27 October - 17 November 2011.
Casa Guatemala. Rio Dulce. Guatemala.
That’s what I called home for the past few weeks. And what a home it was. It is a special place.
Home is where the heart is, they say. My heart definitely was touched in more ways than one at Casa Guatemala.
Casa Guatemala’s Children’s Village is located on the isolated shores of the Rio Dulce in Guatemala and is home to 250 children. The organization’s vision is to be able to provide for the children in their care the best life possible while being completely self sufficient and running small businesses that provide job training for the older children and the funds needed to operate. Casa Guatemala strives to provide a safe home, medical care, education, and a healthy environment to children in Guatemala who have been faced with abandonment, abuse, neglect or extreme poverty.
I got to know a few of these kids.
Maria, Miguel, Jesus and Jose all come from the same family and all four of them spent the better part of their lifes in the orphanage. Miguel and Jesus are 16 year old twins. These twins have big dreams. They want to become professional soccer players. I haven’t seen them play yet, but according to themselves - they rock. I believe them. ‘Baby’ Jose (14) is more interested in Perez Molina and what he is going to do for their country rather than soccer or girls. Adorable kid. He wants to become a doctor one day. Then there is Maria, the only girl in the family and at 18, the oldest. She would like to go to University. She hopes to find a sponsor and receive a scholarship that can make her dream come true.
As the oldest of the family, Maria has some responsibilities towards her younger siblings. And she thrives in her role as big sis. What a mature young woman she is - giving sister/motherly advice when needed, but also letting the younger ones explore, make mistakes and do their own thing. Maria is the big sister everyone want to have. She demonstrated accountability.
The twins would talk about soccer, watch soccer, play soccer, breath soccer, dream soccer, eat soccer - if there was such a dish (hmmm…wonder what that would taste like?). They showed me passion alright.
Jose might be young, but he has big dreams. I wouldn’t be surprised if he ruled the world one day. He has already won me over - serenading me Prince Royce’s “Su hombre soy yo”.
I wish you were mine. I would adopt all of you if I could. That’s how near you are to my heart. Every morning these kids would greet me with big hugs, innocent smiles and pancakes. Casa Guatemala sure as hell made me feel at home. Even though it’s time for me to move on, I can’t wait to come back home one day.
Man, I’m gonna miss you lovelies.
All these kids and so many more are beautiful little beings, whom without the support of Casa Guatemala wouldn’t have such a bright future. So please if you have the funds, donate and give these and the other 250 kids a tomorrow. If you cannot donate in funds, but you are in Rio Dulce, why don’t you stop by and volunteer for some time? They can always use a helping hand at Hotel Backpackers or at Casa Guatemala itself.