A beautiful shot with Esmeralda and Jenny photographed by Jay, a professional photographer from New Zealand.
Another great shot from Jay at therapy with my little ones.
Alondra with her beautiful crown and mask that she painted.
Aldair trying to figure out how to play dominos.
A walk to the slum wasn´t easy at all!
Rufino, Leticia and Joselyn overlooking the slum at the edge of the hill.
On the top of hill, me and Héctor.
A little kid whom we met in the slum area.
One of the houses that some of our kids came from.
Our goodbyes to Elba who made us lovely bracelets with our names on. We actually look much happier than we were.
Alcides trying to touch a skull.
The most haunting ruins that I have ever visited! Hundreds of skulls and human bones all over the places.
Héctor found some pots.
Los increíbles (Viki, Moni, Olga and me) at the ruins.
Jorge standing on the of a construction .... almost falling!
It has been an intense two weeks: Visitors came from Canada and New Zealand came one group after another to work on donations, Elba leaving, awful meetings with the tíos, on top of routine work like therapies and creating the program. At the end of the day, the strength of the children has kept us alive.
First came Jackie and Doug from Canada, who were so nice that they brought us volunteers so many goodies like chocolate, maple syrup, proper knifes and pans, etc. Doug bought wine and beer every day to cheer us up and cooked dinners like tacos and pastas, while Jackie treated us with proper breakfasts and lunches like French toasts, pancakes and grilled cheese sandwiches. We joked that we would gain back the weight that we've lost! They are amazing as they understand what kind of bullshits we face everyday. And those of us who speak English helped them translate everyday and worked with them as they needed us. Doug left one week after, while Jackie stayed for another week while the New Zealanders were here. I could see Doug was sad when he left. The feeling was mutual.
We really worked our ass off while the visitors were here, but it was fun too. We went the nearby slums and a ruins, which was totally interesting. The slums area surprisingly wasn't too dangerous, and we went in group so that helped too. We could see some of the places that where our children came from. I could see the mixed emotions on their faces when they went there. It was definitely a cultural experience. The ruins was just an eye opening experience. The kick of it is that it's not being excavated at all! Once we walked up a dusty hill, suddenly piles of human skulls and bones just lied around everywhere! You could how life is so insignificant here. It was shocking, grotesque, revolting, but most of all saddening. Then we saw some insignificant structures around the area where people scratched their names on them. It was a good lesson on the moral implication of this experience to us and to our children.
The children as always are just beautiful. We have been working on the cognitive program and so we work with different groups of children. It is working very well, and things are getting more concrete now. And we got some good feedback from them too. Francesco gave me a hug for several minutes, and the visitors were surprised to see that a kid would want to hug for that long! Indeed they need a lot of love, no matter how old they are. Even the older boys and girls need so much too.
Last Thursday evening we went to the girls' house for Herlinda's birthday, and we made jam cracker and dulce de leche which Viki's mom sent her. The girls were us how to write words in our languages. In particular, they were writing love phrases for the boys that they fancy. It was quite funny but so cool that they wanted to confide in us. In here, basically it's prohibited to have any form of relationships, and the fact that they are willing to confide in us is really cool.
Elba, a 17-year-old girl, left us to another orphanage in another town. Long story, but we don't really agree on the whole process and the girls were treated fairly. But there was little that we could have done, and we did every way to support her and the girls that are close to her. She was so sweet that she made us a bracelet for each one of us. We hope she is well and takes on the advice that we gave her.
There were leftover food everyday from the visitors, and I brought the food to different houses for the kids. You couldn't imagine how excited they are when I bought those food that no one wanted. I felt so spoiled, and it just keeps reminding myself how lucky I am and how much we need to treasure what we have. And in the meantime, I try to do my best to give whatever we can to my wonderful children, whether they are 2 or 18.