Meet Kathy. A wife, a mother, a grandmother, a Registered Nurse, and an orphanage volunteer.
While many say
“I can’t because I have a career.“
“I can’t, I’m a grandma”
“I can’t miss my family for the holidays.”
We all have experiences when we say, “Oh, I would if I could…..”.
Kathy pushed past those obstacles and served for 3 months in orphanages in Cuenca, Ecuador. She is now looking forward to her second trip and cannot wait to see “her kids” again.
Read on for more about Kathy’s experience…
“The only way to truly describe my experience in Cuenca is to say that it ranks right at the top of the list with marrying my high school sweetheart, welcoming each of my three children into this world and witnessing the births of each of my six grandchildren.
It is a life-changing adventure!
The children in the different orphanages where I served were to say the least, amazing. There is nothing like walking through the door and having five, ten or twenty faces smiling at you and dozens of little feet running to greet you. These children are no different than any other child I have had the privilege to be around….they just don’t happen to live in a typical family. The blessing of the opportunity to spend time with them is, we become like family.
My most fond memories of my three months in Ecuador are the holidays. Though many of the traditions vary from what I have been used to in the United States, everyone loves to celebrate a special occasion. We dressed the kids in costumes and took them trick-or-treating from casa to casa on Halloween. Thanksgiving (which is a foreign holiday to anyone outside of the United States) was celebrated by making Indian headbands with feathers for everyone to wear and introducing the kids to pumpkin pie. Christmas time was probably the most special. Each day of December was spent making a Christmas craft or decoration with the kids and singing Felice Navidad, even if we couldn’t hold a tune! On Christmas Eve we surprised the kids by going Christmas caroling. We started in one casa and gathered the children to join us to the next casa, and the next, gathering children along the way. While we walked I carried one little guy on my shoulders and we sang and sang one carol after another, such sweet memories. When the caroling was over and all of our kids were tucked into bed we filled their stockings for Christmas morning. Thankfully there were many giving hearts who willingly donated small gifts and money so the children could celebrate a visit from Papa Noel. Though the children only received a few small things in their stockings Christmas morning was magical! The happy faces of those kids will forever remain a fond memory in my heart.
Over the past two years since volunteering with OSSO I find myself reminiscing almost daily about the experiences I had. I made many wonderful friends with the other volunteers. Many of whom I have stayed in contact with, even though every one of them could have been my own children OR grandchildren. We had opportunities to go to town and shop at the “Hidden Door” or “Hippie Market” (so named by previous volunteers), go sight-seeing, eat ice cream at Tutti Fredos and enjoy the culture of Ecuador. I learned so many new things about myself and others, an education of a lifetime in three short months.
I recently decided that it is time for me to go back. Though I have responsibilities with work, church and my family, all have been willing to allow me the reprieve to go serve “my kids” again. Yes, life can get in the way, but the lives of these children who don’t have the blessing of family have become so dear to my heart. A few weeks and an experience of a lifetime to make forever memories, is so very worth it!”