About two months ago, I was going to Helpo the first time. Helpo is a non-profit organization, that has some projects in multiple African countries, but also in Portugal, Cascais.
The project here in Cascais, takes care of children after school, for families, in which the parents have to work in the afternoon. They have a building that is about 20 minutes walking away from the Cascais train station, and it contains 4 big rooms, and a little kitchen.
I go to Helpo every Tuesday. When I arrive the kids, that are between 10 and 14 years, most of them are there already or they show up in the next 15 minutes. When everybody arrived, they are all having a little snack together, like a toast, some fruits and something to drink. Afterwards the kids that have to do homework are doing their homework and the rest is allowed to play together in a room, that is called “gym”. The gym is a big room with many different things to do. Around 7:10 we start to clean the first rooms, that aren´t used anymore. When the kids leave at 7:30, we finish cleaning all the rooms and leave the building around 7:45.
In the first two weeks, I almost did not talk to the kids at all, as they don´t really speak good English and most of them don´t understand it as well. But over the time I helped some kids with their English homework, and I tried to communicate with my very little Portuguese/Spanish basics, what worked better than I expected.
Even thought I don't speak that much to the kids and it is quite a challenge to communicate with them, I want to keep going there once a week, because I´m convinced, that my Portuguese skills, improve by spending time with native Portuguese speakers, and maybe the English skills of the kids also improve, which would be a win-win-situation.