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This day has been sponsored by : various sponsors (sum of several donations)

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Week 9 Day 2 - "Cumpleaños en el Mariano Juvenil"

Today I went with Rebekah to visit her placement, the Mariano Juvenil, a home for teenage girls. Most - if not all - girls there have been sexually abused. Like at the Hogarcito, this is only meant to be a temporary home for them. It is not clear what will happen to them. Adoption is not a likely option. However, for one girl, there might be a fairy tale like happy ending at the horizon. I keep my fingers crossed that things will work out...

Rebekah has new projects for the girls every day. She frequently brings the guitar and sings with them. She teaches them English. She has an impressive repertoire of creative art ideas: one day, they were colouring rice and glued it on paper for bright pictures; another day she brought beads and had them make necklaces; ...; and on the last day she bought dye and let the girls change her own hair from blonde to brunette.

I came on a special day: Feliz cumpleaños, Gabriela! We brought a variety of things to have a birthday party for her. Last night Rebekah and I went to buy a piñata. Unfortunately, we could only find one with cartoons for little children, so we "customized" it... how do you like the silver shoes on purple background? Click here, if you don't know what a piñata is and you'd like to find out. (Note: Though the article refers to Mexico, piñatas are popular in other Latin American countries, as well.)

We also made a couple birthday cakes and you may recognize my handwriting on them. Else, I got the chocolate decoration on my face to "prove" my participation. We also decorated with 16 candles, and balloons (like the ones you've seen in yesterday's pictures). On the group picture, you see Gabriela in the back, brushing away a tear; she was very moved.


For all of my sponsors

This day is for all my sponsors, but in particular for those who contributed a random amount, not quite specific to any day. I am very grateful your generosity allowed me to go on this experience. I am not sure my social contribution was as much as I had hoped and intended, but I think I have done the best I could. I certainly learned a lot.

However, I have decided to put plans for further volunteering on hold for the moment. It is unlikely I will volunteer again through CCS. Though I have met many great people amongst the staff, I find various of the organization's rules restrictive to the overall experience and in some cases conflicting with their own mission and vision.

Most of all, though, I find it emotionally harsh to let go. With all the times I moved from place to place, what made saying good-bye tolerable is that in the back of my mind there's always the intention to stay in touch and see each other again. With many of you, I have managed to do this over the years, right?! These kids steal your heart, and you have to leave them behind, knowing that you will never see them again. One of the little girls once said to me "I want to go away from here." And I asked her "Where do you want to go?" And she said "I want to go away with you." It left me speechless. And heartbroken. On the bright side, I think I suffer more than they do. They are little and will forget quickly.