Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Quinciñera, Monday!

This morning we got the great pleasure of getting a little dressed up for a very special occasion. As you may or may not know, the money that we left behind last year went to building a house for a family, a woman and her two daughters, in the worst of poverty. The older daughter, Maria, had mentioned this past summer that she was turning fifteen soon and that her biggest dream in life was to have a quinciñera (much like a sweet sixteen party to us).
So, today we made her dream become a reality.
We loaded the bus with balloons, cake, and a ball gown for Maria and we made our way to pick up the birthday girl. Maria seemed so nervous the whole time, her little sister Marta was so excited! We bought them all a new outfit to wear and did their make up for them. Then, we turned on some music and got the party started. Maria paraded into the room as our jaws dropped. At her request, we ate Pollo Campero for lunch and then we sang Happy Birthday, first in Spanish and then in English. Lastly, Maria took a smack at the piñata and Marta finished it up for her with great force.

When we took the family home, I was anxious to see the work our money had done.
Although the one room, wooden home may not seem like much, it did tremendous things.
It really put things into perspective to get to see our organization's name engraved on a plaque on the side of this life-changing home.
It's humbling to know that our hard work had created a total 180 in the lives of this family.

Next, we went to San Martin, the special needs orphanage, and to the AIDS orphanage. We had the time of our lives dancing to Justin Bieber and Michael Jackson with the special needs and we finished up by handing out treat bags and cookies. At the AIDS orphanage we played a long game of duck, duck, goose and jumped our tails off with the jump rope.
To finish up our day, we went up the mountain for papusas and to do a little souvenir shopping.
We all looked back on the trip we have had and laughed about the memories that have been made. We've had a great time touching the lives of others and have developed improved perspectives on the lives that we live. We got our fair share of goodbye pictures with our amazing host family and translators that we may not see tomorrow.
There's no way that we can thank any of them enough for their help in this journey!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Sunday, Who knew PE could be so fun?

Today we took the Cisna boys to the national baseball stadium. As soon as we arrived to the sadium, one of the Cisna boys, Miguel, ran to Alex, Ryan, and I and gave us a huge hug. Migeul had remembered us from our previous visit to El Salvador in Februray 2012. At the stadium we first taught the boys the rules of the game and how to throw, catch, and hit the ball. Once every boy learned the basics, the boys had to opportunity to practice what they had learned. Once they felt that they were sufficient we played an actual baseball game with them. We mixed the "gringos" and salvadorians to create two teams. Even though the boys had only played baseball several times, several boys were extremely good!

After our baseball game, we took the boys out to eat at Pollo Campero. Pollo Campero is a restaurant that is known for their fried chicken. It's kind of like an American Kentucky Fried Chicken. We sat with the boys and attempted to communicate with them while eating delicious chicken. Much better than KFC if I do say so myself!


After Pollo Campero we took the boys back to the mission house to the community park. This was the first time our team had visited the park. It was super cool! The park had a soccer field, a basketball court, a volleyball court, some swings, and monkey bars. At the park we played whatever the boys wanted to. We had a pretty sweet basketball and volleyball game! And the beautiful weather only contributed to the day we had.

When we took the boys back to Cisna, we toured their orphanage. Last year when our team visited, the cafeteria was just an empty room and the food had to be cooked in another location and brought to the orphanage. So, after seeing the need for something better, our team donated money to help pay for improvements to the cafeteria. This year when our team toured the orphanage, the cafeteria had tables, chairs, plates, cups, silverware, and a whole new functional kitchen! It was so cool to see how much the cafeteria had changed in one year. It felt great to know that we really were helping out people in need. I loved being able to see the physical change! ~ Todays notes were provided by Ashley Latham

Last night the group also packed meals and headed out to feed the homeless on the streets of San Salvador.
Monday, they will be throwing a quinceanera, or 15th birthday party for a girl living in a rural village.
They will also be visiting our friends at San Martin, a home for special needs adults and another orphanage for HIV children. 

 (Photos provided by

Sunday, February 17, 2013

More village pictures from Saturday

The group is having a little bit of trouble with their internet connection this evening so the post about Sunday's events may not be up until mid-morning on Monday. Until then, Here are a few more pictures from Saturday at the village...

(Photos provided by

To the village we go!

Today's entry comes from Baylee Blackburn...

Day 2- Feb. 15, 2013
Today we threw a festival for the village kids. I was in charge of bandages. After being attacked by some band-aid thirsty, cute children, I went around and gave mothers sterilizer wipes and bandages. One woman had a baby with cuts and green puss coming out of them so I gave her a tube of antibiotic cream. 
After the festival we handed out rice and beans to families in the villages. Our last stop was an old lady (who quit counting her age “decades” ago), she took care of 5 other people and children in her house about 5ft by 10ft in size. We gave her the food and asked if there was anything she wanted us to pray for her about. She replied, “Please pray for my daughter, grandson, and my sight,” in spanish of course. She had fallen the night before because she was so blind. It hit me right then that I should give her my glasses. I let her use try them on and she kept talking about how she could see differently and everything was so clear now. She hugged me and continued on. Now we are off to make sandwiches for the homeless.

The Lord himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade. The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon at night. The Lord keeps watch over your life. The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever. 
-Psalms 121:5-8

(Photos provided by

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Sweet Time with New Friends...

Here are a few pictures from yesterday. The team visited with special needs and infant children at the main intake center in San Salvador, and it looks like several new friendships were made!
Be sure to check in later for more pictures and comments from students!
(Photos provided by

Friday, February 15, 2013

Safely in El Salvador...

After a long day of travel and significant flight delays, the McCracken County High School service team made it safe and sound to San Salvador!

They were only left with about an hour at the orphanage today,
but are looking forward to a full day of serving tomorrow! Please check back through out the day and evening to see photos and read first hand accounts from students on this incredible journey!