Thursday, June 18, 2009
by Liza Butler

Today was our fourth day in the barrios. The barrio we visited today was set on a hill and they continue to add houses up the hill. We helped in 2 kindergarten classrooms in the morning, coloring scarves that the children then wear tied on their heads. They are soooo cute running around with them on. At one of the kindergarten classes, the children had sore arms, as they had received vaccines sometime prior to when we arrived. It did not dimish their enthusiasm and we were happy to see they received this protection in an environment with high risk for disease.

After lunch we visited the home of a lovely 14 year old girl named Carolina who is one of the sponsored children in the Hope4Kids program. Her home has a dirt floor and their free standing closet holds about as much clothes as the closet in our hotel would. She had received a letter and pictures from her family and the translator, Patti, read it to her and wrote down her response to be sent back. The children always love to receive photos and I see them study them and share them with others each and every time they get one. Carolina wants to join the Marines when she grows up and hopefully she will break the cycle of poverty in her life.

In the late afternoon the school children joined us to play games together. Despite the chilly, damp weather, they CAME with laughter and joy. The boys took 4 blow up cones and a soccer ball and they were happy as could be running around in the sand and pebbles, often in bare feet, playing football. Although they originally had a rubber ball, when we got the real soccer ball pumped up, their faces lit up and they CAME running to switch them out. The little ones played tug of war and they loved the parachute, as always. And the older girls honed their volleyball skills. We notice with so little, they are very good at playing group games together and not sitting inside.

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