The Smiles of the Orphans

Tomorrow we begin an endeavor that seems much to large for us to accomplish...lice removal of 900 kids! Granted we are going to be given some help, two "nurses", altogether making 4 nurses and our man Javier and our friend and translator Mayra. The reason for the quotes is because nurses here, so we have been told, are different. We aren't exactly sure what that means but as soon as I find out Ill fill you in! As far as Javier, he is our contact and usually sits somewhere just in eyeshot looking at his watch. That makes him sound impatient, truly he runs errands for us when we run out of things. Or if I need medications or anything really, he is the man. Mayra is so much help, we have been truly blessed to have her, she is willing to do anything and everything. She gets in there with us and picks lice and does whatever is needed to be done. We will be very sad to leave her, we might even try to take her to Ecuador with us!

Mayra is 17, she is studying communications at the University. She speaks both English and Spanish and spends every day all day with us. She also volunteers her English skills and teaches 3 days a week at a school for teachers, where they are learning to speak English. They believe that if they can speak English that they can better their society and make more of a difference in their country! Yesterday we had the opportunity to go into the poorest part of Lima, they have no water, no electric, no homes, no nothing.

Of course "no" is not totally true, the water truck comes 3 times a week with not drinking water but water for bathing and washing clothes, the electric is "borrowed" (wires are rigged from the electric poles into the houses) from the power lines closer to the city, and their homes are made out of scraps and trash. This place is on the side of the highest point in Lima,which makes it the hottest in the summer and the most wet in the winter. Apparently they have mudslides which wash away their "homes" so they have created barriers with old tires and rocks to try to decrease this issue. Regardless, these people are in need. Javier is trying to figure out where we start, what can we do for these people to make their lives just the tiniest bit better. He introduced us to this place so that we could help in deciding what to do.

We stood in this shanty town, with the kids playing in the dusty street around us and the mothers washing their families clothes in buckets of freshly delivered water, thinking. What do we do to help these people? I am truly "at home" here. I love being here, I love working here, I love the people and the language. I am looking forward to meeting our friends in Ecuador and getting some of our own projects started, but being in South America makes me feel like I am right where I am supposed to be. I do not miss anything of the United States, except my family and my little doggers Leila of course, but I haven't thought once that I am missing out on anything in the good ol US of A. Crazy, I know...but amazing nonetheless.

Today, we got to play with our kids at the orphanage! I love those kids and they love us! As soon as they see us drive up they are at the gate yelling our names, when we enter they are jumping on us and kissing and hugging us! Not one second goes by while we are there that they are not in our laps or don't have their arms around our necks! They need so much love! and I want to take every single one of them and love them forever! It breaks my heart every single day when I have to close that gate behind us and tell them goodbye. Clara, the owner/teacher/mother of all of the kids gives them all lots of love...but could you imagine having 15 kids to take care of and splitting your lap and neck time? On top of the 15 that live with her she takes in somewhere around 30 more every single day as like a daycare. She is an amazing woman.

Soon we will be posting the pictures of each of the orphans with their names and ages so that you can see them and see what we see in their beautiful faces! Think about us as we come in contact with 900 kids over the next few days...in a very poor area with lots of needs and even more lice!