It is always fun and refreshing for us to see El Salvador through a visitor’s eyes. We who live here full time forget the romantic perspective with which we originally took it all in: the food, the language, the color, the natural phenomena, the landscape.
Today’s blog is written by Calvin, a visitor and cousin to Kirsten, one of our staff members. Calvin, his father Jody, and their friend Erich visited Love & Hope Children’s Home in July. The three of them accomplished a lot while they were in El Salvador, formed great relationships, found some time for adventure, and enjoyed some of El Salvador’s best pupusas.
I really enjoyed visiting Love & Hope! Thank you for giving me this opportunity. I did not know what to expect of the trip and how the kids would react to me. I have to say, my favorite part was playing with the kids and helping them with their homework. It was very fun to hangout and play with the kids. I found it to be a difficult challenge to talk with them in Spanish, but since they were able to speak some English and I could speak some Spanish, it made it easier to get over the language barrier. All of the staff at Love & Hope are very nice. I admire what they are doing there! They are making a difference in the lives of these children every day. My hope was that I would make a difference on a much smaller scale. I enjoyed meeting other missionaries like Madelyn and Brandon. I would love to do it again! I wanted to share some of my key memories.
On the first day I arrived, I was sort of worried about meeting the kids, but right away Esau picked up a soccer ball and started passing with me. That was when I knew this was going to be a fun trip! The next day we started getting into the school routine. The kids woke up at 4:00 in the morning to get ready for school, ate breakfast and left. I woke up later, because I was exhausted from the plane ride the day before. When I woke up we had leftovers from the kid’s breakfast which consisted of milk, sugar, and rice. It was delicious! The school routine each day allowed us to work on the project during the day, and then when the kids arrived home from school, we could help them with their homework. Being with the kids each day was the best part! I worked mainly with Herberth and he worked hard. The kids were very friendly and enjoyed talking and spending time with us and all of the other missionaries. Most of the children were very open to allowing us to help them with homework and play with them.
The second day, we began our project for Love & Hope which turned out to be very rewarding! We refinished three tables and built 24 cubbies for the children. What I did not expect was how hard it was going to be to purchase our supplies! But, we did it and did not have to go back to the store many times. The language barrier made it difficult to purchase our supplies, but with the help of other customers, we were able to get through the language barrier. My friend Erich, my dad and I worked very hard every day on this project while the kids were at school. At the end of the week, we hung the cubbies in each of the kids’ rooms. It was so rewarding to see how excited the kids were with their own cubby! Some of the kids decorated them and put their names on them. I knew when I was coming to Love & Hope that I was going to do this project and it turned out to be so much fun and rewarding and I know I made a difference for the kids!
Another highlight for me was the earthquake! This was the first earthquake I have ever experienced. It was a 5.9 earthquake and we felt it at about 9pm at night. It made it even more exciting because the kids were excited. We had just gotten them down to sleep when the earthquake happened. Thank God nothing bad happened and we just got to experience the quake and tremble! I will never forget this brief moment in time during my stay at Love & Hope!
We also got to enjoy many other parts of El Salvador like hiking a volcano, surfing at a really cool beach with big waves, shopping in the market place, going out to dinner, hiking La Puerta del Diablo, running into the fat bunny at 2:00am on the way to the bathroom and playing Banana Grams in the evening! So many great memories but the best will always be the kids and the staff and what they are doing there each day to help them! Thank you again for what you are doing there and letting me be a part of the lives of the kids there. I really would love to come back again some day!
Thank you for visiting, Jody, Cal and Erich. The refinished tables and new cubbies have been such a blessing already. We had a blast getting to know you and look forward to seeing you in the future!
If this blog made you want to experience El Salvador for yourself, visit our website for more information about visiting Love & Hope Children’s Home individually or with a team.