Caritas is a before and after school program ran by nuns. The children are guaranteed lunch, provided a safe place to play, and are taught reading, writing, and faith throughout the day. Many of the children come from impoverished homes. Our job is to play with the kids and serve lunch. There were a lot of ups and downs during our experience, but we would do it all over again.
At first, it was discouraging because our Spanish skills weren’t the best. But we soon found out that really didn’t matter. The kids will make fun of you, but that’s part of the fun. The nuns and women who help out do not really care if your Spanish is bad either. They just appreciate your presence. Another low we hit was feeling like we were useless. Most of the time we didn’t do much just played with the kids. We were searching for a purpose like all the other service sites have. We realized we didn’t need a specific purpose. Being with the kids, supporting them, loving them, encouraging them is really all that they want us to provide. With this, we formed bonds with the children that are ever lasting.
We have some advice to future students who work at this site. Don’t be embarrassed. Just let go. No one cares. Keep an open mind. Remember you’re in a completely different culture. The kids are wild, but just embrace it. The sooner you learn you can’t control them, the better. Give as much love as possible and as soon as possible. Let your guard down in the beginning or you’ll regret it. Enjoy every minute, because it goes faster than you think.
Carlita y Sarita