Today was extra special for the team, and most everyone’s favorite day, as they visited two special needs orphanages. Grab a Kleenex and read these precious accounts of today’s adventure!
(Please know that we respect the wishes of the orphanages who do not allow photos to be taken.)For our last day, we spent our time visiting special needs orphanages, both adult and children. These are simply the happiest, most carefree people. At San Martín, the adult orphanage, we danced the morning away. It was so special because I got to see so many familiar faces and we got to “Chu Chu Wa” one last time. That afternoon, we went to Guirola, the orphanage for special needs children, and I spent all of my time with a girl named Esperanza, which means Hope in English. Although she was non-communicative, we had such a great time. When it was time to go, she kissed my hand before being taken back to her room. There truly are no words to describe this feeling or this experience as a whole. I’ve never felt such overwhelming feelings of love and pure joy anywhere else. I’m not by any means ready to leave, but I know that these memories will stick with me forever. -Elle Eickholz
Today I had the experience to visit San Martín and Guírola for the second time. San Martín is a special needs orphanage for adults. At San Martín we danced, laughed, hugged, and smiled more than ever. There was a man who would pull my braids then run and hide. Finally I caught up to him and he just smiled and hugged me. It was so amazing that such a small gesture like a hug made my heart so full. We then traveled to Guírola which was a special needs orphanage for kids below 18. There I found a little girl named Dorris who was about 3 years old and had down syndrome. The whole day she laid on me while we laughed. Today my heart became more full than I could ever imagine... The people I met and spent time with today, blessed me more than I ever thought possible. - Kendall Mclean
Today we visited the two special needs orphanages, San Martin and Guirola. San Martin was our first stop. This orphanage is home to special needs kids of ages 18+. This place is full of laughter and smiles, you can’t help but feel the overwhelming amount of love. We danced and sang our hearts out until our sides hurt. I even learned a few new moves :) At around noon we left to get some lunch and then made our way to Guirola. This is my personal favorite!! Backstory- last year on the trip we came to this same orphanage and I made a very special friend, Lionel. He was known to have a rather ornery reputation. At first he was not interested in playing with anyone but I soon convinced him to be my friend. When we had to leave it was extremely heartbreaking because I never thought I’d see him again. I’ve thought about him everyday since. Present- I was so excited to arrive today because I hoped he’d be there. As soon as we got to the center I immediately asked one of the nurses where he was. She took me to his room and he had the biggest smile on his face. I couldn’t tell if he remembered me but he was way more excited to hang out with me this time around!!! We colored and played with water bottles, his favorite thing, all day long. I could tell he was very happy in his home, which made it easier to leave. I hope I can continue to watch him grow. Overall this is by far my favorite day, special needs children is something I’m so extremely passionate about and I plan to make working with them my career one day. This trip will continue to change my life for years to come! -Shelby Sokolik
For their last night the team went out for a traditional El Salvador dinner of Papusas and fried plantains! Please keep them in your thoughts & prayers as they travel home on Tuesday.