Today, we pulled up to the Roblealto center named El Manantial. We walked around the center to receive the grand tour. The instant we walked in, we were greeted by the zealous faces of a sea of children’s faces. I personally was referred to as “un gigante,” a giant, by a pair of boys no older than eight years old. This was possibly the first time I have ever been complimented on height, and the love didn’t stop there. While sanding down the railing and poles of a ramp that linked the bottom and top floors together, we often could look up to see children looking over the bannister, watching us. Often times, it would be dead silent, and we would hear the giggling and soft Spanish being spoken above us (A solid majority of which we could not understand). Despite this language barrier, our team still made connections with the kids without even being in the classrooms. This is proof of how love is a universal language that is able to overcome any barrier, culture, tongue, or nation.
El Quince de Septiembre:
Today was our first day serving at the Roblealto center called Quince de Septiembre. We were welcomed by so many smiles, cheers, and warm hugs from the staff and children. Everyone was so grateful and exited that we were there. We split up into two groups-one group painted while the other helped out in classrooms. I was on the painting team and we were able to get a first coat on the wall and the ceiling even with the little painting skills we have. The other group helped out the teachers in the classroom with whatever was needed. They also did crafts with them while teaching them about how God sent Jesus to die on the cross for our sins and they wore those crosses the rest of the day. The last half hour we all got to play with the kids ranging from toddlers to twelve year olds and they showered us with love. Whether we were able to have a whole conversation with them in Spanish or only communicated through sounds and hand motions, we felt the connections being made with them and all left filled with pure joy.
Today we went to the Hope Center first. We toured the classrooms and saw where they hold church for the community. Julio, the lead pastor of Openhouse, was there and talked to us about the center. Finca was our next stop. We got there before the kids and started setting up their stations which consisted of soccer, water balloons, bracelet making, and mask painting. I was busy filling up water balloons when a mass of kids came running up behind me. Each of their faces had the biggest smile on it and they were screaming with excitement. While walking around I saw a small group of girls making bracelets and went to sit down with them. I sat with a girl named Anna and she recruited me to make bracelets with her rather than have us each make our bracelets alone. When we were all called to sit with the group she and I had five bracelets each on our wrists. The whole group got together in two lines to play with water balloon game after that. We tossed it across to our partners and stepped back each time we caught it until it burst. Anna and I’s balloon burst very early on, but she quickly ran to the water balloon bucket to grab two more and we continued to play like nothing had happened. I found that adorable and was overjoyed that she simply wanted to keep playing with me. After that we were instructed to follow the dance moves of a little boy on the stage. We were all thoroughly entertained by his dancing although most of us were not as light on our feet as him. The children left around lunch time and we transitioned to sanding and painting chairs and desks for the children’s classrooms. Painting, along with paint fights, took up the rest of exciting first day at Finca.