by Sabrina Lucena
Today we woke up extra early to spend as much time as we could finishing our paint job from yesterday and interacting with the kids we now considered friends. We were pleasantly surprised when we walked into the orphanage and saw groups of kids chanting and hooking arms and legs while hopping. It was easy to tell the strong connection they had between each other during this ritual. These kids are filled with such joy and excitement in everything they do. It is incredible to witness these kids, who do not have a stable family or a family at all, remain happy.
We decided as a group to bring these children something that we play with all the time back home: volleyballs and tennis balls. Sure you do not think that that is a big deal, but trust me for them it was. It was evident through their expressions on their faces that our little gesture made such a big difference. We were able to get to know them as individual people a lot better today. We joined in with them in several competitive volleyball games. It is incredible to think that the most fun I have had in a while was with these kids that I have just met. It goes to show just how accepting they are as people. I will never forget the score of our last volleyball game or the amount of times me and my friend high fived each other for spiking the ball. It was a very bitter moment when we had to leave our friends for the very last time. Not only have we made a difference in their lives but, they have also completely changed our mindset and view on life. It was such an honor to have this experience with these children and something that I will forever remember. Until next year amigos!
The excitement died down as we returned to our hotel. We relaxed and enjoyed each other’s company, talked until the wee hours of the night and reminisced about the memories we made with the kids just hours before. These kids will definitely be the topic of discussion for a very long time!