It is a new day. We have sunshine and water! What a way to start the day. The showers were cold but the morning coffee was nice and hot! Already, the school bus has left to take some of the older girls to the high school and a group of children will be dropped off somewhere to help promote the 2nd annual Marathon that is being organized by El Hogar and it is not even 7 a.m. yet! The marathon was very successful last year and they are hoping for the same this year on May 15th. You can sponsor a runner by going on the El Hogar website.
We were pleased to share a morning chapel period with the children by one of the priests from St Mary’s Cathedral, the church were we worship on Sundays. We love how the children sit attentively and respond to the priest’s homily which was on the Ten Commandments. Oscar, who is sponsored by the Pikes was given a special blessing today as it is his birthday. Notice the painting of the child on the mural behind the priest.
Back to our work projects for the rest of the morning. Mostly finishing up the painting we started in the dormitory, but there will still be plenty left for the next team. The Director Matt, asked if the engineers might like to bolt a book case to a wall in his office and a good thing to do except difficult with an adobe wall. As usual, they came up with a solution and book case is now bolted to the wall!
Meanwhile most of the team went on another home visit. This was likely one of the worst situation we have seen. Two children from El Hogar who had lived there with their grandmother went with us. Their mother and grandmother did not get along and the mother now lives in another city. The children are sad without their mother so were hoping to see their grandmother. The home was down a steep path lined with other makeshift wood and sheet metal houses. Our host turned out to be an aunt who cleaned streets in the morning and watched the 7 children who lived in a space the size of a single garage. There was no running water, toilet, or refrigeration. We could not see any food in the house. The children were sad to leave without seeing their grandmother but she was down by the river getting water. This is not a safe area and we could not wait around. After returning to El Hogar we purchased a large bag of food staples for the family. I am sure there will be more children from the family coming to El Hogar at some point.
The day is going too quickly and it is hard to believe that we are saying good bye this evening. After supper in the activity time, Jane had prepared a group exercise group and with Andrea and Matt and then with the whole team participating, we had pretty well the whole school participating. Some of our team members easily showed up some of the kids in endurance!
In a very orderly way, we were able to scoop 150 cups of ice-cream to students, teachers, hangers-on and volunteers for our Friday evening snack. They loved the ice-cream which is a real treat for them!
The best part of all was the thank you speeches from a few of the kids from each dorm. They included some of our sponsored kids, Sergio, Raphael, Ceaser. Very touching moments. Then we were told to lineup and the ALL the kids came through for hugs for each one of us. We ended with a prayer together - children, teachers and volunteers. We will miss all those dear faces.