Since we arrived in Guadalajara, Juliann, Stephen and I have visited weekly an orphanage located in the outskirts of the city. We visit this impoverished area to help the girls with their homework, teach them English, and play with them. Primarily, we are there to spend time with these orphans who were unwanted, uncared for, and abused by their families. While at first we thought that we needed to have specific plans and things to accomplish with these girls, we realized with the help of another young man who has visited this orphanage twice a week for several years, that all these girls need is love and to know that people care enough about them to spend time with them.
There are about 50 girls, between the ages of 5-22, living at this orphanage and cared for by 7 nuns. They come from a variety of backgrounds, and many have a variety of problems, developmental, emotional, and physical. Many of these young girls have scars from cuts and burns, and often act aggressively towards each other–indicating what they experienced before they entered the orphanage. One of the goals that we have in our interactions with these orphans is to let them know that they are capable of more than the cycle they came from. Many of the mothers of these girls were young, unmarried women when they had them. Due to a variety of circumstances–abuse, poverty, drugs, alcohol, etc.–these mothers were, or believed themselves to be, incapable of caring for their daughters. Now as these girls grow older in the orphanage, many often become embittered by their circumstances, and can become rebellious towards the nuns that raised them, as they do not have a “normal life.” When they are old enough to leave the orphanage, they often fall into the same cycle that they grew up in–alcohol, drugs, poverty, sex–as they feel the need to live a life without restrictions and rules. It is this that continues the pattern for their future children.
Encouraging them in their strengths and goals of education and various professions, we hope that they will break away from the mold that formed them, and understand there are other paths in life. While we may never know if we are making a difference in the lives of these sweet girls, my goal is to make them feel and know they are loved. It is not always easy to connect and care for the these girls for the few hours weekly that we are present, but it is a joy to know we can be present for them.
If you would like to support these girls in some way, please let us know. I ask that you would keep them in your prayers.
God bless you all.