, fruit which can be found in the Amazonian rain forest. He got an average grade of 20/20 and impressed the judges with his creativity.
August was a busy month, as we and the neighboring SOS Children´s Village Esperanza organized the Meeting of CONADENNA (National Committee for Children´s and Adolescent Rights) at a local level, where children and youths from 5 different districts of the Province Huarochirí expressed their opinion about rights being disrespected in their community, asking the authorities for their support in order to defend them. Two of the children of our village were elected by the members of their age group 11 – 13 years to represent them at the Regional Meeting. Children in school age were supposed to have just a two week holiday in August, but the holidays lasted over three weeks to prevent swine flu. Fortunately none of the children has been affected by this disease. After the extended midyear holidays all our students went enthusiastically back to school.
On September 9th the community celebrated the Day of the Family with a big open air lunch. The families of the village community did their best to prepare a special lunch, and once again, everyone got involved picking the menu, helping with the cooking or simply setting the big, big table, which they shared with relatives and friends. Spring time announces always many very exciting activities, like spring parades, a whole day in the country club with the family, sport competitions… A football championship started by the end of September in Chosica and our Sub-10 team is made us feel proud with their good performance. They were the 4th best team!
On October 1st the announced visit of two cyclists from Littau-Switzerland took place. Marion and Andre arrived in our Children´s Village representing the Marandi social project on behalf of our Children´s Village. Since the beginning of 2009 they are driving from the southernmost point of South America (Land of Fire) up to the northernmost in North America (Alaska). This charity ride will take about 2 years and they have already visited Argentina, Chile, Perú, Bolivia, and will be riding through Mexico and the United States in December. Their arrival in Canada is programmed for year 2010, and their trip will be concluding in Alaska. Marion and Andre were warmly welcomed by the children not only with big hugs and kisses, but also with beautiful self-made drawings, cards, and banners. The bikers told us about a German young man they met in La Paz, Bolivia, who was very interested in their cause. They explained him what was it about and told him about SOS with such enthusiasm and commitment, that the young man decided to accompany them in their way to Peru. According to their own words, Marion and Andre could not believe that it was possible to get related to someone so fast as they did to their little hosts. When the time came to say good bye, the children asked if they were going to be back soon, and some of them stated that it would be great and very convenient if they could stay forever in Río Hondo. Standing at the front door of the Children´s Village, children and families waved good bye to the nice couple and to their German guest, hoping to see them again one day…
In December our friends from the market chain Plaza Vea visited us bringing lots of presents for the children, who were overjoyed to see their friends again and to receive such nice gifts. On return, besides lots of hugs and kisses, they received beautiful self-made cards signed by all the members of their families. A Christmas crib contest will take place on December 22nd and 23rd. Children, young people, mothers, and aunts will be involved in this interesting activity, and will show their creativity, as this time the challenge will be to manufacture a recycled paper Nativity scene. The jury, built up of three of our SOS friends, will have a hard time trying to choose the best piece of art. The mothers have promised to put into practice what they have learned in a cooking course using nutritious ingredients such as quinoa and maca to prepare the Christmas dinner. As usual, the children will all try to be awake until 12 o´clock, when they will embrace each other and sing Christmas carols around the beautifully decorated tree. Most of them look forward to opening their Christmas presents and going out to enjoy the fireworks. New Year is also worth a big celebration: something nice to eat, much dancing and having fun, but above all, following New Year´s traditions, such as going around the block carrying a suitcase if you want to travel during the coming year, or eating 12 grapes at 12 o´clock if you want to be lucky for the next 12 months.
Thank you once again for your permanent support on behalf of childhood. We wish you all the best for your future plans and hope to keep on counting on your support. If you decide to visit us, we will be waiting for you with open arms!
Jorge Ramírez Aragón
SOS Children´s Village Río Hondo