Tuesday, November 12, 2013
We have been here about three months and have begun to understand more about ourselves and the children we work with. At times, it is easy to get caught up in our work and lives here. But today, we were fortunate enough to be reminded why were here doing what we are doing. All three of us have grown close to three children whose names are Miguel Angel, Luz Elena and Karen. Miguel Angel and Karen are siblings and Luz Elena is their cousin. All three have very big personalities, one more sassy than the next. Both Miguel Angel and Luz Elena are twelve years old and Karen is nine. We know a little bit about their home lives and, needless to say, it's not perfect. Regardless, they are three of the happiest children we know. During the hour before lunch, we spend time talking with them while we gather materials for our classes. They sit with us, tell us about their classes, their dreams and their lives. In just three months, these children have made an impact on us, as have all of the children at the Hogar, but today was a little different.
The Hogar, which translates into "home", is way more than just a school. It is a place for the children who live in La Romana to go. It gives them the opportunity to get off the streets and eat, possibly, the only hot meal they will have that day. During the time before lunch, Luz Elena was telling us how some children from the town, who do not recieve meals during the day, come to the Hogar to eat lunch even if they do not attend the school. She continued to explain to us that the principal allows food to be given to children who are not students at the Hogar, however, if the principal is not present in the comedor (or cafeteria), the staff will not always feed these children. With wisdom way beyond her years, Luz Elena proclaimed how wrong she thought that was and did not agree with it. As she was telling us this, there was a passion in her eyes that is unique for a twelve year old. In that moment, we were reminded why we began this beautiful journey to begin with. It began with a passion to do something. Sometimes we can get caught up in our own frustrations, fears, stresses or things from home, that we can forget what it is to do service to begin with. Carola ended her morning classes with a difficult class which resulted in a lot of frustration. She told me that she just wanted to give up and stop teaching that group because of their behavior. After this particular class, we talked about how sometimes it´s the worst kids who need the most attention. In addition, when the teacher is not doing their job very well, it makes our thirty minutes a day with them even more important. In just a few words from a little girl, we knew that although we would have times of frustration, we can and will never give up because we are doing something we are passionate about. Luz Elena reminded us what it is to be passionate about something and not forget what we came here to do in the first place. I know that I am so grateful to each and everyone of my children and I continue working, even on the hardest of days, for them. This may not be the only time we need to be reminded of this, but I know that we can always count on our students to do so.