While cold and a little snow were affecting friends and family at home this past week, Rachel and I were trying to stay cool as we volunteered at an English summer camp in the small town of San Nicolás, which is about an hour and a half north of Concepción.
Going into the camp, we had no idea what to expect — other than that we would be working with high school-aged students.
After arriving to the bus terminal in Chillán last Sunday afternoon, we found a micro (bus) that would take us to the rural bus terminal from the city’s main bus terminal where our Tur Bus dropped us off. When we got to the rural bus terminal, we were immediately greeted with a feria with all kinds of fruits, vegetables, and other tasty-looking goods. We met our group’s monitor and another volunteer at the rural terminal for a bite and then got a ticket to San Nicolás.
After waiting a bit and making sure we had everything we could possibly think we’d need since we knew San Nicolás was a small town, we were off on the rural bus line. In Chilean style, the bus was packed; fortunately we had seats, but several people were standing.
Upon arriving, I truly felt we were in Mayberry. Small specialty shops lined the main highway that ran right through the middle of the town.
We walked past the town’s plaza and on to our accommodations. We stayed with a very nice family in the town, and Rachel and I both felt that was one of the big highlights of our experience. The host always prepared us an excellent, well-balanced supper, and the whole family welcomed all five of us volunteers.
Each day, we went to the town’s liceo (high school) to greet our English summer camp students at 10 a.m. The camp’s theme, “Go Green, Rock On!” was carried throughout the week in various activities we planned for each day. The students were split into five different groups, which we named after the five natural elements: earth, wind, fire, water, and wood.
Some of the memorable activities from the week include a national project (my group “Wind” created a newscast to highlight the problems of Torres del Paine), group karaoke, a talent show, and a field trip to the beaches at Cobquecura.
A miming activity we were doing.
Group karaoke was always a crowd pleaser.
We had to incorporate the Wachiturros in somewhere. This was a story they acted out.
The windy beach at Cobquecura.
The waters were certainly not for swimming at Cobquecura.
Inside the Iglesia de Piedras at Cobquecura. People have died in this rock formation because the tide rushes in and washes them away.
The plaza in Cobquecura.
On the bus ride back to San Nicolás from Cobquecura.
More from our trip back to San Nicolás from the beach.
Saturday was the last day of English camp. We ended with a cocktail with pizza, fruit, and juice.