Last december 22nd, was a very special day for me... I had been planning along with my mom, my sister Lilena and my aunt Manela a visit to an ´orphanage¨ here in Caracas. 70 children from ages 0 to 9 live there, the majority have been taken by the government from their homes due to whatever type of abuse or neglect, very few of them are real orphans. This I think makes it even sadder because you can see the suffering and abandonment in their eyes, you can see heartache in their faces, and is hard also beacuse as they are not real orphans their future a lot of the time means going back to the same family they were taken away from. The place is privately funded and is really very nice. Children live in a villas with 10 other children plus two ¨aunts¨ who take care of them and the villa as a home.
The preparation for this day is one of the things we enjoy the most. First we have to get some financial help from friends and family.... this part is not the best, since asking for money is not always an enjoyable task, but then you get the chance to create some awareness which I think is part of helping this kids, and then the prepping of the party and wrapping the toys, and anticipating making children´s happy for a day is always the fun part.
We hired a magician to entertain the kids, took some paper crafts to make with them, baked some cakes to take, made sandwiches, and jello... candies, and chips. The times I have done this type of social work, I always arrive with very high spirits, but then is like if a truck of sadness and helplessness hits me head on. I see some very happy kids, then I see and start imagining all the suffering that this children surely have been through and all the suffering that is sure to come too. The children that have been there a while look very happy, but then you see the ones that have just arrived, and your heart just aches... even physically. And then I start thinking that what am doing is just too little and will not change reality but for only a few hours before the magic fades.
After this visit to Fundana, I cried, I cried, and I cried. I couldn´t get myself to write a post about it, it felt kind of senseless, a little selfish. But I couldn´t forget the faces of the children, I couldn´t forget the baby that didn´t want me to put her down, I cried for the two siblings that had just arrived and were clinging to each other, I cried when I remembered some terrible stories that the ¨aunts¨ told me, I cried thinking that we were not able to help at all, and all we were doing was crying in silence, unable to change anything for any child. I even started thinking that maybe it was selfish of myself, and that I had gone to Fundana only to lessen my guilt and teach my children compassion and to show them a piece of reality.
Last night, I stumbled upon the Pope´s homily in the Philippines. "Only when we are able to cry are we able to come close to responding to your question," Pope Francis said. "There are some realities that you can only see through eyes that are cleansed by tears." "We need to ask ourselves, have we learned how to weep, how to cry, for somebody left to one side, for someone who has a drug problem?" And then.... is like another truck hit me again... That day I cried, I wept, I felt, my mom cried I know, so did my sister, Alessia and Emiliana saw me crying.... and maybe they learned to be compassionate, maybe we touched one life, one heart, maybe these tears will move us to do something more. Maybe it was not all a waste of time.
I heard hopeless, helpless, and uncomfortable stories of children living in Fundana. Stories that made me cry and want to avoid them altogether, but that some other people faced with courage, and sacrifice, and saw as an opportunity to help, to make this world a better place.
So, this is a story of a day that started up with tears, but that maybe ended up with hope, and action for a better tomorrow, for a better world... for a smile to last forever on a child´s face...
Hi! my name is Carolina Perisse de Rico, I am a stay at home architect with the biggest project ever... my girls! The oldest is 13, then I have an 11 year old, and now I am starting again with our three year old happiest toddler ever. Glad you are here, hope you stay a while!
Am now a member of Communal Global!!!