I soon got into the groove of living in the orphanage. Things didn’t change much from day to day. I slowly made friends with the boys in my room and our room mother, Josephine was nice unless we didn’t do our work. I guess some people would guess that the worst part of life here was the conditions or the food. That wasn’t it for me. For me and I think everyone else it was the longing to be back with our families.
Volunteer helpers stopped at the home most days. Some were Guatemalan and some were Americans. The Guatemalans mainly helped with work around the home – laundry, cleaning, cooking, yard work. The Americans came to play with us, teach in school, and do odd jobs around the home. Sometimes groups of Americans would come. They always brought gifts and candy and sometimes they took us on field trips. Most of them did not speak Spanish but we learned enough English to understand what they were saying.
They always talked about taking us home. We never understood what they were talking about. Were they serious? Were they really going to take us home? All of us had been left by our families but we didn’t know if they were going to really take us or not. We loved the attention and affection that the groups would share but they always left. They said they would be back but they never didn’t.
The gifts they gave were either broken, lost, or stolen. By the next day they were always gone. Nothing stayed around the home for long. Soccer balls were broken or kicked over the wall. We learned to survive on very little and we learned to use our affection to get things but to guard our hearts at the same time. None of us wanted to be hurt again.