El Salvador – Day 6

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July 31, 2011 by Chris French

                Today was awesome! We started off the day at the Orphan’s Home. There were at least 3 maybe 4 little houses where the kids stayed. There was a room where the girls stayed and a room for the boys with a living area in the middle of each house. As you walk out of each house you enter a courtyard that is shared by all the children. When we first got to the orphanage the kids were very standoffish. We figured out why later when the lady at the orphanage told us she hadn’t told the kids we were coming, “because many people say they will come, but few show up.” She didn’t want to get the kid’s hopes up and us not show up! We showed up and I’m positive they blessed us more than we did them! We were prepared though. We brought a backpack full of toys for each child, balloons to make balloon animals, random toys to disburse and Zach gave 3 soccer balls to the orphanage. When I asked Jorge, our Salvadorian leader, who to give the soccer balls to he went over and told a young man that we had a soccer ball for the orphanage. The man’s face lit up and he smiled and was quite excited. When I came back in with not one, but three soccer balls a huge smile broke out on his face and he shook my hand and insisted on taking a picture with some of the older boys and Zach. You can see the picture here. This was a big day for these kids. Apparently there is a telethon for orphans in the Fall and these kids might get something from that, but it won’t be much. The only other time they get anything like this is during Christmas so we definitely made an impact on them!

          I’ve been handing out small bouncy soccer balls we got from Oriental Trading all week. I had about 10 left over and today I handed out those. Each older boy (about 6 years old and up) at the orphanage got a soccer ball and a couple of the girls got one too. One little boy in particular was quite excited when I handed him a soccer ball. He went over to the wall nearest him and started throwing it at the wall and running after it as it bounced past him. He was probably 4 so the coordination wasn’t quite there. He did this for about 10 minutes, but one time he threw the ball up and it got stuck in some greenery on top of the wall. I went over to the wall with the intention of rummaging thru the greenery, finding the ball and returning it to him, but one of the Salvadorians with us stopped me. She pointed at the barb wire and other wire around the top of the wall and said, “electricity”, so I backed off. I looked at the little boy and he held out his hand for another ball. The Salvadorian asked me if I had anymore soccer balls. I didn’t. I had already handed them all out. The little boy was about to walk away really sad when I remembered I had a very small soccer ball in my pack. You can hold it in your hand with no problem so it’s not really big enough to give to a congregation so I didn’t really know what I was going to do with it. I pulled it out of my pack and this little boy’s eyes lit up. I bent down to hand it to him and he smiled and rushed over to me. When I handed it to him he took it in both hands and hugged it! He played with Alex, Jorge’s youngest son, Zach and Brennan until we left. Zach and Brennan and Alex took turns “trying” to keep him from scoring, but to no avail. They were over in a corner of the courtyard so very few other kids bothered him.  Kelly said one of the administrators at the orphanage came over and asked him where he had gotten the soccer ball and he pointed at me and hugged the ball.

          That makes the whole trip worth it! If I had had the most miserable experience of my life for the last 5 days that one moment would have made me glad I came! You can see a picture of me, him and the soccer ball here and a video of him playing with the soccer ball here. Eventually we had to leave, but as we got on the bus to go to lunch everyone was saying what a positive experience the orphanage had been. Several of the kids were standing outside waving as our bus left their street. It’s definitely something we’ll be doing again next year!

                We ate lunch at a restaurant in Suchitoto, which is apparently one of the places where the Incan’s descendants have settled. The restaurant sits on a hill overlooking a massive man made lake and more hills in the background. Clickhere to see a picture of this scene. The food was good, but what made the place was the stuff they were selling. They had massive pieces of pottery, animals (armadillos, frogs, iguanas, and ants.) I got an iguana. It’s about 1 ½ feet long and only cost $14! Everything was super cheap there. After lunch and shopping were over we went down to the man made lake and half our group took a 30 minute cruise around the lake while the other half ziplined across the lake. It was only $6 to zipline! You can watch a video of Zach going down the zipline here. It’s pretty blurry, but it gives you an idea of how big the lake is and how long he was on the zipline. I’ll try to find a picture of him going down the zipline. You’ll be able to click here for that picture (Coming Soon)

              Once that was over, and everyone was safely back on firm ground, we headed to supper. We ate at Hacienda Royal tonite. Kelly and I both got the beef fajitas. They were very good…I picked around the peppers for those of you that are interested. Now it’s 11:30 and worship is at 9:00 in the morning so I’m going to bed. Enjoy your day of focus on God!

You can view all the pics here

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