I got back two weeks ago from leading my first team to Nueva Esperanza (and I seem to be having a hard time getting my head in the game!) There are so many things I'd like to say about this trip but I can't figure out a way to do it without babbling.
For a week we spent the mornings painting ceilings (really, really high ceilings!) in an Orphan Helpers project called the Genesis Center. In the next few months, this will become the new school for all of the kids in Nueva Esperanza as well as the hub for community volunteers. In the afternoons we made babies smile and rocked them to sleep, chased toddlers down the hall after yet another attempted breakout, traced dozens of coloring pages, painted fingernails and tried to get the blasted cheap bubbles to blow good bubbles!
And of course, it was so much more than this. Spending consecutive days in Nueva can be hard. So it was also a week of strength, perseverance, growth, stretching and eyes being opened to uncomfortable truths. And I loved every minute of it. One of the things I struggle with the most is how best to communicate to all of you what Nueva Esperanza and Proniño are like, what these kids have been through, what their daily lives consist of and how you can help. And what I'm finding is that I can tell some individual stories (and plan on continuing to do so) but it's really hard to understand unless you've experienced it. And I love the process of walking with people as they're experiencing it. I think my favorite parts of this week were the one-on-one conversations I had with teammates as they wrestled through what they were seeing.
To the team: Thank you for giving your all. Thank you for pushing yourselves to spend time with groups or ages of kids that weren't your first choice. (They grew on you, right?) Thank you for asking tons of questions because it showed me just how much you really wanted to understand. And thank you for your openness and honesty each night as we debriefed the day!
Here's a slideshow of our week!
And if you're interested in experiencing this for yourself, there's still two more trips this year!
September 10-17 ($550 + the cost of airfare) Focusing on Nueva Esperanza
November 5-12 ($650 + the cost of airfare) Focusing on Proniño
Let me know if you're interested!