There were storms throughout the night last night and we woke up to rain and clouds which finally cleared in the afternoon.
Today was the first day of school for the children here. They have a large building called the multiuso and started with an assembly in that space followed by lessons in the morning.
While the children were in their classes we briefly visited the special needs house and the farm and then went to various workstations to help with jobs in the kitchen and on the farm.
The special needs house looks after around 20 children who have various needs and some of whom use wheelchairs for mobility. The house is fairly new and was built in memory of an Italian Racing Driver (Marco Simoncelli) whose family wanted to donate something to do good in his name. The house includes therapy rooms and a small therapy pool which is staffed by volunteer therapists.
The inside of the house is very nicely built and quite new but we were most impressed by the atmosphere of joy in the house and the beautiful way that the children were being cared for.
After our visit we were taken on a tour of the farm. The farm provides most of the food for the children in the home and employs local workers. The farm grows vegetables and has fruit trees and houses a small pig farm. Some of the pigs were very cute!
Some less cute…….but looking very happy !!
After visiting the farm some of us went to work stations in the kitchen and a group stayed and worked on the farm. The workers really appreciate help from visiting groups as many hands make light work.
A group cleared the ground in between passion fruit trees.
Others peeled onions which were to be taken to the kitchen and used for the children’s meals.
A third group worked in the kitchen peeling vegetables and baking bread which was taken to the children’s houses for dinner.
Tomorrow we will be working in the farm and kitchen again.
The children only had a half day at school today and we were able to say hello as they walked back to the houses after classes ended. The Pequeños wear uniform to school and all looked very sharp on their first day.
After lunch we were able to spend some more times playing with the children in the park. Communication is much easier now as we are getting to know the children and they are getting to know us.
We played until the bell rang at 4:15 pm when the children have to go to their houses to do chores. Chores usually consist of raking the yard, washing the dishes, doing laundry, cleaning the bedrooms and the bathrooms.
One of the greatest memories today was when one of the pequeños who had been working on a cruise ship for 9 months was driven into the home on his return. The noise of the cheering was deafening and the children seemed to explode with joy when they saw him. What a great homecoming!
After dinner we had our nightly reflection on the roof of the visitor house when we shared our experiences and reflected on the way God is speaking to us on this trip through the wonderful people we are meeting and the friendships we are forming.
We cannot believe that tomorrow is our last full day here at NPH!