DAY 2, CONTINUED
Laysha: ... seeing my people for the first time, it was weird. It felt natural … almost like home. I have never been to Mexico and I’ve never met my family in Mexico but being in the Mexican Airport, I felt like I knew everyone. Although what I really thought about was, “what if I was born here?” If my parents hadn’t left Mexico I’d maybe be In university or even maybe married and with kids. Sounds weird right? I know. Life here is completely different and although I randomly get the thought of what would I be doing now If I lived here, I’m glad that I have the opportunity to live in Stamford and even have the opportunity to come and help such an amazing organization like Simply Smiles.
This morning I woke up and I saw the sunrise. It was beautiful, and although I didn’t bring my glasses (oops) I saw all the flashing lights from the city. I’ve thought of maybe living here for a couple of years when I get older. It is such a peaceful setting. Waking up to all the dogs barking and the chickens and roosters quacking in the good morning. I’ve seen a couple of kids helping around the morning so far. And they are the cutest little children I have seen. I hope I get to know them soon. I’d really like it if at least one kid latched on to me, I think that would be really cute. Today we are going to the park so I hope that I can play some games with them. And maybe even read them a story when we come back from the playground. I am excited for today. It will be fun!
Victor F.: ... playing from the other ranches surrounding us. We came downstairs to see the kids already up and doing chores, however, since its Sunday they are able to sleep in a little longer than they usually do. But something tells me that they couldn’t sleep at night because of the anticipation of meeting all of us for the first time. I feel like I could get used to mornings like this. The weather is nice, the people are willing to help you with anything, and everyone seems to be living in the moment. This I like very much.
Victor A.: ... we introduced ourselves to the children that would approach us. We later started to work on the completion of the first chore which was to wash the dishes. Four of us along with Pedro washed the dishes by hand and later dried them with towels. Although the morning was silent I have a feeling that once all of the kids wake up it will not be silent until they go to bed at the end of the day. I’m looking forward to doing arts and crafts with the kids and to get to know them. My goal for the first day is to learn the names of all the boys and to make them smile. The people here are very welcoming and friendly, about half of the kids here are shy while the remainder are very outgoing and eager to meet and interact with us. I am very excited for the day and for the rest of the week that will be spent here with the kids.
John: ... my cousins who also get really excited to go to the park and it made me realize even though my cousins and Oaxaca’s children were raised in entirely different places a child is a child and gets excited about the same things. This made me think about how similar these children are to the kids in Greenwich. This also made the differences very glaring. Misael and Emiliano are two are of the children who are staying at the Simply Smiles home. They are both extremely charming kids. They needed to use the bathroom and needed to bring a volunteer with them for safety reasons. They asked if I could accompany them to the bathroom and I agreed. We started walking towards the bathroom and on the way there they started to talk about the cars and how they really liked cars with butterfly doors. They were also comparing other guys to their dads and saying how much bigger their dads were. This illustrated ounce again how similar the kids were to the ones in Connecticut. Ounce we reached the bathroom they knew exactly what to do. After Emiliano finished who was the older of the two he picked up a bucket of water. I assumed that was to wash his hands and I told him that the sink was on the other side of the wall. He then told me that it was to flush down the toilet. This was one of the biggest differences I have seen so far. The independence these kids have. Emiliano knew exactly where the bucket was and could even carry the heavy bucket of water and poured into the toilet. This also made me realize how different it is here in Oaxaca. In Connecticut in every bathroom [even the dirty ones] there is a button and lever you press or pull to flush and most people don’t think about it twice. Here in Oaxaca the bathroom process is more intricate but kids still being able to do them. Even though the today was really the first official day with the kids, I have noticed many differences and similarities and I look forward to noticing and experiencing more.
Sofia: ... “Sofia, Sofia!”, and it was little Juan telling me to sit next to him, who eventually really opened up to me and Ive only known him for less than 24 hours. On the bus ride to the park I was just admiring my surroundings, including the landscapes and the people. We arrived at the park and the first thing I realized was the two soccer goals, I wanted to play immediately with the kids. Everyone was having fun, the kids were laughing, it made me so happy, and made me realize that making a kid smile is so much more. I just remember the kids grabbing at me and asking me to play different games with them at the park, which made me feel so good because they were so comfortable with me and that also meant that I was creating relationships with these children. Another thing I noticed at the public park, was the people actually living, and enjoying their surroundings. On my way back to the children’s home, I noticed that the people care for each other’s presence, meaning I did not see one person on their phone or even with one in their hand. My favorite part of the day was probably when the parachute was brought out, and all the kids went crazy happy. All you heard was laughter. Never thought something so little can impact someone so much. Just being here for 24 hours, I already feel like I’m becoming a different but better version of myself. I’m really looking forward to the rest of the week here in Oaxaca, I’m already getting attached to this place.
Gigi: ... of the city lights has dimmed, but life has only just begun for the day. The muffled radio and loud chicken croak are the second signs that people have woken up, apart from the smoke in the distance. Nothing but peace seems to exist in rural Oaxaca. It’s only 7am and I’ve already had a full morning. I am forever grateful that I get to see someone else’s world. I hope today and every day brings smiles and joy and that the sun will go down and create yet another pair of beauty-filled times.