This afternoon we visited two places with lots of children: a daycare and a physical therapy clinic. We visited the daycare first. The daycare, called a guardería, is about a 7 minute drive from the Pastoral House. They allow babies to children 8 years old at the daycare and watch them from 8:00am to 2:00pm. It is a free daycare that receives some funding from the government. The funding comes from ISNA, which is the Instituto Salvadoreño Para El Desarrollo Integral de La Niñez Y La Adolescencia (Salvadoran Institute for the Integral Development of Children and Adolescents). They also receive food assistance from ISNA. The parents who bring their kids support the daycare by spending a day there to help out from time to time.
When we arrived all the kids were sitting outside around a table. They were so quiet and very shy at first. We talked to them a while and tried to get them to open up. Then the delegation whipped out balloons to make balloon animals and hats. The kids seemed a little unsure at first but soon they were playing with them. Next the delegation gave the kids some scratch art masks. They are the kind where you use a little piece of wood to scratch off the top layer of black coating to reveal colors underneath. Once the adults showed them how to scratch off the black coating all the kids had fun creating their own special masks.
Everyone blew some bubbles for the kids to enjoy and someone handed out little animal finger puppets. We stayed and played with the kids for about 45 minutes. Then we went inside the daycare building. There were lots of posters on the walls and some toys for the kids to play with. The group chatted with the director a while and soon it was time to leave. All the kids gathered at the gate as we waved goodbye.
A little shy at first
She eventually warmed up
Playing with her balloon animal
Working on a mask
He finished his mask
Time to play
Jeannie helping out
Maggie's got a hat for him
Jerry helped her put on her mask
She helped me with my mask
A sign for Jerry
Inside the daycare
Physical Therapy Foundation
The next place we went was the physical therapy foundation. It is about a two minute walk from the house so Kathy parked the truck and we walked there. When we arrived there were about 50 kids waiting for us along with their moms and grandmas. First the director of the foundation, Lorena, presented several kids that have been helped by the foundation. One of the boys wasn’t able to walk when he first arrived at the foundation and was told that he wouldn’t be able to walk. But with the help of the staff he can now walk. Several of the children receive help with fine motor skills. Some of the children also have mental disabilities and they’re able to receive help from the foundation.
After Lorena finished talking the delegation was able to walk around to talk and play with all the kids. The staff had handed out pictures for the kids to color. Then delegates then handed out finger puppets, bracelets, and candy to the kids. The kids loved them and were asking for more! It was nice to have a chance to sit and talk to the kids. Someone got out bubbles and the kids went nuts trying to catch them. The guys played ping pong with the boys which they loved. We stayed about an hour and then the kids started to leave. We hugged them goodbye and walked back to the house. It was definitely a fun day.
This little boy learned to walk
This boy has a twin who
also goes to the foundation
Lots of people
Watching the kids play
Checking out the gringos
Mike blowing bubbles for the kids
Donna coloring with the kids
A full house
Jeannie helping a little girl
He asked me to take his picture
A good looking family