Today my classmates and I finally got to work in the posada. Since there is a lot of work to do and not enough hands, our group got split into two for separate jobs.
On Thursday I worked sorting out donated clothing that the facility gets. I was not sure what to expect from the job but I knew that whatever I did, I wanted to do it with love and know that my work is making a difference.
At first we had to figure out a system to sort the clothing but a lot of us took different leadership roles according to our skills. Soon we set us an assembly line where everyone was in charge of a certain size of baby clothes, and two people would call out the sizes for us to pick up for our pile.
The heat was torturing but when I saw the amount of clothes they normally have to sort and it is obvious they are understaffed. The working conditions for them are incredibly cruel. The warehouse is small, dark and has no ventilation system. I really felt that our volunteer work there was appreciated, even though we were not there for too long.
Aside from our service work, today my housemates and I had the opportunity to explore a little more of San Jose and we went downtown again. We shopped and had an awesome time. It reminded me of home when I go our with my friends and that made me feel a tad less homesick.
We had a funny experience where a man pulled up next to us on a motorcycle and said “Hola.” We did not really know who he was so we decided to ignore him. However, he continued to follow us for about 3 blocks riding right behind us. This really made us uncomfortable so we went into the nearest pharmacy and waited until he left.
When we thought he was gone, we ran home, hoping he would not see us. When we got home and told our host mom, she explained that the nearby university has police petrol at night and it was probably one of the officers making sure we got home safe. This made me feel bad because we automatically thought something was wrong without considering the good intentions the officer had.
Thursday I experienced two culture clashes: one was with the way people here appreciate donations, while in the US, we sometimes have the privilege to reject donations. The other was the fact that being in a foreign country made me skeptic of how they go about making study abroad students secure.
Today we got to go back to the posada and work with the babies this time. The little ones were precious. I wish there was more we could do for them because the place where they stay is not as clean as I think it should be.
This experience was truly humbling because we got to work with babies that were born out of awful circumstances, yet they are a blessing no matter what. The daycare center gives the mothers of these babies a great help by providing assistance in nursing while they attend class. It is super important for the mothers to get an education so it was an honor getting to help babysit.
I also noticed one again that the daycare is understaffed. There are normally two woman attending the six to nine month old babies and there are about 9 of them throughout the day. Keeping up was a challenge but it was worth all the hardship.
Seeing the little ones smile was fulfilling in the sense that I know that they will grow up in a better environment if their mother attends school.
Posada de Belen is an amazing place, but it needs lots of help with donations and help with funding. I would encourage anyone who is interested in helping teen single mothers and their babies, to check out their Facebook page in the link and/or contact me for details on how to help.