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  SUMPANGO, GUATEMALA, NOVEMBER 14TH 2005
 

.45 YOUNGSTERS ADOPTED FOR ETERNITY

Enfants pauvres de Sumpango
Poor children of Sumpango

45 YOUNGSTERS ADOPTED FOR ETERNITY
In this reception center for kids of the streets, we feel the sense of mutual support and sharing that prevails in spite of a unanimous feeling of solitude. It was the kind of gathering where humanity picks up all its meaning.

IN THE HEART OF THE MAYAS
At last we are out of the “chicken bus” with our encumbering backpacks. We set foot in the city of Sumpango, Guatemala. Our first mission is to find a reception center for boys aged between 7 and 19 years old, where we will be volunteers for a month. Without knowing the name of the place, we ask people on our way where the Canadians working for the CASIRA organization are. Indeed, the only tourists coming up here are volunteers for the center.

Agriculteur du Guatemala
Farmer
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Rue de Sumpango, Guatemala
Street of Sumpango

In this city of 28 000 inhabitants, 92% of the population has Mayan origins. The scenery is pitiful; showing signs of an exacerbated poverty: houses made of iron sheets, standing like trash on the edge of the roads. On their way, trucks raise clouds of dust from the dirt roads and manage to edge out of the cracks in the ground. Here, it looks a lot like the images of Bagdad carried out by the media. 

.

MAKING YOUR PLACE
Once arrived at the center, we receive a warm welcome from the two cooks and some kids. Everyone abandons their work to show us around the center: the boy’s dorms, the bathrooms, the kitchen, the infirmary, etc. With the insistence of the cooks, we agree to sleep our first nights in the infirmary; because for them, the idea of us sleeping outside in our tent was totally unthinkable. Yet, at the arrival of the other couple of Quebeckers, to which this place was promised, we move in our tent under the incredulous looks of everyone. The camping will finally have been of short duration; we hurried ourselves to find a good spot in the library.

Caroline and Patrick surrounded with love

Caroline et Patrick entourés d'amour

 

On our first days, we offer our help in the kitchen. We want to bring a concrete contribution to the center’s everyday life. We help prepare the meals, serve them and do the dishes. They may seem to be very ordinary tasks, but remain quite important when there are 45 mouths to feed. Despite that, we feel we can contribute even more. So we suggested to the center’s founder two projects: the conception of a website to facilitate fund-raising and the search of volunteers, and the creation of a photographic mural featuring all the children.

Caroline pitching in

Caroline la main à la pâte
 

jeune de l'orphelinat au Guatemala
Felipe, 11 years old

«CAN I SEE MY PICTURE?»
The idea of building a website and a photographic mural won the children’s enthusiasm. A majority of them are very proud to pose for the camera; even though for some an imperfect dentition and bruised faces made the task a bit more difficult. We took advantage of each occasion to take some pictures: demonstration of human pyramids, graduation ceremonies, daily work, and marimba musical interludes.

To our biggest pleasure, the kids quickly adopted us. They appreciated the fact that we lightened their daily tasks, that we supported them when they play soccer, and that we simply spend time with them. In return, by the means of each one’s personal page on the web site, it’s a great pleasure for us to discover them one by one and to joke with them in a jumble of «spanfrench»!

 
WHAT REMAINS OF IT?
This rewarding experience taught us to be patient, to put our personal needs aside to serve the kids and to allow them to play a bit longer. It also showed us the different aspects of life in a community and what sharing our personal belongings really meant. What an unforgettable experience. 45 kids eternally adopted in our hearts. 
Jeunes de l'orphelinat au Guatemala accompagnés par Patrick et Caroline
Jaime, Patrick, Alvin and Caroline

USEFUL LINKS
www.fundacionshalom.org
http://pages.globetrotter.net/casira

To see all the road diaries  To see all the corresponding pictures

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