I've been working now for 2 weeks, and am starting to find my place at Centro Hogar. It has been a whirlwind orientation, meeting my coworkers, traveling to other ANADES projects in different parts of the country (including the beloved finca), meeting parents, meeting kids, trying to remember names, drinking a lot of coffee, visiting homes, learning my way around the office, learning my way around the files. But, poco a poco. Here I go. I feel very grateful to be here, and I feel that there is really no other job I want to be doing right now.
This past week, Anita and I have had the pleasure to welcome Juan Velasco to El Salvador and reconnect him with the families in Programa Velasco. Three years ago, Anita and Juan were both on staff at the Casa, and Anita was working part time as a social worker at Centro Hogar. She came home one day, overwhelmed, and told Juan that they didn't know what they would do, but there were about 30 families who might have to drop out because they can't afford to pay the $30 tuition every month. And Juan said, well, can I sponsor a child? Can I pay for one child? And Anita said, I think so. Let's figure out how that might work.
They spread the word to their families and friends, and slowly, organically, Programa Velasco began. It was just a group of people responding to a need. I like that.
Now, three years later, we are growing. And I get to be part of that.
It was great to have Juan here this week. Anita, Juan, and I got lots of time to connect and reflect about where we are, how we got here, and our dreams for the future. When Anita goes to the States in a few months, I will be the person on the ground here in El Salvador, directing the program at Centro Hogar, but they will be integral parts of Programa Velasco in the States - raising funds, spreading the word, and helping me feel connected and supported.
Juan and the kids from Centro Hogar at the Monday morning assembly