Sunday, January 31, 2010

Day 2 at Hogar

Yesterday was a great day. A very full day. I finally was able to explore the supply room and found all kinds of things I can use for art projects for the kids. Using google translate (thank you!) I was able to talk to the director about teaching art classes regularly. So now I'm slotted for 3 times a week, lunes, miercoles y viernes. My first class is on Monday and I need to not only come up with a fantastic plan that translates to kids between the ages of 6 and 19, but have perfect directions in Spanish and a finished example. I'm a little intimidated, but I'm expecting a huge success. These kids are so hungry for activities, attention, and something fun and creative to do. They are also really bright, so I'm expecting to be blown away by their endeavors.

Since I had discovered sidewalk chalk in the storeroom, Kyla and I taught the kids how to play hopscotch after lunch. I spent the whole afternoon in the sun, barefoot, jumping around, laughing, drawing, covered in chalk and having a blast with the kids. I felt about 10 years old myself.

I also discovered some card games in the supply room, which was a real treat. I played a about 10 games of Uno yesterday. I now know how to say, "Let's play", " Your turn", and "Don't cheat" in Spanish. Kyla has an Ipod speaker so I was able to plug in my Nanno and put on a full album of Lady Gaga for the girls. We sat on the cement floor with our shoes off, music blaring, playing Uno. There is such an irony and contrast in my surroundings and Lady Gaga's lyrics about fame, fortune and boys, boys, boys. We don't even have toilet seats here. The girls were impressed that I liked the same kind of music and wanted me to translate the lyrics. I summed it up with " She likes boys and lots of things and dancing." Kind of lame, but the best I can do for now. Anyway, they really are better off not knowing most of those lyrics, especially the little girls!

In the evening a couple of women from town showed a slideshow accompanied by music. The lyrics were about God and Jesus and how he takes care of us. The kids sang along at the top of their voices and I got a little teary. There is little I love more than the sound of children's voices praising the Lord. I wasn't sure how religious it was here having had to promise not to proselytize as a volunteer, however, this is a highly Catholic country, and of course that is a part of the children't upbringing here.

I have moments here where I forget this is a home for children who are abandoned, orphaned, or have a parent that can't take care of them. The kids go about their daily lives, go to school, play, do chores and seem pretty happy. Then I have the moments where it is heart-wrenchingly obvious that these are children with out a mother and a father, without someone to read to them every night, tuck them in and whisper, " l love you". There are few adults here, not enough to go around and the older teens take care of the younger ones. While I was listening to the kids sing, one of the little boys (one of a set of triplets) came over to me and put his head in my lap. He hadn't talked to me much before and I barely knew him. He just needed some loving. It was so hard for me not to cry. I held him and rubbed his back and rocked him as we sang. After a couple of songs he got up and left, I guess he got his fill. I'm trying to give a lot of affection and attention to the kids here and they are like little sponges. I feel really busy, so many kids want to hang out and play and I think that's because they are all really desiring that one on one time.

Later in the evening the girls had a fiesta. I think they had a party just because they needed one and it was Friday night. They built a big bonfire outside of their dorms and we roasted marshmallows, ate popcorn, chicharron, chips and sausage dip and shrimp pico de gallo. That was more food than I had seen in the last several days. These girls can pack it away. The eating, snuggling under blankets and listening to music lasted for hours. Kyla played her guitar and the one Shakira song she knew. It was really great. I finally made it to bed at 1am smelling of campfire and hotsauce.

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