Tienda las Chiquititas

The “little girls” at Love & Hope Children’s Home recently became entrepreneurs! For the last few weeks, the little girls gave up 25 cents of their snack money everyday to save up to buy supplies for a “venta,” or sale, of chips with all the fixings (we’ll explain below). Once the girls had saved enough money, they bought individual bags of chips, as well as mango, paterna, limes, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and salt.

When they were ready to open their “venta,” the girls and their caregiver posted a sign on the door to their room: “Little Girls’ Store,” “Sale of prepared chips for only $0.25.”


Prepared chips with “everything” are doused with lime juice, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce and salt. The girls also had mango and paterna (a large seed that is boiled until soft) for sale, also eaten with all of the previously mentioned ingredients.


The girls sold out of chips on the first day, then bought more later in the week and sold out again! The older boys admired their business savy, we heard one of them saying they were going to start selling soda.

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Great job, girls! We admire your initiative, teamwork and responsibility!

How We Play

If there is one thing the children at Love & Hope are good at, it is playing. Even more, growing up around so many other children, they are great at playing together. The Love & Hope kids have a great talent for taking any object and imagining it into a plaything or taking any situation and creating a game. It is entertaining to watch them be imaginative and creative, and even more amusing to join in the fun! Here are some of the games and toys they like best:

Bingo: Bingo has been a Love & Hope tradition for many years thanks to our friend, Mandy. Once every couple weeks, we pull out the Bingo supplies: homemade cards and chips, a bag of balls for calling the numbers, and prizes. Usually we play until everyone has had a chance to win once!

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Sardines: Sardines is similar to hide-and-go-seek. After turning off all the lights in the house, or heading to the park when it is dark, the kids select one person to hide while everyone else waits in another room. After hiding, all the players separate to look for the “hider.” Once found, they hide with the other person, until everyone has found the hiding spot. Playing this game in the past, we’ve seen more than 10 of our kids, young adults and caregivers, squished and hiding together in closets or showers, trying not to laugh as they wait for the other players to discover their spot.

Card games: The Love & Hope kids love card games. Decks of cards wear fast in this house as the kids play and play all kinds of card games. Some of their favorites are War, Stress, Speed and Poker (innocently, of course). Linda loves a card game called “Dutch Blitz,” and when she brings out the special set of cards, the other kids gather around, anxious to play. Linda is tough to beat though!

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Legos and toy animals: Keeping the boys busy is easy; just leave them alone with a box of Legos or toy animals and soldiers. They stay occupied for hours (literally), building, modeling, making simulations, setting everything up. The boys create little battlefields in the dirt, or fly their Lego planes around the house.

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La Casita: Love & Hope Children’s Home was recently blessed to be able to construct a small playground on the lawn. Everyone has been referring to the playground as “la casita” or “the little house.” The kids love to sit up on the platform to play, talk or read. They use the swings everyday. We’ve also attached some rock-climbing holds to the back side, and hope to add a hammock underneath. The platform is also high enough to see over wall surrounding our house. If the restaurant across the street erupts in cheering during a big soccer game, our kids run to climb up the platform and see who scored the goal on their big-screen TV’s. During our “family meals” on Tuesday nights, we can always find a group of kids eating their dinner on the platform. La Casita has been a great addition to our house, and the kids (and adults) love it!

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The children at Love & Hope also, of course, love electronic games and watching TV. But we are encouraged by the fact that they can and want to play together outside or share in a board game. Our children are fortunate in that there is always someone to play with nearby! What are the games your children play?

Soccer Tournament

A few weeks ago, on a Sunday afternoon, Love & Hope Children’s Home participated in a soccer tournament with our friends from La Casa de Mi Padre and Mi Casa, two other children’s homes here in El Salvador.

In total, there were over 100 people in attendance: kids, teenagers, young adults, caregivers and volunteers. The event was organized and paid for by a team from Cuyahoga Valley Church visiting Love & Hope Children’s Home for the week, but we were also joined by a team visiting La Casa de Mi Padre, which only added to the fun!

Once everyone had arrived, we gathered around to hear how the tournament would work. Tio Julio, from Love & Hope, said a prayer to start the tournament.


Each home was divided into two teams: younger kids and older kids. And each team played two games, one game against each of the other homes. Vanessa and Moises were the stars. Vanessa was a goal-scoring machine, and Moises, as goalie, stopped ball after ball from going into our goal. Aly, Salvador, Eliseo and Miah also did a tremendous job!

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Next, the older kids played their two games. We were so proud of them! The Love & Hope teenagers were relatively young compared to several players from the other homes, but that didn’t stop us. Our kids did awesome and played aggressively; Esau and Michell were unstoppable! They were supported by Jocelyn, Jacobo, Tio Henry and Raquel.

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In the end, Love & Hope won every game! Perhaps even more awesome than that, our kids, caregivers and volunteers supported each other incredibly. Love & Hope was so loud! We tried to wear similar shirts and made posters. It was fun to see that the little kids, especially, enjoyed the noise and cheering. They were so proud of themselves and reveled in the attention.

After the tournament, each child was allowed to choose a prize while they waited for pizza. Once the pizza arrived and everyone was served, the kids and adults from the three homes ate together and mingled. It was fun to see them interacting, sharing and laughing together. They compared experiences and found common ground. This tournament turned out to be a great way for our kids to connect with peers in their same situation.

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It was a wonderful afternoon of fellowship. Thank you to the Cuyahoga Valley Church team for making it all possible!