Skip to main content

“Amigu pa sempre” (friend forever) has become the message of this trip for me. Along with this being the only line our group can recall from the catchy song the girls at Centro de Emergencia Infantil sing daily, it has become my connection to everyone I meet and build relationships with. On the last day of our first rotation, my favorite of the group gave me the warmest hug and looked me straight in the eyes and confidently recited in her sweet voice “pa sempre.” I knew I was most likely never going to see her again, but that does not mean that her laughs, hugs and my memory of her would ever fade. Through teaching how to make friendship bracelets, playing hand clapping games, how to say “I love you” in English, and trying my best to put a smile on their faces, I hope I have made a lasting impression on them just as they have on me.

I have struggled coming to terms with the fact that I have to abandon these “krianzas” (kids) after spending all day, every day with them for almost a month. You can see in their sloppy kisses and enthusiastic “tias!” (aunties) that our time with them is special to them. Their sad, teary eyes on that last day broke my heart. But this was not the image I wanted seared in my brain. Instead, I will remember their competitive spirit playing bingo, incessant need to play with my hair, beautiful smiles, colorful bracelet creations, and endless enthusiasm to invite us into their games and lives.