Monday, September 28, 2015

Day 7: Final Day at Niños del Sol

It was a very bittersweet day since it was the last one we were going to be spending with the kids. We started the morning with a walk to the local Starbucks, where we loaded up on some much needed coffee. Once we got to the Plaza, we spotted the iconic Starbucks logo and practically ran with joy and happiness. It smelled like home once we were inside.

After a peaceful morning sipping some coffee and enjoying each others company in the beautiful Plaza de Armas, we headed back to the hostel and left for Niños. Once we got there, we finished up any last minute work on the walls and any other minor touch ups that needed to be completed around the village.

Once all of our service projects were complete, we were able to watch some of the boys prepare the huatia, which is essentially an underground oven. Once hot enough, the cooks placed oca, aba, and some plantains into the hole and buried it with the rocks and dirt. The meal was ready about an hour later! It was definitely an interesting way of eating. As Avishai would say, the minerals (dirt) are good for you, so eat up! We all sat in a circle and shared some memories and laughs that we had over the course of the week.


After lunch, we stayed outside with Avishai, Viviana, and Juan to reflect upon the past week. Let's just say that more than a few tears were shed as we went around the circle and shared how this trip has impacted our life. The kids will always hold a special place in our hearts.

As the sun started to set, we decided to take all the kids on a last stroll up the river. The view of Chicon mountain was something we will never forget. On our way back to the village, we had a blast linking arms with all the kids, skipping down the road, and singing classic American nursery rhymes.

As it was our final day at Niños, we were invited to stay for a dinner celebration, which was by far one of the most special events of the trip. We were able to celebrate Shabbat, which is a traditional Jewish holiday that is celebrated in the village every Friday evening. It was a meal filled with traditional Jewish dishes, songs around the menorah, and words of praise and thanksgiving to everyone. We were able to meet some of the other long term volunteers, who had been out of town during the week.

The kids had one final surprise for us at the end of the night. They had been working all week on crocheting slippers for each and everyone of us. After dinner, they neatly laid out all of our slippers on the table in the library, which is where we would go to pick up our belongings before we leave. So when we went to gather all of our things after dinner, they were all inside the library waiting to surprise us.

 Needless to say, even more tears were shed and several hugs were exchanged as we said our goodbyes to all of the kids. It's very hard to say farewell, but we will always be thinking of them and hope to return to Niños in the near future! 

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