Each month, the staff at Sustainable Bolivia coordinates a día de trabajo (work day) where all the volunteers can join forces and offer the help of a big group to one of its partner organizations.This month, the organization selected was Atendi, a center for children with physical and developmental disabilities.
Atendi, which works to provide a stimulating atmosphere for the children through programs like physiotherapy and hydrotherapy, had a big task for the big group of twelve volunteers who turned out. They were reorganizing several rooms and making improvements to their outdoor yard and garden area.
Volunteers jumped into a variety of different tasks. In one room, a hammock was being hung, requiring some drilling and skilled knot tying. In other rooms, furniture needed moving and shelves needed organizing. The heaviest work was in the garden area, where the center is planning to plant a garden. In each of 16 plots of dirt, bricks and rocks needed to be cleared out, and the soil needed to be turned.
“It was much different from the usual volunteer work that I do on my site at the hospital here,” remarked Renee Flipot from Canada. “Moving bricks was hard work, but it was cool.”
Two other major jobs that the group managed to complete were the construction of a stone pathway bordering the sand pit, and repairing a flagpole that hadn’t been used in a while. Benjamin Benrubi, a volunteer from the U.S., was satisfied with the day’s work. “I think were really productive, more so than I expected. We painted a flagpole and raised it, so now it’s ready to go.”
For several of the volunteers, the most rewarding part of the day was interacting with the center’s children with special needs. Some of the center’s biggest personalities didn’t hesitate in engaging the volunteers and wanting to play. “I had quite fun playing football with the kids,” says Jamie Simmonds from the U.K. “My leg’s a bit cut up now, but it was a good time.”