S: A Little Time at the Home of Hope
BC: Change Your Heart
FC: A Little Time... | at the Home of Hope
1: On Thursday, December 29, 2011 at 3:00 in the morning, I set out on an adventure of a lifetime. | 32 hours, three planes, and two continents later I arrived at Hogar de Esperanza. Unaware of the many challenges and triumphs that awaited me in the months to come
2: Immediately upon arrival, my senses were bombarded. The smells of fish and the ocean, the sight of huge sand dunes, looming overhead, the sound of children's laughter greeted me. | I had come just in time for the New Year's festivities. We were to "Burn the Crow," a Peruvian tradition, that to me (a foreigner) seemed a bit too much like burning humans at the stake.
3: My home for the upcoming months was beautiful, in its own unique way.
4: My first weeks were spent adjusting to the new surroundings, and becoming acquainted with the children as well as my fellow volunteers. The children were easy to love, the same cannot be said for the others. I prayed that God would give me a heart to love them and that He would give me a friend. Those beginning weeks were instrumental in showing me that I would need to rely fully on my heavenly Father. I was not alone, because He would always be with me
5: Watching the children spend hours in the pool and go sand boarding, playing games in the evening and exploring filled those first days. Plaza de Armas (the main square in Trujillo) was beautifully decorated to celebrate Christmas. I gradually began to know each child by name. Not only was I getting to know the people of Peru, I was getting to know volunteers from all over the Untied States and even the world. Jo was from Australia, Stephanie - California, Bryson - Bethune, Colorado, Ashley - Nebraska, David and Courtney - Michigan, and there were some short-termers Tiffany and Emily from New Zealand.
7: The children were divided into groups and taken out on Paseos (or special outings) as a part of their Christmas gifts. My group was taken to La Lagunas for a little fun in the sun. | Abraham, Samir, Heydi, and Isabel took to the water like fish. Alejandro and Jorge preferred to stay ashore. | In January, Alex, Kelly, and Katie came to help out for a few weeks. They had been to the albergue before and knew the ropes. The kids absolutely adored them, and they brought a needed spark of life to the volunteer floor.
8: Summertime was so much fun!
10: The best part about the lazy summer days, was seeing the children forget about their worries, forget about their pasts, and just be kids. To hear their laughter, to know, in that moment, they had not a care in the world.
11: Occasionally throughout the summer, we would have a Fogata (Bonfire). The kids very much enjoyed doing this, and it was a wonderful time to grow relationships between the kids, volunteers, and madres. All the kids would sit in a circle on their plastic chairs, and we (the volunteers) would start cranking out the smores. After making 75+ we were very sticky and very happy.
12: El Gran Concurso | The end of summer Obstacle Course, where the kids could show off their running, jumping, climbing, and crawling capabilities. The kids had been practicing for weeks, in fisica, with Stephanie. In the end, Abraham was crowned champion.
13: Towards the middle/end of summer we had a shift in the longterm volunteers. Jo and Ashley left around the same time that Lisa, Nathan & Michi, and Christy (in that order) arrived. I still had yet to find my place amongst the volunteers. I did not know, at that time, how much we would depend on each other in the coming months.
15: On Wednesday, February 15, I began a new job at the albergue. I became madre (or house mother) to the Chispas. I had 7 adorable little girls, who I was to care for, as if they were my own children. These girls were Cristina age 10, Sofia 10, Heydi 10, Brigitte 9, Oriana 9, Rosita 7, and Jessica almost 2.
17: As the months passed by, I gradually became friends with some of the volunteers. God allowed us to overcome our prejudices and really get to know each other.
18: While I was there, one of my Chispas was adopted. I had seen many families take children into their homes, but never before had I watched a child excitedly wait their forever family. Never had I heard the joy in a child's voice when they tell their friends their family is finally coming. Never had I seen the nervousness in a little girl's eyes, the desire for love and approval. I praise God that I witnessed this that day. That He showed me an earthly example of our adoption, as heirs with Christ.
19: We went out to Pizza the evening before Brigitte left, to celebrate her adoption. Every child was able to eat to their heart's content.
20: In the middle of March, I thought I was finished being the Chispa's madre forever. We had a despedida with lots of candy and a movie. Little did any of us know, I would be back within 2 weeks. It was a good reason for a party anyway!
21: Round #2 in the Chispa's House
22: So Easter came round, and it was time for another party. Never have I seen grins so big, as when the girls found out we were having a candy hunt. When they received their "Easter Baskets" (little bags filled with candy and trinkets), you would have thought I had given them the moon. | La Pasqua
24: Chispas and Luces | Rocio | Marita | Marjorie & Oriana
25: Rosita & Jessica | Sofia & Consuelo | Isabel & Heydi | Cristina and Jennifer
26: Tios Locos | Crazy Times with the Volunteers
28: More Craziness
30: Popcorn and a Movie... TWICE!
32: Cookie Making with the Guys
33: While we are on the topic of food... | Let me just say, food was something that was always of importance to the volunteers. Filo worked hard to make our food, and there was always an abundance of white rice. The same cannot be said for anything else. (Except possibly anchovies) So when we got the opportunity to eat outside the albergue, we did... and we thoroughly enjoyed it. We often visited the "Burger Place" in Salaverry to get - Salaverry Burgers. We girls particularly enjoyed the Oreo Milkshakes at Caramel's. It was those little outings that would refresh our spirits, and leave each and every one of us with a happy tummy.
34: During my last few months at Hogar de Esperanza, I became close friends with both Stephanie and Bryson. Bryson insisted that he had tried to befriend me, but I had simply ignored him for three months. He could be right... With Stephanie, it turned out that we simply needed to get away from each other, in order to become dear friends. We spent our evenings chatting out in the kitchen. Sometimes I would even bake desserts for us to eat. I moved into Stephanie's room and slept on the floor next her her bed, making sure to tuck her into her mosquito net each evening. We kept each other up 'til all hours of the night talking about the kids, discussing our faith, sharing about our pasts, and wondering about our futures. Together we faced trials that we could never have imagined, and on that foundation we forged a friendship that will not be easily broken.
36: Final Days | The Albergue left a mark on my heart that I would never have imagined. As my days there came to an end, I found myself wishing time would stop. Although, I eventually I had to leave, I have hope, that one day, I will be there again.
39: Chau, Until Next Time