You walk off of the air-conditioned bus into the humid air and this is all you hear. Then you see children running towards you and grabbing your hand. It’s the first day, and you decide to play baseball with them, although they have to use a softball and pitch slowly so that you at least have a chance to hit it. The cooks in the kitchen Melayña and Jacoba greet you with a smile and lead you to a delicious meal of the best rice, beans, and avocados you’ve ever tasted. The ladies pour you freshly brewed coffee that’s sweet on your tongue and provides you with the energy to give more piggybacks to the children who call out, “Caballo! Caballo!” raising their hands up to your shoulders. You look to see that the parents and teachers are trying to grab another bowl of avocado salad from the kitchen. You take a trip out of the foundation into the village, where the road turns into a muddy passageway of sewage. The children plead with you for a little piece of candy, which Mrs. Seidner distributes to them. The bag of toiletries in your hands get lighter as you pass them out from house to house while telling them about the medical clinic that we would be providing for them during the remainder of the week. As you get back to the foundation, you have to say goodbye to all the friends you have made until tomorrow, but it feels like an eternity when you see their face drop as you say, “Adios! Hasta mańana, ok?” You get back to the hotel and go to the beach to clear your mind and have fun with your friends, but in reality, all you can think about is the children that are back at the foundation. The picture of their faces in your head don’t fade away when you close your eyes to go to sleep.
You wake up to Mrs. Martinez knocking lovingly on the door telling you that you have 30 minutes to be out of the door for devotions and breakfast. How come you didn’t hear your alarm go off in the morning? Then you realize your roommates accidentally set the alarm for P.M., not A.M., and you laugh as you rush to get ready to go. As you hurry onto the bus to get to the foundation, you play an intense game of uno where you team up against Mrs. Stagel to make sure she doesn’t win. Once you pull into the foundation, you split groups and end up going to a small school named El Tamarindo, where the children greet you with the same smiles and hugs and laughter as the day before. By the time you teach them songs and show them a craft, its already time to head back to the foundation. You see the children from the day before and you hug them before entering the cage, which is the distributing center of clothes, shoes, and candy. You feel the anxiety of parents pushing their kids in to make sure they get new clothes and shoes, not knowing when the next opportunity would present itself. One of the girls that you have stayed with all day tells you that she has to wait in line in hopes of getting food for the day. You wait in line with her for about and hour, and you hear the dreaded words, “No más, mañana,” as you see the girls face drop. You have finished distributing and head to the kitchen for more delicious food where the glorious avocados present themselves once again. But in the back of your mind, you see the face of the girl who didn’t get any food today and your heart goes to her. Then, its time to say your goodbyes, but unlike last time, they hold up their heads knowing that you will be back the very next day.
Written by: Noelle Que and Chase Seidner
Noelle Que holding baby.
Chase Seidner giving piggy back rides.
Families line up to receive clothing and shoes that the Foothill team will distribute.