Today was our second full day here in Guatemala, and our first full day working at the malnutrition center. After a delicious breakfast of pancakes, eggs, and fruit, we filled up the two vans and made our way to the center, which was about 45 minutes long. After unloading our bags of supplies and our coolers, Ron gave us a tour of the facility and showed us the work that needed to be done. He then left us with Luis, who split us up into teams to get the work done. The entire goal for today and tomorrow is to move the babies back into the Canary room, where they will each get a separate little room. This will help keep illness from spreading from child to child. While the five women chaperones went to the babies’ room to take care of them, about four youth set out to touch-up the paint job on the walls and doors, a few others began to scrap paint off of all the glass windows and doors, and the rest of us began to scrape the paint off of all the floors. That took a lot of hard work, as did all the jobs, but our knees are a little bruised at this point. When we left today, half the Canary room floor was scraped and mopped, touch-ups were completed, and we almost finished repainting the bathrooms and cleaning the windows.
Most of us, with the exception of the female chaperones, didn’t get to experience the children very much today, but a lot of the children from the daycare would come to the door to watch us work. At one point two of us were outside, and when I said “Hola!” a little girl smiled so sweetly and said “Hola Senorita!” It gripped my heart how sweet and polite she was. We all cannot wait to get to know the other kids.
The women taking care of the babies today helped finish bathing them, then worked to feed, change, and medicate them all as needed, including lancing an abscess. They were constantly loving on them and playing with them, even putting some in walkers and letting them move around. Some of the babies were literally just skeletons, while others were well on their way to becoming strong healthy babies. One baby, Sergio, loved to be picked up but would cry when put back down and he loved to try to leave the room when in the walker. Jose was also a baby that stuck out—he couldn’t smile without sticking his tongue out. One of the women said that while the afternoon was pretty busy, the morning wasn’t as much. Overall it was just more emotionally tiring than physically.
In general, today was a good day, and we all worked hard. A little more work in the Canary room tomorrow, and the babies will be able to be moved back in.