We took a bit of a leap on Saturday when we went along to our first Scouts meeting here in Arequipa. N's school has a Scout group which is just starting its program for 2014 (the school year started this month). N was very apprehensive about going along because he wasn't sure if he would know anyone and of course there is always quite a bit of trepidation from him regarding activities etc in Spanish. His confidence is growing and he can understand more than he lets on, but still he felt that he needed P and I there for some reassurance and some handy translation.
The first session involved 2 hours of fun games for the kids. N's leader put him in a group with a couple of kids who could speak some English, to help him. N knew one other child from soccer and recognized one or two others from school. That helped to put him at ease. I acted as translator as best I could and between us (plus some explanatory hand signals and demonstrations from the leaders) we managed to get through all the games (even a couple of songs!) and had a good time.
Having been a Scout leader in the US I understand that groups like this need a lot of help from parent volunteers. There seemed to be a distinct lack of parents at this session (most of them appear to take advantage of the free babysitting and just drop the kids off) and I had already made up my mind before we went there to volunteer to help (so I did). I know it will challenge my Spanish skills (but that will be good for me) but it will help N too (when he doesn't understand what's going on, I can hopefully help him out) and really, I need it as much as he does. I've mentioned before that it can be challenging to work here in the particular situation that I am in. I am the only ex-pat wife who is also working a full-time job at the mine, so I am a demographic group of 1 member. I can't go to the lunches, trips to the market, coffee mornings, yoga classes, etc that the other ex-pat ladies do regularly, so I tend to miss out on that social interaction (but I do try to meet friends on the weekend so that I don't completely feel like a hermit or social outcast). Getting involved with Scouts (I hope) will be good for me and will help me to feel more connected with the local community. I don't yet feel attached to Arequipa in an emotional way so maybe this will help. Plus Scouts is just plain fun. And who doesn't like singing Spanish songs?