“As a volunteer at Pachamama I was thrilled to participate in a very special day on Friday 7th of March. The permanent team: Kate, Chris, Nixiwaka and Werner, had invited a group of children from the neighbourhood for a very exciting afternoon. We welcomed seven kids aged around five to eleven years, with a tailor made program: name games to get to know each other, invasive tree pulling, planting of two endemic trees in the mandala garden and marimba class.
When the kids arrived, I was intrigued by their calm and shy nature. I was expecting them to arrive running around and shouting, but they were curiously looking around them, sticking together and smiling silently.
In order to help us to get to know each other, and reassure them, we all sat in a circle and played a name game. Each of us was to throw a pine cone, saying their name first and then the name of the person receiving. There was quite a bit of laughing involved as their names were very unknown to us, and so were ours to them!
As the kids were starting to feel confident, we could feel their energy level rise, so we took them to the pulling location. I was personally really shocked by the number of little wattle trees all around us! The kids put a lot of effort in helping us clear the space. It was inspiring to watch them laugh and pull all together!
After having pulled the invasive trees so intently out of the earth, we offered to return two native trees to the ground. We held hands in a circle to connect to the nature and planted the trees all together. The strong little boy offered to go fetch the watering can, to water the new trees, to help them get over the shock and feel at home in their new place.
Yet the sun was burning hard on that afternoon, so we returned to the kitchen, where the volunteers had prepared popcorn and lemonade for a well deserved break before heading to the Opa for the music lesson. Bradley, one of the volunteers, was so talented in his approach to teaching the kids. He held a beautiful introduction to playing marimba. It was incredible to witness the kids gain in confidence while playing! Some of them were scrupulously following instructions, while others were just living the beat and going solo! Others preferred the drums and showed their natural sense of rhythm. This moment was extremely intense and special for the harmony and energy I could feel filling the space.
Finally the kids were invited to jump into the dam, and I could finally see them running, screaming, jumping, splashing and playing as kids always do in the water!
By the end of the day, I accompanied them to their homes, I could feel how Kate and Chris had gained their trust. They kept asking if they could come back the next day to play again.
I feel blessed to have been invited to participate in such a day for various reasons:
It was incredible to watch the kids gain confidence and have such a beautiful time.
By creating a safe environment and helping the kids feel comfortable I witnessed that they were very open and receptive to what we had to share: music of course but also about nature and its cycles, about ecology, permaculture, and reforestation.
Taking a holistic approach to teaching them about nature, the team was giving them idea’s for how they can help to be part of a wave of change to empower their community in a beautiful way.
Connecting through music these kids were discovering new skills, ways of expression and spending quality time together.
Also this initiative fits in perfectly into the mission and vision of Pachamama: creating a viable holistic model of land restoration, community living and teaching.
The marimbas the kids played on were all built by Nixiwaka in the workshop here at Pachamama. You can find out more about what is happening on the land in future articles about: clearing invasive species, collecting and replanting native trees (two thousand), restoring the soils and landscape and more, stay tuned!”
Written by Katharina Paris, a volunteer at Pachamama travelling from Luxembourg, Europe.
Text and Pictures by: Katharina Paris
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