ACIC would like to continue our intern follow up by featuring Ciera DeSilva who in Canada was working with Chalice and in Peru, Ciera has been working with Centro Esperanza (CE; ‘Hope Centre’). For more information on these organizations, and to read Ciera's original blog, please click here.
Let's see what Ciera has to say about her internship so far!
1 - What has your internship been like for you so far?
My internship at Centro Esperanza (CE; ‘Hope Centre’) has been a string of, joy-filled experiences. Six days a week I help or teach at homework help, English, art, or skill-building sessions and youth groups. I am trying to lessen the traditional divide between “teacher” and “student” by instilling confidence in each person so they feel free to express themselves. I am inspired by the enthusiasm for learning and life and sheer talent that individuals from (economically) poor environments display.
There is never a dull moment in Chiclayo in between translating, going to Civil Society events and helping at various CE events. As a recent graduate, I feel well-respected and trusted to complete my work; I think part of this treatment is because I am from a “developed” country.
A Field Review by Chalice teams from Canada and Bolivia permitted me a deeper understanding of what international development is about—namely, solidarity. Coming to learn about the nearly 10-year relationship between CE and Chalice and the successes made possible by countless hours of work by both NGOs and community member participants was humbling.
I am also learning about Peruvian culture through living with a very affectionate host family and playing violin among Peruvian musicians. An opportunity to travel to Cuzco and Machu Picchu with a Peruvian friend permits me a better understand of and appreciation for Peru’s stunning beauty and diversity.
2 - How is it different from what you expected? And how is it like what you expected?
Soon after my arrival, the CE team became a community and family. I am still coming to understand how the dedicated team of women at Centro Esperanza has persevered to create change and become one of the most respected local NGOs.
I was not sure how faith would tie into CE’s work; now I understand the belief in the “Preferential Option for the Poor” in which we see every person as an individual that deserves a dignified life. By helping the poor liberate themselves from the violence that is poverty by teaching skills and values; and educating them about their rights and how to defend them, they are becoming active community members and agents of change.
I didn’t expect to see the benefits of the Chalice’s annual Gift Catalogue in the greater region, but I now know that CE shares these donations with other local NGOs. Yesterday I visited an optometry store where 45 deserving individuals will be fitted with glasses and met a farmer who discussed how donated animals have been improving lives in his community.
3 - What do you predict the rest of the internship will look like?
My last major projects will be helping with a large-scale purchase of children’s books and formalizing a mini rotating library; and with carrying out events to promote the importance of play in children and leadership in youth. I will conclude workshops alongside my fellow staff and help with Christmas outings and retreats. I am looking forward to spending quality time with my host family and coworkers over the holidays, reflecting on my experiences and formalizing educational tools and activities I have made so they can later be used by my coworkers.
Thanks, Ciera! See you soon!