Planting a Seed
Dear Friends of the Children of Cusco, Peru:
First, I would like to deliver my sincere thankfulness to all the benefactors who support financially and prayerfully the Andean Mountain children in Yanaoca, Cusco. In the prayer of our children and parents of our Children’s House Project, we remember you for all the blessings of Jesus Christ.
T’ikariy is a Quechua word which means to grow up, flourish and blossom. Quechua is an Inca tribal language. To blossom, flourish and grow in our life, we always begin from a small seed. As the small seed grows, it needs nature, the wonders of God’s creation such as water, sun, air and so on. The seeds of the children, likewise, need nutrition, protection, and education to grow, blossom and flourish in life. T’ikariy House is the name of the children’s house in Yanaoca, Cusco.
We use T’ikariy to encourage, motivate and animate everyone around the project for the children. Since our beginning in 2015, the children of T’ikariy House have seemed to grow up little by little with several learning classes such as Catechism, Handcraft, Mini-Chef (cooking) and a music class with video. The House is open Wednesday through Friday and also on Sunday from 2:30 p.m. until 5 p.m. The children enter the house through the front door at 2:15 p.m. Then they wash their hands before entering the main classroom and change their shoes to indoor shoes.
There are three classes with different age groups. Amor is for children 4-6 years old; Solidaridad is for children 7-9 years old, and and Responsabilidad is for children 9-12 years old. Each class starts with opening prayers in the prayer room. After finishing their prayers, four responsible teachers (Benigna, Carina, Harry, Yesica) of T’ikariy House lead the children into each classroom based on the group ages.
Until January 2019, 42 children were participants in Tikariy house. Actually there were more children who wanted to register, but the Tikariy house could not give them an opportunity to play and learn because of lack of the space and teachers. It was especially difficult to find teachers who were available all day throughout the week.
Benigna and Carina come to T’ikariy House in Yanaoca from a distant village. Sometimes they have to walk for an hour to get a small combi (mini-bus) to get to Yanaoca. And Harry and Yesica are students of Teacher’s University of Cusco. When they have transportation problems or some classes or exam period in the University, it is complicated for them to make a schedule to come to the T’ikariy House for any amount of time, much less all day long. For this reason, the T’ikariy program is only four days a week, for two-and-a-half hours, and is open on Sunday.
In order to continue to blossom the flower of the children’s spiritual hearts, intelligent minds and physical conditions, the four teachers try to dedicate their own minds and hearts for the T’ikariy programs in spite of their own difficult situations. We are only able to provide a small allowance for them is to help them to maintain their households.
Along with four basic classes of the children in T’ikariy House, the teachers organized a retreat program for the children and their parents in December 2018 where they prayed and enjoyed the retreat with their children. The parents walked together and embraced their sons and daughters with their sincere hearts. The parents who used not to have their time for their children were together as a happy family to blossom their flowers of peace and love in one family. The parents sincerely expressed their thankfulness to everyone who made the program possible.
Compared to last year, the parents are more involved in T’ikariy House programs of the children. Now the parents accompany more frequently their children to bring their children to the T’ikariy House even though they have to work every day to support the family economically. And also, more parents come to participate in the family workshops on nonviolence, child protection and so on. T’ikariy House pays for the speakers for the workshops with donations we have received.
For over a year, the T’ikariy House planned to make a grass yard in front of the main classroom building for the children’s playground. In order to make a grass yard, the house walls at the side of several houses needed to be reconstructed. Four workers who were employed by the teachers worked hard to complete the wall construction and the grass yard. From the suggestion of the teachers, then, the T’ikariy House put a roof at the entrance of the classroom building in order to have more space for the children and to protect the children from rain and hailstones. The teachers and the parents conveyed their gratefulness for the help of all the benefactors that helped to make a better environment for their children.
Every year, ususally in January and February, the Tikariy House plans for summer school. In 2019 as well, the teachers programed and organized several classes including Mathematics, Communication, Music, Handcrafts, Radio Broadcast, Traditional Dance, Recycling, Computer, Cooking, and Physical Education. For these classes, the T’ikariy House teachers invited four professional teachers from the university and nine assistant tutors with almost twenty-two university students volunteering to run the programs.
To complete the classes, they needed a lot of materials for 42 children who registered to the summer school this year. The T’ikariy House used donations to buy the materials for the classes. The parents wanted to be more involved in the T’ikariy House program, so they also helped to pay for the summer school teachers. They provided approximately twenty dollars.
In addition, the T’ikariy House grows flowers and raises hens. The parents and the children take care of the flowers and hens along with help from the teachers. When I look at the flowers blossoming and the hens looking after the T’ikariy House, it makes me remember all the supporters in my sincere prayers to let them be in peace, love and wisdom of Holy Spirit.
The T’ikariy House wishes you may be always with God’s blessing and joy of Jesus.
Columban Fr. Young-In Kim is in the Parish of Santiago Apostol in Yanaoca, Cusco, Peru.