Back in the noisy dusty city where the loudspeakers on the propane selling truck competes with the one on the water selling truck and they all compete with the never-sleeping knife sharpeners, scrap iron collectors, fruit selling trucks but most of all with the tamale vendors – who would not want to buy tamales at 1 am?
A short visit to Hijos de la Luna (children of the Moon) informs me that the 45 children are all in good health. There is only one baby (6 months old), about 10 under the age of 6, but Coco seems to have it all in good order, as usual. As soon as I come I am handed the baby with the express request to feed him while we have our chat. Trying to juggle baby, spoon and carrot mash, I ask her about the general state of things – kids are happy and even though for a newcomer the environment is very chaotic I can see they are all sitting down for dinner in an orderly fashion, each bringing his spoon and cup to the table. The older ones bring their own plates form the kitchen while the little ones are bring served by a volunteer. Coco and I have a few minutes to chat before the food is devoured and calls for cookies arise from everywhere. I pass a carrot-smeared baby to another volunteer and proceed to dispense cookies as the rules dictate, to those who have emptied the plate and are sitting nicely in their chairs. Hard not to break the rules with all those smiling faces and reaching hands!
The visit at the Procasa Hogar del Nino (the home for boys) was very brief since al the boys had gone for a day of religious events due to the ongoing Easter celebrations. Religious processions are flooding the city streets and the churches have free lunches for the poor and the orphans. The priest in charge of the boy’s home has also promised a week at the beach for children from 3 orphanages but unfortunately the bus destined to take tem has collapsed a few days ago and is beyond repair. Rosa Alba, the administrator and myself have an upsetting day, trying to find other ways to transport 60 children to their only vacation and for some the only outing they ever experience. Eventually our legwork pays off: we find a willing company that is also offering a reasonable price for 2 smaller buses that will fit children, caregivers and luggage. Our happiness lasts 2 hours – the priest in his wisdom decides it is after all too much trouble and why would he accept the support of a donation when they can do with whatever they have? Rosa Alba is speechless. I choose to keep my mouth shut and focus on my rising blood pressure. Happy Easter everyone!