Saturday, July 3, 2010

Transition to the weekend

My neighbor on the airplane who told me that it rained at night and was dry during the day must have been misinformed. It has rained and is forecasted to rain every day that we're here. Each day, it rains on and off throughout the day and the sun may occasionally appear. However, rain does not alter the daily Casa activities and our trip has not been dampened one bit. Jen and I were out for a walk this afternoon and a downpour started as we were walking home. We decided to pop into a restaurant for some margaritas and chips and guacamole until the rain subsided. When we got home, Matthew showed us pictures and videos that he took of kids doing their Scouting (Girl and Boy Scouts) outside in the rain. They were standing in a circle in the pouring rain and doing some type of team-building activity in which they were crawling under ropes using their elbows on the wet, muddy ground. Matthew was convinced that the activities were strengthening the kids mentally and physically and they seemed to have fun doing it :)

Most of the children at the Casa go home to family members on the weekends. They leave some time between Friday night and Saturday afternoon, and return on Monday morning. This morning, Jen and I were playing Uno with a group of children. I had a little guy (probably 7-8 years old, but very small) sitting with me and we were sharing a hand of cards in the game. His mother walked into the main office and someone playing in our game said "C____, your mom is here." He continued to sit with me and play the game, not seeming to hear or pay attention to what was said to him. About 5 minutes later, the Social Worker came over and told him that he needed to leave with his mom. I hugged him and said that I would see him on Monday. He walked over to the lady who was standing outside of the office and stood next to her--no hug, no emotion, nothing. She told him to say goodbye to the Social Worker and he did. Then, the mom and her son walked out together. That moment cut me to the core. What has happened to this child that caused him to not have any affection or outward emotion toward this woman who was picking him up? That was not the interaction that I observed between all of the children and their family members, but that one really stuck with me.

When you first come to the Casa, you meet incredible, loving, seemingly carefree children. They are so wonderful, and it is hard to imagine that anything or anyone has hurt them in their lives. In spending a little more time here, I am learning bits and pieces of the life stories of some of the children. It is incredibly hard to reconcile how I know these children in the present, in this place, and what I hear about what they have experienced in their pasts. I am constantly reminded of the inherent beauty and resilience of the human spirit. It is particularly evident in children.

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