Yesterday I had the amazing good fortune of joining the Canadian International Society (Not just for Canadians!) for a morning of volunteering at Casa Hogar, a home for single mothers under the age of 18. Knowing from personal experience just how challenging parenting is, it was mind-blowing to think of these 40+ teenagers raising children while trying to finish school and eventually gain employment.
I have to say, I was WAY impressed with the organization though. The kids looked healthy, well-cared for and had relatively nice facilities. The organization has a team of staff that teach the girls how to care for their child, make sure the child is getting proper nutrition and watch the child while the teen goes to school each day.
The teens have the opportunity to stay here until they’re 18 years old. The kids range between newborn and 5 years old, so if you do the math, the girls start arriving from age 12 on. We spent about 2 hours in total there, first playing with the children and then throwing a Christmas Party for the Moms & Kids. The Canadian Intl Society had been collecting donations all year, so we came with car-fuls of gifts, food and diapers.
I can’t tell you how good it felt to provide each of those Mamas with a custom-made care package full of goodies for she and her little one! Honestly, you could see thee gratitude in their faces.
My Swell Idea
As usual, I had my camera out to capture the fun. I had snapped a photo of a 17 year old Mama with her 2 twins when all of a sudden I had several other requests for Mom & Baby photos.
That’s when it dawned on me – these Moms don’t have many, if any, pics of their babies! I did some fast thinking and coordinated with a staff member to send the pics via email and then announced to the Mamas that I’d happily take their photo with their babes if they’d like. We set up a make-shift photo booth in the corner and off we went! Needless to say, it was quite popular.
This is the first time I have volunteered in Peru. I’m not sure why I waited so long, probably because I felt uncomfortable with my limited Spanish. I was reminded though that language is irrelevant – a smile easily bridges the language gap!
I hope you too can find a unique way to spread some love & joy this holiday season!