Sorry it's been awhile, but life since last Saturday has been a total whirlwind as we begin to settle into life at this amazing, terrifying, intimidating, beautiful place. The last week has been orientation for us new volunteers and when there aren't sessions planned we've been trying to use every spare moment to interact with the kids and begin to get to know them, and to get to know each other.
So what can I tell you about life here? As of this week there are 91 kids living at the hogar (home) and that number is going to grow in the next few weeks. They range in age from 1 and a half to mid-20's. They are mostly boys, but in 2012 they accepted their first girl and there are now at least 10 of them. The process has been slow but rewarding as we all try to meet them, and frustrating as we try to remember their names, but I feel like I'm making progress!
The thing that has struck me the most and that I now realize will be a process throughout this entire year, has been realizing just how much these kids have been through. The friendliest, most outgoing, sweetest kid here has been through hell to get to this place. The current volunteers tell us the kids who live at Amigos are here because they were in the Honduran child welfare system, but it's a very broken system in many ways so being "in it" means the situation must have been very bad. It's one thing to hear about or read about abuse, and it's another thing entirely to know a face and a name and the beginnings of a personality and then begin to think about what might have occurred in this child's past (and then add 90).
So many of them have already worked their way into my heart, and I know that will only continue as the year goes on; that they will continue to steal my heart with their vibrant personalities and uniqueness and silly ways and virtues; and break it with the sadness of their stories; and be frustrating and annoying in all the ways kids usually are. Needless to say the week has been a roller-coaster already.
I have several stories to tell, but they'll have to wait for future posts! To give a sense of the timeline, we're continuing orientation into this week and the current volunteers leave this coming Tuesday. We will be assigned our jobs on Wednesday or Thursday and our first day of non-orientation is this coming Friday. Hopefully once we're in a bit more of a solid schedule I'll have more time to post! I want to tell you about the layout of the grounds here, and the kids' daily schedules, and some of the amazing things that have happened this week. But finding time will be tough, because already I can feel my priorities tipping more and more entirely towards the kids.