This month there's been a bit of a switch in the focus of my work. I've started to work more with the staff and people caring for the kids than directly with the kids. So, I've been doing a lot of work on preparing powerpoints for training and games and lesson plans instead of working on games for one-on one therapy.
I'm still doing therapy at the transition house and a bit at the school and random individuals or families. But I am no longer working with the kids at the orphanage directly, and I've been more focused on a new training program and helping the teachers at the school. I think this will be a good spot for me - we'll see. I think it will definitely be a good switch at the orphanage. It's hard for me to build trust with the kids - they have trust issues already, plus, they have seen hundreds of Americans visit and leave breaking promises to keep in touch, and dozens of volunteers do the same over the year. I spent more time trying to recover trust lost if I was gone for a few days than getting work done. Plus, it's going to be a challenging and exciting year for the orphanage this year, and I'm excited to be able to focus on helping these changes go as smoothly as possible.
After nearly 5 years of working to get permits, the Children's home finally has approval to build on it's land! It's a very exciting time. I don't know how many acres this property is, but it's big! Ultimately, they want to have 8 homes, but they are starting with 3 for now. This is going to change the whole program for how everything functions. Because, as much as they try to emulate family living, it's still currently an institution with a lot of familial elements. The house parents are there during the days and return home to their own biological kids at night (like a regular job). But that won't be the case at the Farm (or, La Finca, as we call the property we're building on). The house parents will live with their families in the same homes with the kids. The tios and tias (aunts and uncles - or younger helpers), will no longer be living in the homes in shifts with the kids. This is going to be a huge change for everyone!!!
So my focus this year will be helping everyone get through this change - and keeping up with the training on day to day needs as well. I don't think I'll be too bored this year.
Here are some picture I still from their website to show you La Finca!! For the last several years, the kids have been visiting La Finca for vacations to enjoy feeling freedom to run and play more than our regular property allows. They love it here