It´s almost time for me to leave Añatuya, but before I do I should really say something about the main reason I came here and that is the children.
I have had a lot of fun helping out in the Kindy (jardin as it is referred to here). Everyone has been very welcoming and it’s great to see the kids coming on and blossoming. Some of the older ones remember me from last year and it has been lovely to be greeted by some of the mothers in the street too.
At the Santa Catalina children´s home there are some new faces who are still settling in. When I arrived at the house for the first time I was a little unsure as to the children’s reaction to my visit.
One of the boys R was sitting on the step outside and seeing me coming shouted ¨LA CHICA DE NUEVA ZELANDA ESTA ACQUI¨ – ¨the girl from New Zealand is here¨. Immediately a dozen heads appeared at the door to greet me and it was though I had last visited a week ago. They were all full of news of their holiday. The new arrivals since my last visit viewed me warily before introducing themselves and telling me all about their day. I was lucky enough to see a couple of kids who due to their age have been moved on to other homes. It is clear that while they are doing well that the links with Santa Catalina are still so strong. It must be so hard for the children to leave what clearly becomes their home and family to live somewhere else.
The new children´s home El Refugio is also a happy place thanks to the wonderful people who work there. Marcele is a young woman who lives in the home with the kids and tends to their needs 24-7. Quite frankly I don’t know how she finds the energy, but as she says ¨it´s all for the children¨. A few new faces arrived during my stay. These children, stressed and traumatised from recent events, are immediately accepted by the other children and gathered into Marcele´s arms. I have no doubt that in a year or so from now they too will be wearing big smiles and blossoming.
Añatuya should be very proud of Haciendo Camino and all the good work they do here. I feel honoured that I have been allowed to play a very small part in their day to day work.
And one more happy ending . The little stray dog that lived outside the hotel has too been adopted. Although the little dog thought she belonged to the hotel, to most people she was just a “perro de la calle” – street dog. One of the women who works here in the evenings at the hotel took pity on the little dog and on cold evenings I noticed the dog curled up next to her.
I am not sure if I will make it back here again – there is still so much more of the world to explore. Whether I do or not, it has certainly been a great journey.