This unique orphanage located near San Salvador, El Salvador is home to 140 persons with disabilities. Every three months, our program sends a team of two volunteers to live at the Hogar and provide love and stimulation to the residents through education and play.
Didn't think you'd be hearing back from us, huh? (After we had a mini-tribute). We still have tons of photos that we could blog about from my trip, but they are currently waiting to be read off of my hard drive since my laptop decided to stop turning on. Not sure if I'll get to that or not, but I will post a slide show I made that was meant to be shown at the HELP International reunion last Saturday. A lot of things went wrong, so it ended up I wasn't able to show the slide show (BIG bummer), but I said I'd blog it. So here it is (and sorry, it's basic because I originally made the slide show on one program and it turned out that program didn't allow me to save slide shows...just pictures. SO, I ended up having to mess around with final cut, which is the professional program that edits movies. Yeah, so it ended up being basic.)
But listen to the words of the song. I think it fits so well with the Hogar kids.
We went on vacation, but we are back! We spent a week getting to know some neighboring countries (Guatemala and Beliz). We had a LOT of fun, but we're glad to be back. I also have a few blogging things to catch up on. We got to have a few week-lived class with the kids. They were FUN. Here is our class on colors: matching game and playdough. Check out Alonso's bird on to parachute ball launching Everyone was involved. It was fun
Remember our last post that said "because of the fear of H1N1..." WELL...let me say it was not just a fear. It was a reality for the poor kids here at the Hogar. A total of nearly 90 kids were quarantined (meaning locked up in their dormitories so as to not infect the other 40 kids who weren't stuck inside...which is NOT a lot when you're used to 130+ kids running around the place) and about 20 had the actual H1N1 virus. They were quarantined for 8 to 12 days, depending on the severity of their illness, and Andrew and I were bored out of our minds (at first). Many of the kids who weren't inside didn't want to do much with us, so we spent a lot of time working on things in the house, helping the Social Worker sort through THOUSANDS of pictures on her computer, and giving a hand to the HELP volunteers in San Salvador. It was in interesting week, but we ended up enjoying ourselves.
We are happy to say, though, that the majority of the kids are all better. A few are still being treated, but the 80+ quarantined kids were released Thursday, Friday and Saturday. We are glad to have them back! Unfortunately, we can't have our class with them anymore because we aren't allowed to have several kids in an enclosed/close space, so that stinks (not very long-lived either...LAME, but oh well) . We will, however, do fun things with them and update with pictures. For now, I'll show some HELP photos we took.
we went to an orphanage/young mother's home and helped paint a play room. Yes the C is missing, but it's because we had 4 colors to use and 3 painters. So, we had to finish the other letters before we started on the blue letters...make sense? Yeah:) the HELP team minus a few, working at Habitat for Humanity in Casa de Piedra (RIGHT down the road from the Hogar. Little did we know as we were walking down our road at 5:30 am to go meet up the the HELP kids that we'd be turning right back around to come build a house at 8:00! haha:) Love it) check out that view. Whoever gets this house is gonna get a million dollar view!
Because of fear of the Flu H1N1 school has been cancelled in all of El Salvador... A little scary, but since no teachers will be coming to the Hogar the Hermana asked us to be the subs! How exciting! (side note... today 40ish kids were sick and quarantined. Still don't know what they are sick from. They have flu like symptoms)
One of our classes this week was about keeping the earth free from trash. There is a problem with littering in most 3rd world countries. No exception here in El Salvador. Anyway, we bought all the kids in the class (19) a bag of chips and gave them a cup of water. While they were eating we taught them about keeping the earth clean and green. Once they finished we put some tape on their empty bags and cups. I had a drawing of the earth on my shirt and we told the kids that I represented Mother Earth. We asked them what the earth would look like if it was full of trash. We then told them to stick their trash on me. This is what I looked like...
We then taught them to throw away their trash and that when they saw trash on the ground that they should pick it up and throw it away. It was a really fun class and the kids enjoyed it!
This week we had Chusita and Xiomara up for the Noche Especial. They have been really excited about it for awhile now (and so have we). We found a no-bake recipe for cookies online and decided to make them for the girls. They didn't turn out like we are used to but they were still really good! They were extra gooey and we had to eat them with spoons!
One thing that Chusita always says when you ask her what she wants to do is make bracelets! She LOVES it. So that's what we did with them for our activity. Well it was just me. Andrew wasn't in the mood to make a bracelet so he just talked while us girls had fun!
We had another Noche Especial with Roberto and Geovanny and we decided to have a birthday bash for them. Roberto turned 18 on June 18 and Geovanny turned 27 on June 23. We had a party for them on June 24 (which, I should mention that Geovanny has been telling us that his birthday was coming up since the first day we arrived on May 9. We knew we HAD to do something for him, since he was so excited to turn 27). We ate some cake, gave them each a small present and played uno. And yes, we did get a sweet video of Geovanny saying "uno".
I forgot to mention that we did eat some spaghetti as well (which has been Andrew and I's dinner specialty for the last 2 months....not bad). Roberto told us it was his favorite food, and I think you can definitely tell. Geovanny with the beautiful cake. Seriously, beautiful...and tasty. From Frooty Kake down the road.
Andrew and all of the other men at the Hogar received a sweet pen with a laser and LED light on it for Father's Day. Andrew and I have been wanting to get an LED light so that we could do some "light writing" with my camera. Basically, light writing is using an LED light (or some kind of smaller light emitter) to draw a picture in the dark. It's hard for me to explain, so I'll show the pictures in just a sec. Anyway, so since we finally got one (for free!), we decided it would be fun to do with the kids, and it was. Check out their creations:
There is a really cool program called "4 patas" which is a dog therapy group that comes to the Hogar every Saturday morning MUY temprano (can you tell Andrew and I are not morning people?). They usually come around 8 and end at about 10:30. Anyway, so Andrew and I just started attending about 3 weeks ago and we love it. The dogs are kinda crazy (I'm not much of a dog person), but the kids LOVE it. Here are a few pictures for you check out: the boys showing off their muscles...walking dogs takes strength
Okay, so the pictures and video don't really show what dog therapy is...but I assure you there are dogs and it is a lot of fun! And Walter is awesome on the drums and I love when he plays them:)
About once a month The Foundation Hermano Pedro throws a huge concert to raise funds for the Hogar. The Foundation and the Hogar are pretty much the same organization but The Foundation just raises money for the Hogar. Anyway, these concerts are a big deal. Anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 people come each month. They play great music and everyone LOVES to dance. They just get up from their seats whenever they want and just dance in the aisles. Its fun... just ask Andrew and Xiomara.
One of the kids took this picture but its of the orchestra/stage
Not all the kids can go but usually about a hand full or so of them are able to go. Whenever they go though they always have a great time. These kids love to dance and sing! (If you haven't noticed)
Juan is another kid that is always singing to the music playing. He is the one we made the spiderman t-shirt with. Great singer!
We have been working with the Foundation a lot lately with some of our ideas to help raise money and we put the slide show (the one Juan is singing to) together with them using some of the pictures we've taken. Everyone loved the slide show at the concert. It was played 3 times and people started clapping once it started playing! Really amazing feeling!
For more information about the Foundation and the Hogar check out their website. (Even if you dont know Spanish check it out. Just click on the icons below the pictures. They have links.)
The other day we had this really fun activity/class with some of the kids (about 15). We taught them all about hygiene. We brought hand sanitizer to wash everyone's hands and taught them to wash their hands before every meal and after using the bathroom. Plus, we brought some child toothpaste (bubble gum flavored with bob esponja on the front) and taught them how to brush their teeth and how often. Then we put some toothpaste on their fingers and they brushed their teeth. We had other things there like lotion, baby wipes to wash their faces, and baby cologne. It was fun!
Some other HELP volunteers (Taylor and Alicia) were here to help so we were able to teach a lot of kids. After teaching them all about hygiene we had a little scavenger hunt. Taylor dressed up with a black bandit mask on to be "Mala Diente." She jumped out and scared the kids. Then she stole a tooth from Alicia because she did not brush her teeth. Taylor and Alicia were really good with the kids and really funny. Andrew was the superhero "Super Diente" and gave the kids clues to be able to find Alicia's tooth. We didnt get many pictures because we were too busy with the kids, but here is one of Andrew.
Hey yins. It's been a week (plus some) filled with fun and laughter. I have VIDEOS! I had so much fun watching and subtitling the other video of Roberto, that I've decided that videos are definitely the way to go. These kids are really entertaining, so why not share the love?
Alright, so I'm going to post a video of Memo singing and dancing. This kid is hilarious! He is chubby, often whips his shirt off to belly dance, and goes to music school so he sings reallllly loud and plays the drums. He reminds Andrew and I of Jack Black (more when he used to have longer hair) because he's a total ham. Anyway, one night before Andrew and I went out to eat pupusas up the road, we got a little treat from Memo.
More videos (there are two more, I think...definitely worth watching though...definitely) The first is of Roberto singing with headphones in. He's singing "te quiero" which is a popular Spanish song. It's sung by Flex so look it up if you want to get the full effect of this video of Roberto here. He is such a cute kid, we love him! I don't think he completely realizes that we can't hear any of the music while he's singing (and he sure is singing loud too!)
Okay, below are the videos and pictures of our all day festivities today. The kids had a race around the Hogar and played Handball. It was definitely a REALLY fun day! (the workers had a race in the morning as well, and we also played softball and soccer tournament style. So much fun!) Videos and pictures of the kids and their handball game
the race before it began
Team Galactic (above) Maritza, Roberto, Carlos, and Geovanny Team Magma...I made those shirts baby...woo!...Ivan, Antonia, Nahum and Memo tip off! Champions!!! I made this shirt here...such art work!:) The others made their own (me and Memo) Andrew and Roberto juntos:) Best buds.
A year ago, Laura and Sam Webb started "Noche Especial". It's one night out of the week where we take two kids up to our house for a night of fun. We can do whatever we want as long as it's fun and we're enjoying ourselves. We, of course, kept the tradition alive and started noche especial 3 weeks ago. We have already had Carlos and Ivan, Maritza and Antonia, and Roberto and Geovanny. We only took pictures with Geovanny and Roberto (we forgot to take pictures before...oops).
The noche especial that just happened was great. We ate hamburgers (YUM!!), drank Coke, ate Doritos and played UNO. What an American night, no? Roberto and Geovanny loved it, and so did we. look good? Made it myself. Pretty proud of myself since it was my first time. Woo! They liked them too washing his hands of Doritos cheese fuzz Uno...we LOVE when Geovanny says this word. It's one word that he will say (another word his says is rojo), and good thing too or else he'd never win! He totally got Roberto by saying "uno" when Roberto only had one card left and forgot to say the word first, haha:)
Roberto hanging out, listening to music. He loves to sing. We'll show you...
haha!! Don't you just love it? We did! (PS- sorry for my Spanish...) And I have to mention that I didn't ask him to say any of this. I just told him that I was going to take a video so he stood up, said his name and told me his favorite bands/singers. Haha! Love this kid.
I might as well update on many other things. We did a photo hunt one night for fun.
RULES: 1-two teams. 2- EVERYONE has to be in the picture (minus the one taking the picture) 3-a picture must be taken of everything on the list within 30 minutes 4- whoever finishes first and obeys all of the rules, wins. OR if not finished in 30 minutes, whoever gets the most pictures within 30 minutes.
10 things we had to take photos of:
Padre Vito Guarato camera red flower beans Nike shoes (sorry this is sideways...I forgot to spin it and can't now that I've uploaded it) a cross a ball a ninera (a worker who cares for the kids) a toilet a dog
It was girls vs. boys. We called it a tie. They took the pictures faster, but they broke the rules.