Fundación Corazón de Niña

A Typical Day


 

The following remarks were written by volunteer Jean Jewell. Jean thought she was helping to set up a filing system in the office — in, get it done, out, a quiet, meditative job removed from the goings-on of Casa Corazón…

A day in the life of a Corazón Volunteer

I came to volunteer at Corazon de Niña in early July, thinking that if I helped Melissa set up a filing system and update the children’s files, my work would be done… definitely not the case! Let me tell you what I have learned … and it won’t be in any particular order because in this house the pace is so hectic that I won’t be able to remember things in order.

Not an ordinary Business

This is not an ordinary business.  This is a home where the priority is the health, security and education of the children.  So, there are no “normal” days.  I am in awe at what Melissa and Juan do to keep this home running, to reason and teach the children, to feed and clothe the children, to educate the children, to discipline the children, to organize a kitchen crew and their meals. 

Not a day goes by that the children don’t receive hugs and encouragement.”

The love they have for the children and the love the children have for them is truly heart warming and inspiring.  Not a day goes by that the children don’t receive hugs and encouragement – just a normal well adjusted family with 43 kids! 7 of these kids came just last week-end with the clothes on their backs.

Melissa: Firefighter, Magician, Juggler

When I arrive in the mornings, I really don’t know what to expect.  For example, I came in two weeks ago after a 4-day weekend and Melissa was standing with a baby bottle in her hand – then she showed me our 1 week old baby girl Azul.  Then she ran into the kitchen to make formula, then back to the office to feed the baby, burp the baby, change the baby.  The baby’s Mom is only 15 years old so she is going to school.  Children having children, through no fault of their own.

But as well as caring for their 43 children, there is a ton of behind the scenes paperwork that has to be done.  The phone is ringing, emails are coming in at a hectic pace, children have to registered for university and college, money has to be raised to pay for the college, the fire

“…the government wants this ENORMOUS document…”

department wants an evacuation plan, the Government wants this ENORMOUS document with so much information about each child – this ENORMOUS document has been under construction since the day I got here because there isn’t time to focus on just one task, and month end is just around the corner so books have to be done.

Money, Stories and the Books

Then there is the constant worry about money.  For example, the washing machine is industrial sized and Axel just came in to let Melissa know that the bill to fix it was $7,500 pesos.  Then 2 of the kids broke their prescription glasses to the tune of $8,000 pesos.  Thank you to our GEM program for helping to support us on a monthly basis.  We are always looking for more GEMS!

In between juggling all of the work she has to do, Melissa takes time to tell me the history of the children; where they came from.  The stories can wrench your heart but the wonderful thing is that the children have been saved now and will have a chance to be successful in their lives.  Everyday I get to look at pictures of the school graduates – 9 of them.  And now they are in college in various paths – sports medicine, dentistry, culinary arts, social work, arts.

Hmm – Melissa just had to rush out as there is a problem at the accountant, she says she is staying there until it is resolved.  And – oh!!  I just tripped over the dog (we try to keep her out of the office but she has figured out how to open the door).  Uh oh – the baby is starting to cry.  I’m going to save this draft and go feed, burp and change the baby.

 It is 2 p.m. – let me stop for a minute and have a sip of the coffee that Axel made me at 9 a.m. — it’s ice cold!

A Stitch in Time

When I came in on Tuesday, Melissa was telling me about the weekend.  She had just met a Doctor who is going to the new family doctor.  She told him that she didn’t have to take the kids too often -just the odd check-up and medicine as they are so healthy.  She got back to the house and 20 minutes later our security guard is yelling that one of the kids has been hurt.  Alonso was helping in the tortilleria and cut his arm. Melissa and Juan grabbed Alonso and they were back at the Doctor within the hour to get his arm stitched up.

Hang on a sec!  Leo just came in the office after college (Chef’s college).  He wants to show me the instrument that he uses to make fruit balls.  He is so excited about college so he pops in everyday to see me and to practice his English.  Now Pamela (kitchen lead) is here and wants to discuss the menu with Melissa – she will have to wait until Melissa returns.

Corazón School

Did I mention that Melissa and Juan have built a school in the house?  It has classrooms for primary and secondary students, 4 highly qualified teachers, and all of this has happened since the end of June.  And — who knew where the money would come from.  Melissa said to me “I pray every night and the angels come”.  Juan says Melissa has “ovarios grandes” – and is he ever right!  Her goal is the best care, the best education, and she will do anything to give these kids a chance.

The Tortilleria

Did I mention that Melissa and Juan built a tortilleria in the house?  A few of the older boys make tortillas on Saturdays and Tuesdays.  There are a couple of restaurants buying the flour tortillas and now the Marriott wants to order.  Melissa says the tortillas never go bad because they can use more than 200 tortillas per day here at the house.

The Office: No Sanctuary

Here come the boys – they are just getting out of school so this office will be full in about 10 minutes.  I just tripped over the dog again!  Lola just opens the door and plunks herself down on the floor in the office.  Leo wants to show me his school presentation and Viridiana just came in looking for Mama.

Discipline

Melissa and Juan discipline the children together.  They sit the kids in front of them at the desk and Melissa reasons with them first and then Juan, who has a different style of discipline, reasons with them.  The teachers reported that 2 of the boys were acting out in school so

“…behind her desk… little Panchito and Alejandro were doing 50 push-ups each.”

they were being disciplined.  Melissa said that Juan’s way of discipline was much different than hers and she smiled and pointed behind her desk where little Panchito and Alejandro were doing 50 push-ups each.  I’m sure they will be more respectful to the teachers now.

The baby is back sleeping now — Darn, I just tripped over Lola again.  We’ll have to figure a way to close the door so that she can’t open it.

Free Time

I just checked out in the common area and some of the boys have a great game of table soccer going on, 2 of the kids are playing chess, a couple of kids are playing ping pong, a couple are completing their homework and Pamela has the older girls busy in the kitchen making dinner.  The boys just saw me so I got and gave some nice hugs!

Update:

The push-ups worked, Panchito and Alejandro ran into the office the next day with excellent reports from their teachers. And the Marriott invited the whole family to an all-inclusive day at the resort this past Sunday.  They had a blast! I hope you enjoyed reading this blog.  It has been my pleasure fitting into this crazy, hectic, love-filled home!  I love these children.

Jean Jewell, Volunteer,  September 2017

Love    Integrity    Family   Education

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