As I think I've mentioned, I'm on my summer vacations from school. And since Christmas my life has been a lot of eating, going to malls, and watching movies. For some people, this is really nice, but it has been driving me crazy not having a schedule! For a while my friend Maeve have been looking for a volunteer opportunity here in the city and today we finally started our service project!
Hogar Ines Chambers is a home for children in Guayaquil, some orphans, some from unlivable family situations. There are about 60 kids there in total, and today I think I may have hugged every single one.
We got to the home around nine and went for a tour around the facilities with the director, a Rotarian. We went up to see the boys room, and were there for about 2 seconds when a boy had already run up and started hugging Maeve's legs… and about a half second after that there was another hugging mine. That was just the beginning of many embraces we would be receiving throughout the day, as the only thing these kids want in the world is some love.
I already know its going to be really hard to leave now without bringing a couple back with me, or as Maeve said "You know, I just want like a handful of them" . They are truly so so sweet and all so very troubled.
We spent the first couple of hours just playing outside. Which involved being climbed on by and picking up a lot of kids. We were with all the ones who were too little to be in school all day. Some of them as young as two, basically fending for themselves in this place. All of them with clothes way too big or way too small, and literally begging for attention.
We answered a lot of questions, and learned a lot of names, and received a lot of hugs and kisses.
Then we went to lunch where we helped keep the peace. They all took baths before lunch, but were completely filthy five minutes into the meal. I sat with a little girl who can't be more than 2 or 3 who had just got to the home. She seemed to be in complete shock, and could not speak. I helped feed her her soup, because she was clearly too small to use a normal person spoon all by herself. Meanwhile, I had my hair done by a 6 year old with greasy fingers from his food, while two other little girls thoroughly inspected my necklace.
To some reading this, this probably sounds like hell. Being climbed on, hair tugged at, having dirty fingers on your face and being pulled in all directions, but I wouldn't have rather been anywhere else. I am so looking forward to spending the next few months with these sweet, kind, intelligent little kids who so deserve to be loved! I feel so so lucky to be a part of their lives even if for just a little while!