Thursday started out with a trip to the health center that Esperanza helped to build a number of years ago. The site used to be a trash dump, and, quite honestly, it still is. Surrounding the health center is the pure definition of poverty and heartbreak. The people live in houses made of scrap wood, garage doors, plywood, tarps, and anything else they can find that will provide shelter for them.
The nuns who run the health center make it their mission to educate the community about illnesses from the garbage, and ways they can take care of themselves to prevent these diseases. They also have beautiful flowers on their property:
Afterward, we went back to digging ditches.
After we worked for a while, we had lunch, which just so happened to be Melissa's favorite food: MOLE!! (Pronounced molay.)
Then more work happened, and Anna bought me a bracelet for my birthday present. :) It says "Maria" on it, that's my Spanish name. (Meighen = Irish form of Mary)
After work we went back to the Posada, had showers, and went to visit a local orphanage. That was fun, and heartbreaking at the same time. The children were so fun to play with, but I wanted to take one of the little girls home with me. Her name is Victoria and she is the sweetest little soul I've ever met. She just sat in my lap and snuggled the entire time I was there. Her laugh was like fresh rain falling from the sky. I adore that little girl.
After the orphanage, we went back to the Posada and celebrated...MY BIRTHDAY!!! :) My awesome friends Liz and Emily (with some help from Jake) baked an awesome cake and decorated for my party. They also gave me one of the best gifts I could ever ask for, donations for my well. They heard my wishes and helped me as best they could.
We partied, had fun and I thoroughly enjoyed my day. I had an opportunity to give to a community and to my well campaign at the same time. Amazing. Best birthday ever. :)