Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The biggest project we have been working on since we have been here is taking pictures with the workers and the kids. Our intention was to give the photos to the workesr in a decorated border with the help of the kids so that they could have something to cherish at their home as a memory of all the hard work they do for their job. The kind of work that is required to keep this place running and clean (or as clean as it can get) is very demanding. We are very grateful to them and thought this project would be a good idea to show our gratitude. After lots of hard work of decorating frames and taking pictures of over 90 workers, we finally finished! This week we have been distributing the long overdue photos and the workers have been so excited about it. Throughout our time here they would ask us once in a while when the project would be finished. When we first came down with the basket load of all the photos, they all crowded us to try and find their own, it was crazy. Now they can´t stop smiling at us and thanking us for them. When you think about it, it is just a little gift, but to them it means a lot. We are so happy that this project turned out well and that they have appreciated it. We still have photos to give out and a couple more to print before we completely finish, but the majority of them already have theirs.
Tuesday night is usually our movie night. We have been watching the Harry Potter movies since they haven´t seen the latest ones and last Tuesday we watched the fifth and final movie that is out right now. This activity was more for the older kids, they really liked it. However, Ivan must have been too tired to stay awake since at the end of the movie he was out like a log. All the kids thought it was so funny and we all crept out of the comedor and cleaned up with him still in there sleeping. The night workers thought it was hilarious and we were all laughing. Here is one photo out of many we took of us behind him as he sleeps.

Well much has happened since our last blog. We went on a ten day vacation which explains the long duration since we have last written. Our vacation was very fun. We went to Guatemala and Belize and even got scuba certified! When we returned we went straight back to work to get all of our projects finished. One of these being the teddy bears we are making with the kids. Before our trip we made over 30 teddy bears from scratch and each kid helped us fill their own with stuffing. After we closed the hole, we took the bears back down for the kids to paint, write their name, and give it to them. It was really fun to see how excited some of them became.Here is Matilla´s scribbling on his.

Carlitos Alonso did his during our noche especial on Wednesday while we watched the Disney movie Cars and drank 7up.

Geovanny was the cutest. It took him a long time to finish his bear because he kept stopping to hug it every other second. He always wears a shirt and tie so he drew a tie on his bear too and couldnt help admiring it.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


We have been drinking pop with the kids on movie nights to save up for a future bowling activity. We went bowling the other night with the kids and they loved it! Maria Antonia kept score and everyone got to go several times, then she announced the winners and everyones place. They would get so excited when they knocked all the pins down and we would shout out loud. We cant wait to do this activity again.


The first time we did this painting activity the kids really liked it, so we figured it was time to do it again. This time we helped them sign their names by their handprint. Many kids did it over and over again because they loved participating.



Last Friday was the last day of school for all of the kids here. Sounds so early I know, but everyone is already preparing for Christmas here! Lots of kids put on performances that were as cute as ever and then they all received certificates for passing on to the next grade. Geovanny and Edwin were the cutest to see them getting their certificates because they could hardly contain their excitement!

Thursday, November 6, 2008




Today we swam with the kids all day near our house. The workers have been setting up two big pools and smaller ones right outside our house for this big event. We have been swimming, playing with the beach balls, listening to music, and eating snacks all day. We brought out some water guns and they were a big hit as everyone has been splashing each other and get one another wet!


When we first came down here we bought a little fishy who they named Nemo. The kids love it and ask about it every time we dont bring it down. We always joke and say that it is flying in the sky. Unfortunately it died last weekend so we quickly found another fish that looks alike and luckily the kids havent noticed yet! Here is Ana del Carmen talking to the fish last night while we were playing games and then Nahum who was showing us his big strong muscles.

Noche Especial


Past volunteers have held noche especiales (special nights) with two kids who they bring up to the house. We have kept up that tradition but have tried to expand it to include other kids who havent done it before. One night we brought up Efrain and Carlitos Alonso. They were so excited and talked about it for more than a week before it was their turn and they are already talking about it again for the next time. We watched Toy Story and made a treat. They could barely watch the movie because they kept looking over at us every five minutes to give us high fives and show their excitement that they were there with us. It was so fun!

Thursday, October 23, 2008



For noche especial last night we made purses for Chusita and Xiomara. I have really enjoyed using my sewing skills and passing it along to the kids down here. I think they really enjoyed themselves too.



Many people from the city came to set up a large stage with tents all around for a concert that lasted all day. New bands came and switched every hour or so. We had dancers, food, and of course, everyone was dancing! Most of the kids were dressed to match with t-shirts from the el patito event a couple of weeks back. It was so fun to dance with all of the kids and see everyone enjoying themselves.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008



Things are going well here! Our internet was down for about a week and a half so now that it is up and running again I figured I would update the blog. The biggest thing that happened was the patito (little ducky) event on Sunday. Every year the hogar holds this event where people buy the little ducks and they put all of them in this lake and the lucky winners they choose get prizes. Its like a raffle. Before the event, the duck came to visit the hogar and we held a huge fiesta. The kids loved it. The event itself was also very fun, the hogar is so well supported by the community!! It makes me happy to see how many people are involved to serve these kids.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008



We love these guys! Edwin (to the right) and Geovanny (to the left) are brothers and they are the cutest! I posted the following pictures a couple at a time because you never know when our internet will go out. Hallelujah because I succesfully got all of them on here in the end, but a better description of them is down below.
I love this picture too. On Friday they held the special olympics for the kids and they have been wearing the medals they won all this week. The kids love to show us all the medals they won. You can't see the whole thing in this picture but the blue thing around Xiomara´s neck is her medal and she loved showing it off to us.
I love this one of Xiomara, she always has a smile on her face
Here is Karen putting on her handprint, and there are lots of others watching!

Efrain wanted two colors so he got red and blue to paint on the sheet.



Things are going well here! First, we learned about parades one day in school and then had one of our own. Each kid got a musical instrument and we paraded all over the hogar to the macarena song. Yesterday, our school class was interrepted and we all were told to go into the cafeteria where we held a huge birthday party for the four birthdays the month of September. It was the biggest cake that I have ever seen and of course, there was lots of candy! One morning, Taylee and I set up a white sheet on the wall and everyone got their turn to put their handprint on it. The kids liked it a lot and most of them stayed after their turn just to watch the others. It was so crowded around us by the end that we could hardly move! Finally, every Wednesday we go in this building called the lactantes area where 20 or so kids are kept and we play with them, put lotion on them, or read to them. My favorite is Miguelito, he loves throwing that ball!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


So the internet has been down for a couple of days. Sorry for the class photo delay from my earlier post, but here it is. Things are still going well here. Every Wednesday we are going to spend the mornings in the lactantes with Marielos. The kids love to be touched and we put lotion on them. Miguel loved throwing the ball, he got a kick out of it!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

So we are starting to get into the hang of things here. We told the afternoon teacher, Senorita Imperatriz, that we would start teaching and helping out with the afternoon class on Friday. Who knows where she was yesterday because she didn't show up so we taught the whole class by ourselves. We had a "get to know you" theme and everyone picked their favorite colors, shapes, musical instruments, sports, etc. and then shared it with with the rest of the class so we could get to know each other a little better. Taylee and I would then tell the class what some of our favorite things were and show it to them. For music I pulled out my harmonica and played a song for them. For food we gave them some carrot sticks as our favorite vegetables. The best though was our favorite animal because we pulled out a little goldfish that we had gotten earlier that morning as a class pet for while we are down here. They named the fish Nemo like the disney character in Finding Nemo. It was a big hit already and the kids loved to feed and watch it at night. At the end we told them we really like to take pictures and we took this class photo.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

We're Here!

Missy and I finally made it to the Hogar! We already are loving it and getting used to working with the residents here. They are so kind and patient when it comes to our spanish and I am very grateful for that. Yesterday they had a fiesta and we enjoyed watching everyone dancing and having fun. We are so happy that we have people to answer our questions also because we would be lost without the help that we have received.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

So long . . . Farewell

Well, sad as this is, it is time for us to turn over the blog to the next set of volunteers. I hope this blog has helped illustrate how much we love the Hogar and the kids! It is amazing how much we have missed them in the few weeks since we have been home. We are constantly commenting on things that remind us of certain kids and laughing at memories. Here are a few cute pictures of our last day that I never posted:

Sharing one last hug with Xiomara

Writing in our group gratitude journal on the last night

Goofing off with Antonia, Carlos, and Ivan. How sad is this . . . This is one of the only pictures of the whole summer we have of Sam and I together.

The girls will be taking off on September 15th for three months. We will be turning over the blog to them, so keep checking it out if you miss hearing about the kids.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Feria!

Our last Friday at the Hogar, we got to go on the awesomest field trip with the kids to the fair. It is part of the big national week of holidays in El Salvador, and it was a BLAST! We got there early before it had officially open, so they let the kids ride some of the rides for free and we had the place to ourselves. Everyone is extremely accommodating when you are with a big group of disabled kids. Each person was assigned two kids to look after and Sam and I hit the jackpot. I got assigned Xiomara and Chusie, and Sam got Memo and Roberto. Funnest. Talk about a fun group to go to a carnival with! Here are a few pics of Sam with his "charges."I got to go on the bumper cars with Roberto which was a total blast. He kept pushing the reverse pedal out of nowhere and we were constantly getting stuck. We also had fun trying to chase down Memo and Sam in their car. I also got to be seat mates with little Xiomara on the mini roller coaster. She was screaming the entire time, even when it was not going fast at all. She wasn’t scared . . . she was just thoroughly enjoying herself. I made one big mistake however. I sat on the outside, so every time we went around the one fast corner, I got absolutely smashed into the side. Here is a little footage of her screaming . . .
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Nothing was cuter than when we went into the Haunted House though. It was all these dark, super skinny corridors where people would sometimes reach out and grab you. Xiomara was freaked! She had her really adorable concerned face on and was clinging to me for dear life. The problem was that the skinny corridors couldn’t possibly fit both of us standing side by side and she refused to let go. Needless to say, there were a lot of traffic jams. The traffic only got worse at one part where the floor moved. Hello, most of the kids we were with can barely walk on solid, sturdy ground! It was hilarious. Memo refused to step on it for like the five whole minutes until Hermana Umbelina scolded him. (He also told everyone outside that he was never scared inside . . . ha!) Roberto kept swaying into the wall. When we finally made it out, there were some understandably aggravated people behind us who had been stuck in there the whole time with us.

One of the funniest parts of the day, though, was when Memo caught sight of the arcade and decided he wanted to play a game. He broke off and ran ahead to the man in charged who happened to be sitting on a stool. Memo put his hands on the guys knees, leaned in really close, and started “asking” how much it cost with a very angry face. It was hilarious! The guy had no idea what to make of the chubby little boy with Down Syndrome who was grunting right in his face for no apparent reason.
They also bought all of the kids this disgusting corn on the cob smothered in mayo, ketchup, mustard, barbeque sauce, and cheese that is a Salvadoran delicacy. NASTY!

Science Experiment Night

During our last week, we had an evening activity that was right up my alley. We did an evening of fun science experiments with the kids and it was a blast! Carlos especially liked it because he loves science. We did this cool one where a hard boiled egg gets sucked intact into a glass bottle using rubbing alcohol and a match. We also did baking soda and vinegar rockets, dropped two objects of the same size but different weights to see that they both touched at the same time, tried to implode a can (which failed miserably), and . . . the diet coke and mentos eruption. It was awesome! Everything we could have wanted. The kids loved it. We used two different 2-liters of Diet Coke and the show was impressive. It shot probably fifteen feet in the air. I am definitely going to research the ins and outs of how that works and then teach it to my kids when I am teacher.

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This move doesn't exactly show the science experiments, but I thought Martiza was adorable at the end.

Around the world week

Our last week at the Hogar was an awesome week in our class because the kids that usually leave the Hogar in the afternoon to attend the community school were on vacation and got to come to our class instead. It made it so much easier to have kids there that were really interested in learning facts about the places as well as just doing fun activities. Our theme was “Around the World” and we visited a different country each day. We did similar things each day and then usually a unique activity or two at the end to wrap up. Each student had his own blank map of the world and we started each class by finding wherethe day's country was on the map and coloring it in. Then they each colored a blank flag of that country with the correct colors. We also learned how to say hello in the language they speak there, listened to ethnic music and talked about how it is different, and, the hightlight of each class, talked about the different types of food that are common or popular there and tried some.
Geovany loved coloring his map.

Visit to the USA

We started off the week by visiting the United States. We obviously had the best music for that day because we had such a variety.

We also had a picnic on the floor of the classroom with hot dogs and French fries. The kids LOVED the "papitas" or French Fries.

Our American activities were to make Indian headdresses and then play baseball. Chusita never quite got the hang of batting, but Martiza was a pretty good pitcher!

Visit to France

Another day during "Around the world" week, we visited France. The first thing we did was, of course, to give them all ridiculous French mustaches, including the girls.

I couldn't choose which picture was cuter, so sorry about the two photos of Sam. The first one if Roberto and the second is Ivan.
One fun part was when we showed them a clip from Spiderman 3 where a waiter speaks Spanish with a ridiculous French accent. They thought that was hilarious. Our French meal was French bread, cheese, and “wine,” aka. grape juice.

One of our culminating activities was building an Eiffel Tower out of popsicle sticks (which we ended up turning over to Sam, Carlos, and Ivan who cared the most about it).
For those kids who didn't care too much about builidng, we did watercoloring like the French Impressionists. I love Carmencita's face with her silly moustache in this picture.

Visit to China

I think my favorite day of "Around the World" week was the day we visited China. Sam and I put on silly Chinese costumes and welcomed them to China. We taught them how to say hello in Chinese and it was hilarious! Xiomara sounded like a cat saying “Ni Hao” all class because it was definitely “meow.” Cutest. We also listened to a song from the Kung Fu Panda soundtrack to talk about Chinese music. The highlight of the class though was when we had a Chinese brunch. We served the kids juice in these tiny tea cups and made them try to eat rice with chopsticks.

Martiza never could get the hang of it, but she thought is was a blast.


We were shocked to see that Geovany is absolutely amazing at using chopsticks. How the heck, I have no idea, since he doesn’t even hold them right. Ha! We were all super surprised. He was the best of the class. and then ate fortune cookies. The fortune cookies were hilarious because they were all in English so Emperatriz, Sam, and I just made up stupid things in Spanish. I told one of the students that she would be very successful in business. Ha! We ended up by making fans and rice picker hats.

I love how Carlos is 15 and not mentally disabled, but still gets totally into dressing up.
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