Adventures in A Mexican Orphanage: Day 2

Day 2: Friday, June 27
The Beach, 7:15am

So...I woke up to the sounds of the waves crashing against the rocks. Probably one of the best sounds EVER to wake up to. I think I grew to appreciate and enjoy the ocean more this trip than any other, and I think that's why. Anyhow, we got up and went straight to the school we'd be working on. I climbed a fence and kinda...well...didn't make it over as gracefully as I'd hoped. Got a pretty good scratch on my leg. Adam felt bad because he'd persuaded me to do it, but I thought that it was pretty comical (after the initial sting of impact had died down). We had a fabulous and oh-so-healthy breakfast of all sorts of bulk sugared cereal and warm soy milk. Then, it was down to business. We got birthday presents for the kids ready and painted the various school buildings all morning. One accomplishment was the hierarchy of cleaning rollers that Scarlet Ortiz, Adam and I invented. With limited water (one working sink) and tons of filthy brushes, there were only so many hands that could help. For future reference for anyone reading who will someday clean paint brushes and rollers simultaneously with others: Cleaner ones on top, then dirtier, then filthy. That way, water is conserved and the cleaner water flows to the dirtier ones. Brilliance, I tell you. Around lunchtime, we headed for the orphanage, which was just down the street. We came a bit late because of the brush-cleaning process. Anyhow, everyone had started to eat by the time we got there. It was my first visit to the orphanage, and what a sight to see...TONS of adorable orphans, and volunteers as well. Adam and I wanted to sit by some of the kiddos, but couldn't find a place amidst the volunteers. I was just itching to discover which little orphan would steal my heart. However, I didn't have to wait for long. When the shout was heard, "Vamos a jugar!" ("Let's go play!") all the kids screamed and ran out the door. However, one little girl was startled by the commotion and started to cry. She cried and cried, so I picked her up and asked her what was wrong. For some reason, my limited Spanish came easier when I spoke with the little'uns. I found out her name was Dana. I couldn't get her to smile for the longest time, but she clung to me so I kept holding her. Finally, after some poking and my repeated asking of "Donde esta tu sonrisa?" ("Where is your smile?") she started to smile a bit. It got to the point where she'd lead me around by holding a couple of my fingers, but wouldn't let me go for anything. It was the best feeling ever. Eventually I had go let her go so I could go swimming with the other kids and the rest of the group. She was reluctant, but went with one of the gals who worked there back to the nursery. Swimming was an adventure. The pool was like a little paradise. I'm not so much of a swimming fan, but really enjoyed playing with the kids this time. They loved splashing each other, and us, and being splashed by us. There was one little gal in particular, who was sniping me behind her shield of her inter tube. I grabbed a squirt gun and got her back. We continued our little war across the way for quite some time, and eventually were close enough to speak. I asked her name, Eva, and told her mine. It was awesome, because then we just smiled at each other, then promptly resumed squirting. Eventually I pulled her and her friend around on their inter tubes around the pool, spuratically spinning them around changing directions. They giggled and squealed. I also pulled another little guy around, which was fun. These kids rarely get a chance to go to the pool, so it was a fun opportunity to take them and see something so common to me be such a foreign adventure to them. After the pool, the birthday party started. The kids don't get a chance to celebrate their birthdays individually, so we threw them the biggest, bestest fiesta they'd ever seen (hopefully). It was superhero themed, making it pretty much the coolest thing ever. The kids were each provided with masks, capes, and other superhero-esque things. We ate homemade pizza (mmmmmm tasty) and ate two huge birthday cakes, followed by two pinatas. Then came my favorite part of the night: the presents. Adam, a new friend named Will, and I donned our supersuits, becoming the "Trio Alto", or the Tall Three. Joined by Amanda with her Batgirl attire and Kellie with her super awesomeness, we were invincible. Basically, the Justice League of Kaiizen. Between Will's purple fluorescent leggings, my hot pink shiny gloves, and Adam's blue underpants...worn over his pants..., we couldn't be stopped from having a good time. Now we were properly equipped. The volunteers formed a presents tunnel, holding our hands out to each other so the kids could run through. We yelled out each child's name, then they'd come through the line to claim their gifts. After they all received their birthday presents, we watched them unwrap the gifts. I LOVED seeing their happy faces (through the eyes of my superhero mask, of course) as they discovered their new prizes. Somehow, seeing that made all the sweat and sacrifice worth it.

After, we watched a slideshow of the pictures of the day, taken by Kelli Saunders (who also took this one of me and Will in our superhero-y glory). Bedtime came, and this time we camped outside of the orphanage, whose rocky dirt was far less accommodating than the sand of the beach. In the morning, I suggested to the girls in my tent that we make a Facebook group called "Mexican Dogs Keep Me Awake At Night". Indeed, there were a few dogs who were just going at it, conversing several hundred feet apart, with our unfortunate tent caught helplessly in the middle. Around 5 am, I'm guessing, a very outspoken rooster decided to join the conversation, perhaps feeling left out. Though sleep was scarce, I'm glad that at least some animals had a productive night with what sounded like a good discussion.

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