When I came to El Salvador I came with the intention of helping our youngest generation live better lives so that they could change their country for the better. Little did I know that I would be bringing so much more to the lives of these children. Two things happened this past week that touched my heart and made me realize how much more these children are learning. Glenda, our 9 year old came upstairs to Oscar's and my apartment. She wanted me to see her homework page. She had a large piece of poster board rolled up into a scroll. As she unrolled it I saw a large tree. As I studied the picture I realized that it was Glenda's family tree. Glenda's mother, Tatiana is an orphan. They have no family to speak of. They only have each other. As I studied her family my heart welled up. In the boxes on both the maternal and paternal side for grandparents Glenda had written "Oscar and Beth Alegria". In the box for mother she wrote "Tatiana Martinez" in the box for Father she wrote "Oscar Alegria" in the box for siblings she had listed all of the youth and children that live in Esther's House and the Boys' Club. So more than providing her with the basic necessities, medical/dental care, and an education, she has been provided with a family.
The second thing that touched me was on Mother's Day. (Here they celebrate Mother's Day on a different day than we do in the states. So we celebrated the Salvadorean Mother's Day for the girls and they had a special day planned for me on my Mother's Day) On Mother's Day the youth planned a small party for me. They bought chicken for lunch and gave me gifts. I felt blessed. We often form a circle during celebrations and give words of blessings to the person whom we are celebrating and this day was no different. The words of Ricardo went deep into my heart and I doubt I will ever forget them. He said "I never understood Mother's Day because I never had a mother. I didn't understand what the big deal was. Why did we need an entire day for them? Now, I understand why we celebrate mom's, but I still don't understand Mother's Day. One day is not enough for me to tell you how much I appreciate you and how much I love you as my mother. I don't want to say thank you to you because the words thank you do not begin to express how I feel but because there are no words that can express how I feel I will just say 'thank you'.
These children are learning so much more than I ever imagined. They are learning how to have families. They are l