'Helping' at Hogar Belen
Trip Start Sep 21, 2009
83Trip End Apr 10, 2010
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Where I stayed
We spent the next few days helping out as much as our limited spanish would allow
The home itself houses about 30 or so boys who either have no parents or whose parents are abusive or considered unsuitable. They range in age from about 6-18yrs. One of the boys, Cristian, reminded us so much of Larry it was ridiculous. I think I can safely say that Julia and her family, who help out a lot at the home, have truly been inspirational. They have sacrificed so much and in many ways are working against the odds. They're in desperate need of more help, particularly with the older boys, and yet we got a real sense of hope from them. They are even thinking of setting up a girls home nearby that can be run with a similar, Christ centred philosophy that believes that people can change - the damage done to innocent children by a broken world can be reversed, destructive cycles can be broken, redemption is possible
One evening, while we were sat in the kitchen feeding a couple of the youngest children, the serenity was harshly interupted by frenzied knocking on the door. The door was opened and then quickly slammed shut as one of the older boys bundled inside in a state of terror. He was being chased by another one of the boys weilding what appeared to be a knife. The chaser soon appeared at the window and in a fit of rage managed to kick a hole in the door. The young children were hurriedly escorted from the kitchen and Roberto exited the back door to try to calm the chaser down. Several moments of tension passed but as it turned out, the chasers alcohol fuelled frenzy had blinded him to the fact that he was merely weilding a blunt piece of kitchen equipment - not a knife. The row between him and the boy he had pursued to the kitchen apparently found it's root in a dispute over drugs. We had very abruptly been brought face to face with yet another struggle facing the boys home. More admiration for Julia, Roberto and family. Anyway ...
We were sad to have to leave them and would love the opportunity to return at another time - maybe with some extra help - we'll see.
We returned to Buenos Aires via overnight bus and caught a plane, after a 6 hour wait at the airport, to Calafate, right to the south of Argentina. See you there ...