This is my first trip to El Salvador. I have been so extremely humbled by everything that I have seen, and it’s hard to believe that there are only two more days left of this trip. I have found my heart broken many times this week. Today, we started by visiting Guirola, a special needs orphanage. We were welcomed by the director of the facility upon arrival and were shortly introduced to other staff members. They led us in a tour of the facility. Out of all of the orphanages we have been to so far, I must say this was the nicest. All of their buildings were well kept and the inside of the children’s rooms were very clean and neat. All of the children were wearing clean clothes and had their hair fixed neatly. After the tour, some of the team members separated to unpack therapy equipment and toys for the physical therapy room. The rest of team, including myself, stayed to play with the children. All of them were very eager to be loved on and played with. There was one child, who was in a wheelchair, that sat himself in front of the speaker to listen to the music. Any time we would try to move him, he would lock his breaks. He was having such a fun time dancing. I felt such love for all of these children and it hurt me to leave them, however, it was a relief to know that the facility was taking very good care of them.
After leaving Guirola, we went to meet with some boys from CISNA. We ate lunch with them and bowled for two hours. They were all so excited and many of them were extremely good at the game. I found joy in watching the smiles come to their faces when they would knock down most or all of the pins. After leaving the bowling alley, we followed them to CISNA, where we are able to hand out crafts and yo-yos. The team got to see their craft room and even buy some of their art work. The boys there are so talented and creative! I couldn’t believe the amazing images that they had made!
We then ended the night by feeding the homeless. This started out a little differently than when we went on Sunday. For starters, it was storming, so we were all bundled up in the back of the truck wearing ponchos and rain coats. After stopping and seeing some of these people without shirts on, we quickly started taking the ponchos off and handing them out. What was an hour of being wet and cold compared to all night, or even days? My comfort all of a sudden was not important to me at all. Another thing that we did a little different was going through the down town area. For someone who has not experienced this, it is quite scary. People just swarmed the truck. We were lucky to have very great translators there who managed to make people get into a line. It seemed like every time we turned around people were coming out of alleys and streets and the line kept growing and growing. There was a very elderly woman there and many small children. It’s not fair for people to have to live like this. Feeding the homeless is such a bitter sweet experience. At the end of it all, you feel happiness for the people that you did get to feed. You feel joy for the person that was extremely grateful. But at the same time, you feel sadness for the ones that you could not provide food for. And you feel grief for those small kids left to fend for themselves.
Today has been an emotional, but great day. I am so grateful for this experience and to see just how truly blessed I am in my life. I am so excited to have seen God working all around us this week.