Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Day 3, So many stories with a happy ending

Casa Angelina is an 18 acre sanctuary. On day three Jeremy picked us up and then we went to pick up the rest of the team who were staying at a hotel a few blocks away. The ride to the Orphanage is north up the main highway. You pass coffee plantations, small Mayan villages, various farms and you go thru the town of Chimaltenango. It took about 40 minutes to get there.
Upon first entering the gates, I was just astonished at how utterly beautiful the view is from up there. I'm not sure of the altitude but it is pretty high up. Some of the team members were feeling the altitude, short of breath, headache, but luckily I didn't feel it. The air is so clear and sweet up there, and the weather was perfect. Warm in the sun but the air was cool.
Casa Angelina is made up of different houses in which the children live. There are about 10-15 children in one house with 2 house parents. This makes for more of a home environment, and the kids can get more individualized attention. They have an on site nurse at the clinic, and a full time psychologist who sees each child at least 2 times a week.

Casa Angelina has never done adoptions. Most of their children have no living relative to sign paperwork, or do DNA testing for adoption. And most are older children and sibling groups, that are hard to place. Instead they are saving these children and raising them like one big family.

After that first day I had renewed hope for the lost children of Guatemala. There is a wonderful place for them to go and it is being built from the ground. If only every orphan could be loved and cared for the way these children are.

Each child had their own nice quilt on their bed, and stuffed animals, and toys in the home. There was true laughter, love and a sense of family. It was so nice to see that some horrible stories have a happy ending.

One of the incredible views!!!
The kids playground and more of the view.
When we first arrived, the toddlers were so happy to see us.
In the middle is Wendy. This little girl stole my heart, she would not smile for the camera at first.
But after awhile she couldn't stop smiling. Wendy Maritza, on the left, came to the orphanage with her little sister, and older brother. Their father use to strangle them when he was mad. So many heartbreaking stories. Johanna on the right is 7 years old but she is the size of a 4 year old. She was so malnourished, she had to be fed only liquids when she arrived. Now both girls are happy and safe.

My Aunt holding baby Laila. Laila and her 3 older siblings were abandoned in the Guatemala City garbage dump. The oldest Sister, 10year old Mercedes, was taking care of them all and feeding little Laila coffee and soda. This poor little girl was 10 months old when she got here but was the size of a 4 month old. Now she is plump and growing rapidly along with her older siblings. Thank God they were rescued and sent to Casa Angelina!!!
My Aunt sewing some uniform skirts for the girls.
Home made tortillas, and Azucena, who is 14, and just the sweetest girl ever. She was always laughing.
Part of the wall I painted

One of the team members brave enough to get on a ladder.
The front of the building, the soon to be dining hall, that we painted. Some team members painted bunk beds, which you can through the doorway.

A baby cow and it's momma living right next to the main house.


JuJu - said...

So proud of you :) Love hearing all of this and seeing it through your eyes!

I met Jeremy and loved him - we had breakfast with him at the Grand Tikal - gave him stuff to take to the kids:)
So thankful you were able to have this experience:)

Kim said...

Very cool - love the pictures. And know what you mean about the beautiful views - it really is a beautiful country.

Angel said...

That sounds like a really wonderful ministry. How cool. Angel

Alleen said...

What a wonderful story so far. I have enjoyed reading your account of it all. I want to do a mission trip and expect that someday when I finally do it, I will struggle with the feelings you had.