Today was our first day getting to visit and do some work at the orphanage and it was a really great day. As we drove into the orphanage we drove through neighborhoods in Santo Domingo and got to see the sights and people on the streets of these neighborhoods. It was an incredibly interesting and eye-opening experience because you saw the lifestyle and living conditions that the people were living in. There were broken down buildings, people hanging out in front of random tiny stores and LOTS of stray dogs everywhere (we are keeping count of how many we see). Despite all of this, driving through the streets many people waved at us very friendly and soon we started to wave at all the people we saw out the window. We got some confused glances, but we mostly got waves and smiles from a lot of people. I thought it was pretty cool how friendly so many people were because they were a lot friendlier than random people at home would be.
When we pulled up at the orphanage the kids saw us and cheered at our arrival. This was so adorable and it made us all really happy and excited. For the first 3 hours at the orphanage, we were given time to get to know and play with the kids outside. During that time, I spent the most time with a group of really little girls who were maybe 3 or 4. I still don't know their names because I couldn't quite pick out what they were saying, but by Friday I will be sure to figure it out. They were so excited to ask me to push them on the swing and were thrilled when they got to push me on the swing. I loved all of the little games they invented despite the language barrier. This was definitely my favorite part of the day.
After the time with the kids, we ate lunch and then got to work. I got to do some work in the jungle next to the orphanage where we moved logs onto a pickup truck to be transported back to the orphanage. After that, we walked back to the orphanage where we picked up some machetes and a chainsaw to head back to the jungle to remove some vines and thick branches from the side of the wall blocking out people from the orphanage. We were amazed at how the people in these buildings along the wall just threw their garbage out the back of their property into the jungle. The whole area back there smelled like the back of a garbage truck. Even a medical clinic had thrown all of their trash back there. I don't know why this is, but this is how it is all over the places I have seen. There is garbage everywhere. It's especially sad because of the beautiful natural places that are everywhere in the country.
After we got back from working, we got to hang out with the kids a little while longer. This is when I got out my camera and took some pictures. They were in love with the camera, especially the girls. In this post is some of the pictures of the kids. This includes the worlds cutest kid: Carlos
I can't wait for tomorrow to work again and get to see my new buddies!