Monday, February 1, 2010

Day 3 at Hogar

I woke yesterday morning to the sound of screaming hogs. If you've never heard that sound before, let me tell you it is horrible, like gut-wrenchingly horrible. I covered my head with my pillow until I gave up and got out of bed.

Breakfast was cornflakes with warm milk. Since they ran out of spoons ( a common occurrence) I ate mine with my fingers, like many of the kids. It was nice to have something besides tortillas.

Afterward I headed over to the little boys dorm. I hadn't been inside yet, and after my experience the night before with the little snugler I determined to spend more time with the little guys. Walking inside i was hit with the stench of urine. I was shocked. The girls dorm is spotless. I later found out that the tia and tio, or aunt and uncle care takers in this dorm had quit two months ago, so the little ones had no real adult to take care of them. The older girls are helping a lot, washing their clothes and making sure they get to bed, but there is no one to make sure they wear a sweater when it's cold and that their beds have sheets. I guess there is one woman who is filling in, but the boys need more. I checked out the place. It's a very old building with large pieces of paint peeling from the ceiling, iron cots, several without sheet and just a few blankets, dirty, chipped walls, and a bathroom that is positively medieval. It is a dark, dank, grey, concrete room with four toilets, two or three of which don't flush because they aren't hooked up to water, so the kids have to fill buckets to drain the toilets. They also have a two tiny, filthy sinks, no soap, a small bag of laundry detergent next to it. The shower was so dark and scary looking I didn't even go in. The place wreaked. It was so shocking. It made the girls dorm seem like the Ritz Carlton. I'm thinking of seeing how much it would cost to redo their bathroom. I did tell several of the older girls that the boy's bathroom was dirty and had no soap.

I also noticed these boys have next to no toys. There are 8 boys in this dorm and maybe 5 small toys. I was looking for children's books and they have about 5 of those as well. I spent a good part of the morning reading, rather haltingly to the boys in Spanish and they really loved it. I also played karate, and tickled them a lot and held the littlest boy when he fell down and cried. He sat in my lap a long time - I think he just liked being held. This little guy looks a little rough. His teeth are rotting and he has a scabby wound on his head, but he's all heart.

In the afternoon the girls had a soccer (futbol) game on the home turf. The other team was quite professional in comparison and Hogar did end up losing 8-0. But the girls are good sports. The older boys had a game too. They are a pretty professional looking team with matching jerseys and shoes with cleats. They played Coita the town team on a field a few kilometers away. I was the only girl that went from Hogar. Boy, that was a fun game to watch. These boys can hustle. They won 3-0 but didn't seem to happy at the end, so I'm guessing with penalties maybe they didn't do so well as I thought. It was so fun, albeit very cold, sitting in the grey drizzle on the bleachers like a cement pyramid between two fields overlooking the cow pasture nearby. I learned it is appropriate to yell, " Vamos", "Tranquillo", "Corre", and the occasional excited English phrase is fine too. It think they just thought I was funny. I rode back to Hogar in a VW van overflowing with sweaty teen boys and was so happy to be where was.

I love it here and it's only been 3 days. Already I'm so attached to the kids. I had a boy ask me if I was going to adopt one of the little boys. It is really hard to be here and I wouldn't want to be anywhere else.

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