Saturday, January 16, 2016
What can I say? The children are why we are all here. In total there are over 200 kids where I live and then another seventy or so older kids that live in nearby towns and are attending high school, vocational schools or universities. NPH started 60 years ago in Mexico but the home in Guatemala has only been here for twenty. They come to NPH from many different backgrounds. Some are orphaned, some abused, and some are sent because their parent can't afford to care for them. Since there are pretty strict laws in Guatemala, all the kids are sent here by court order. Sometimes this means that kids won't stay. No matter what though, they are loved and welcomed.
Yesterday was the first day of school. The day began with Mass in the morning followed by a school presentation with all the kids in attendance. In addition to the NPH kids, the school also teaches kids from the surrounding towns. That's a lot of kids.
Part of my job here as a volunteer is to get to know the kids. In order to encourage this, NPH assigns each volunteer a section for the year. My section is the special needs house. I spent my first morning there today. After breakfast, we cleaned the house from top to bottom. Then we went into the grassy courtyard and played ball, walked around and talked. Well, those of us who could talk. Some of the kids are wheelchair bound, non-verbal etcetera...but they all radiate happiness. I still can't get over how they are ALWAYS smiling!
I'm heading into Antigua for another day of language school. Today is supposed to be medical lingo. I think I will have a house to move into in another week or so. Until then, this guest house is pretty nice. I'm a bit tired today...we went out for dinner and dancing last night: the old and new volunteers. Kind of a social welcome...and very fun.
I know this year will bring many, many stories about the kids. I'll finish with this one: this morning when I was making my early jog I saw bunches of kids coming out to catch the bus for a Saturday outing. Three little kids, no more than 11, came running out with big smiles, backpacks and jackets on. They were so cute! I asked where they were going and they proudly said, "To hike the volcano!" Not even five minutes later I came around the corner and saw all three being walked back to their house by a Tia (aunt/caregiver). I heard her saying, "You can't wear flipflops to hike a volcano! Get you shoes on!" I smiled and thought of all of my home folks telling their kids to put on mittens and a hat this winter! Same difference. :o)