Laughing kids, roses and salchipapas

(This post contains no pictures of my work as we are not allowed to take pictures of the children for privacy reasons)

The start of week two found me sanitizing a ball pit and winning over the tia’s in the children’s home very quickly. When all the kids were down for nap time I asked if there was anything else I could do and the tia’s looked at the 800 plus plastic balls that sat in the ball pit. “Por supuesto” I replied (of course). Being a public health major I am all about sanitizing frequently contacted surfaces, especially in a home for kids and with a ball pit there are all kinds of germs that can grow in there. Anyways the tia’s loved this because it saves them a lot of time. While they ate their lunch and I cleaned we chatted, by the end of our hour and a half session Jackie had invited me to her house for dinner on my last day and Alicia was going to bring me roses to give to my family for Valentines day after I asked where I could find some. Very nice ladies who work EXTREMELY hard with minimal pay, yet they truly do it for the kids and say they wouldn’t do anything else. Its amazing to watch them work and quiet a crying baby or convince a 2 year old they want to eat their pea soup. As well they have changing baby clothes down to a science, they can change 3 babies in the time it takes me to change 1, though to be fair my baby wiggled a lot.

My absolute favorite thing about kids will always be this fact; they make you forget your own troubles in an instant. On my way to work Monday I had a little life drama playing out in my head, its fair to say I wasn’t in the greatest mood. Yet, the moment I walked into that small room with my 4 baby boys and they greeted me with shrieks and hugs, everything just disappeared. Children have this way about them that fills you up with all
Artsy rose shot next to the wall art in my roomArtsy rose shot next to the wall art in my roomkind of confidence and positive energy and it evolves from you giving them your energy and attention to start with. Its an investment and even when you are tired its the easiest thing to put on a smile and tell them how smart they are, or how beautiful they look because its true. I am working in this home for only a month, and while its only a month out of their lives, these early months are so important for them. They need to be held, given affection and stimulated in order for their brains to fully develop. 80% of brain development takes place from the ages of 0-5, and without proper stimulation and care, a child’s brain will fail to function at full capacity in the future. This is my job, to help out around the tias and find the babies that need some rocking before their nap, or a room full of kids who want you to chase them around. That’s what kids need and it feels great to provide it.

I managed to sneak 25 roses into my house to surprise my family for Valentines day! 5 for each lady and 5 for me naturally. Though after Valentines day, I met an old lady named Marguerite who lives on the property and helps out around the house. She slurs her speech and I can understand about 25% of what she says but I must have made a good impression during our first encounter. Ever since she just loves me and gives me big hugs and kisses, so I gave her four of my flowers and kept one for my room.

Artsy rose shot next to the wall art in my room
I have also found a Salchipapa restaurant nearby which is basically a combination of French fries, eggs, and hot dogs. Costs $1,80 and has a bunch of calories and fat that my body could desperately use. Working with the kids all day really wears you out. I have enjoyed getting some good workouts in with Marco as well! There is an old shut down airport about 2 blocks from my house and the city has since turned it into a park. Its a beautiful escape from the city and provides hundreds of people a safe place to exercise. Marco and I usually do two laps of about 5k each and then he leads me through a bunch of his exercises. Really nice to have a work out buddy but I have also been doing a lot of my own workouts on the jungle gyms that are all over the place. I am determined to put back on a little bit of the muscle I lost prior to coming to Ecuador!! Hopefully I can return to the U.S. with minimal rib visibility… Until week 7, CHAUUU.


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