June 9th, 2007
Before the old girls left we had a banquet/slideshow in their honor. It’s a tradition here…in seven weeks I will be the one saying goodbye. It struck me as I watched all our kids’ faces flashing momentarily on the screen how much has changed. OSSO uses the slideshow to give the new girls an idea about what they’ll be doing here and I can remember a time when those faces meant relatively little to me…now they mean more to me than I could have ever imagined. I know their personalities and what their smiles mean. I’ve put up with their tantrums and been the recipient of their besitios and sticky hugs—in short, I am their mother. They are in my prayers at night and in my thoughts during the day and I am dreading the 27th of July when I have to leave them.
The summer after my freshman year of college I decided, on the recommendation of a friend, to venture out into the great wide world and volunteer for a program called OSSO (Orphanage Support Services Organization).
It was one of the best decisions of my life.
With fifteen other girls (boys are allowed to volunteer too, my group just happened to full of females), I spent three months working in an orphanage in Quito, Ecuador with children under the age of two and with older children with mental and physical disabilities. I learned how to securely tie cloth diapers, successfully feed wiggly toddlers, and how to cuddle five babies at once. But most importantly I learned the meaning of unconditional love from the children who had nothing.
OSSO needs new volunteers for this upcoming year. If you have ANY interest whatsoever, please let me know (I can wax eloquent on this subject :)) or check out their website for more information.
“Behold your little ones…”