Yesterday, we worked with (and partied with!) the larger group of people with learning disabilities from Nuevas Fuerzas and taught them how to make paper beads. They all seemed to enjoy learning a new skill and getting rather gluey! And they had produced some fantastic snazzy beads by the end of the morning. After lunch, they had a party (Peru is an amazing place to go if you like a good party. They have a wonderful way of celebrating all kinds of occasions!) and we got to join in with all the singing and dancing. There was no escape, even for us awkward British folk! But once we got over our initial reluctance, we had a lot of fun and we even attempted to follow some of their Peruvian dance steps. I was really struck by the beautiful energy of this group. Their name is Nuevas Feurzas, which means New Strength. It is a reference to a verse in the Bible that talks about God renewing our strength. It couldn't be more relevant! Like the verse in the Bible, these young people seem able to "run and not grow weary". They continued to dance, even after the party seemed to be coming to an end. Meeting this amazing group of people was a massive encouragement to me. Only a couple of days ago, one of the women at the church was telling me that people with disabilities are often hidden away at home in Peru, so it was fantastic to see that this can change. The participants came with their mothers, who enjoyed having some time to relax during the craft session and also having the chance to join in the party fun. There was a real atmosphere of joy and everyone clearly felt at home. It is hard to fully describe (even for an English graduate who likes words...), so here are a few photos, which hopefully reflect something of the joyousness of the group!
Yesterday I had a little chat with the lovely Debby*. Debby has been coming to CAI Craft Sessions for over a year now. She likes spending time doing craft and various church activities (she is pretty busy at this time of year with plenty of Christmas parties!) When I asked Debby if she had a favourite craft activity, she said "everything". I have now had this same response from several participants, so it seems the crafts are really too enjoyable to choose between! Whilst Debby may not have a favourite craft, she clearly has a gift for beading. I noticed that she often wears a colourful cross necklace; a lady at her church gave her the cross pendant as a present, which Debby turned it into a necklace with multicoloured beads. She tells me she wears it everyday, and it reminds her of her faith. This Thursday she was making a couple of rainbow-coloured necklaces for Christmas gifts. At the end of the session she surprised craft volunteer, Lynn, by giving one to her. Lynn models it beautifully in the photo below!
*names have been changed.
Susie Hart MBE