Hogar De Vida
Home of Life
Working at the orphanage has been such a life changing experience. The children are so full of life. Even though each of them have there own devastating story, they have pulled through and they are taken very good care of at their new home at Hogar De Vida.
Hogar De Vida is located on about 7 acres. It consists of three houses. I work in the third. It has a soccer field, a school for the little ones, and a swimming pool. In each house there are at least 2 Tia's. This is what the staff is called and how the children refer to there caretakers in each house. Even now I am sometimes called a Tia and it is nice to know that the kids have accepted me into their house already.
In Costa Rica it is very different than in the states. Instead of pulling children out of their parents home and placing them into foster care, they pull them out and bring them straight into the orphanage. They believe moving the children around as little as possible is what is best for the child and in a way I believe they are right.
The children at Hogar De Vida are put on a very structured schedule. I arrive at the orphanage at 10:30 so before then I am unaware of the schedule. From 10:30 to 11:30 the kids usually swim, play or just hang out around the house. At 11:30 am they eat lunch and then from 12:00 - 2:00 they will nap and it doesn't matter if they are 2 or 10 they will go into their rooms to rest. After their nap they will play until around 4:30 and then they will get ready for dinner and by six they are in bed. Now that the kids have gone back to school, things will be a little different, but they will still be basically on the same schedule.
My project is the farthest away and is located about a mile out of town. Everyday it is a hike, but I love it. Great Exercise and a view you can't resist. I have made a lot of friends. I past by the same people every day. It is not more than just a quick Hola or Buenas Dias that is exchanged, but none the less a silent friendship that is forming.
In the morning I arrive at the orphanage at around 10:30 am. When I get there I clean up the kitchen from breakfast and then play with the kids for a little while. Once the children are all down for their naps, I will pull the clothes of the line and start folding. I also will sweep the porch. In Costa Rica the women take pride in their porch and it is usually swept everyday rather it needs it or not. After the kids are up, we will usually go to the school located on the orphanage grounds and do projects, read or just play outside until it's time for dinner. I will then feed the babies and get them in their pajamas. I will usually leave the orphanage around 5:00 or 5:30.
My Tia's name is Lourdes and she is the most beautiful person. Then we have 5 kids in the house which is not a lot compared to the other two houses, but because most of the kids in this house are older let try to allow each child a room. The other two homes consist of at least 10 to 12 kids. I will be transfering to a different house today. Jake returned home to his parents last Friday and Sebastian will be adopted out this week. I am very excited about the switch, but I love the kids and Lourdes so will be visiting regularly everyday! I will have new pictures of the new kids soon!
Lourdes and Jake Kimberly, Shannon , Natilia Julio
Jake Jake and Sebastian Sabastian
Last Tuesday was the best day. It was an all around amazing experience. It started as just a regular day at the orphanage and it turned out to be one of my best Costa Rican days so far. It started by going outside with the children to play as usual. It was a particularly very hot day. The kids found an old box and we ended up sliding down these hills on the cardboard box all afternoon. We had so much fun. After, we picked mangos out of a tree and while we were in the process the kids spotted two of the most beautiful toucans in the tree above. They were so excited and needless to say so was I! They were breathtaking! The colors were unbelievable! Bright florescent orange and green on their beaks and there tail was bright red. Unfortunately I did not have a camera on hand that day, but it is something that I will hold close to my heart forever. It is not everyday you slide down a hill on a cardboard box, pick mangos from a tree and then to top it off see two of the most beautiful tucans!