We met today, and she brought me to Ciudad de los Ninos....City of the Children.
Ciudad de los Ninos is not an orphanage where people adopt children. Rather, it's a safe place for children to go until their parents can care for them, or for women with children fleeing abusive relationships. The grounds have several small houses, and a woman would typically look after her child(ren) and others so there would be roughly 6 people living in a cottage (below).
There are buildings that store food (below), clothes and other supplies, and I believe there is also a school. Today Tracy and I cleaned and lined the shelves with shelf paper so it's easier to keep them clean. Their "clothes store" was actually over supplied, whereas it was clear they could use more food, cleaning supplies and toiletries.
Each week, the adult in the house comes and gets groceries and supplies for her "family". I love how while they are being helped, they are also contributing by helping raise other children and keeping their community clean and tidy.
As we cleaned, several children stopped by to say hello or ask for something. All were extremely well behaved and spoke at my level of Spanish (hooray!). Many said they were new to Ciudad de los Ninos and shook our hands. I tried to imagine how frightening it would be to be in their little shoes -- yet all looked happy and showed no fear.
Boys playing baseball (below).
I really enjoyed getting to know Tracey (below) who has been here with her husband and 10 year old daughter for a year. While it's great for me to try to speak Spanish to our new friends here --- it was so relaxing to be able to speak and not have to worry about conjugating verbs in another language!
Tracey is involved in several groups from a ladies English book exchange group to other charitable organizations. When we return from Calgary in the new year, I hope to get more involved. In the meantime, I'm already looking forward to returning to Ciudad de los Ninos next Wednesday. I'm hooked.
Hasta luego."It takes a village to raise a child." African proverb