This past week has been so busy but I cannot even believe how blessed I am to be here! I arrived late Friday evening and got about 4 hours of sleep before my next day began. Saturday was orientation with the other interns and a visit to the food market in town. Sunday, all of us went to a local church and went to the museum at Mitad del mundo to learn some more about the culture and take the typical, yet semi-obligatory, picture where we were in both hemispheres at once.
For the rest of the week, we spent the days and some of the evenings at the children's home. The kids are divided up into two houses: Casa Vaughn, which is for the babies, and Casa Harlow, which is where the toddlers and older kids live. So far, we have helped feed the babies, taken the kids on walks, helped with their basic enrichment, and essentially helped the tías (what the caregivers are called) wherever we are needed.
I have also had the pleasure of helping put together a memory book for one of the children who is going home to her family in a week. This particular child has lived at Hogar Para Sus Niños (HPSN) since 2005 and I was blessed enough to spend time with her the last time I was here in 2009.
Some of our free evenings were spent in Old Town Quito, walking around, admiring the basilicas, eating dinner on what felt like the top of the world, going to the national ballet, watching a folk dancing performance, and actually participating in one town's celebration of their founding! We dressed up in traditional garb, ate loads of food, paraded down streets that forced cars and buses to stop, threw oranges into a crowd, and danced and sang for hours and hours.
Although I have only been here for a week and it's only my second time in Ecuador, I have this overwhelmingly calm feeling of being at home. The people are incredibly friendly, the culture is amazingly rich, and the children and people I work with at the orphanage are wonderful. I cannot thank God, my church, HPSN, and my professors at AU enough for helping me prepare for this amazing opportunity to live out my dream in such a wonderful and rich country. I look forward to see what all the next week brings me!! Check back next week to get another update of the whirlwind that is an international internship at HPSN!