>the obligatory serious post

>So here I am, back from another trip to Mexico. I always find it hard to do a trip recap, but I’ll try my best. Overall, the trip was absolutely incredible (this is no different from previous years). For any creeper reading this for the first time (hello and welcome!), I spent my reading week at an orphanage in Queretaro, Mexico, which is about three hours north of Mexico City. Unless you want to hear me blabber about how amazing the place is, I suggest you stop here. Otherwise, read on!

This was my third year taking the trip, and I’m always amazed at how much the place changes over the course of a year. This year, the major change was the new hacienda. There was a hacienda (an old ranch-type place) about half an hour away that had been converted into an orphanage, but the previous directors had not been successful in running the place. The government, knowing how well Pan de Vida is run, handed over this site along with 20 additional kids, to the directors of Pan de Vida. All of the boys have been moved to the hacienda and are bused in every day for school and church. They eat breakfast at the hacienda, school and lunch are spent at Pan de Vida, and are sent back to the hacienda for dinner. We had a couple of opportunities to visit the boys there, and it was phenomenal. All 65 of the boys are taken care of by one couple. Just one. You would think this would spell chaos and burnout for the couple, but the opposite is true. They love it…the boys love them….it works. The older ones take care of the younger ones, and they’re like one huge family. The boys seem to be so much happier there. The property is huge, so they have lots of freedom.

Meanwhile, back at the main site, it is super quiet. The girls tend to hang out in their rooms because there are no boys to impress. The walls and roof are on the auditorium, the second floor of the school is completed, as well as the soccer field and a new playground. We were also working on apartments for the volunteers above the main dining area.

Even though the girls are scarce, I still managed to seek out my dear Ana Bella, who everyone referred to as my shadow. She is hilarious and sweet. I want to keep writing about how all of the kids are so sweet and lovely (because they are) but I don’t know if my fingers will let me type that much. Instead you call look at my pictures on Facebook (and some other account thing, coming soon).

We visited downtown Queretaro, saw some mariachi bands, saw a guy serenading his valentine and did some shopping. We also went to the tiny community of El Publito (fondly referred to as “ill Pepito!”) and stumbled across a crazy huge valentine’s festival. We ate hamburgers in Los Angeles and sketchy gorditas in Bernal.

The only really awful parts of the trip for me were Tuna Tuesday (tuna…all three meals…I wish I was joking) and Sick Sunday (I was sick…on Sunday).

On our second Saturday, I climbed a mountain (this one). Yes, this is the same mountain from two years ago, but it didn’t make it any less of an accomplishment. There may or may not have been yells of “Screw you, disability!” flung from the summit.

I also climbed a metaphorical mountain. This is where I get very vague and unclear. When I shared my testimony, there were tears, then words of encouragement (accompanied by more tears) from a team member. When said team member gave his own testimony, something clicked for me. More tears (wow, lots of tears) and then lots of indepth discussion with this team member. Before more discussion, we climbed down the mountain together. It was all very metaphorical and awesome. I’m pretty sure God speaks to me in metaphors because he knows exactly how things “click” in my twisty brain.

Now I’m home and was sort of rudely flung back into school work. I’m glad to be back in Canada because I did miss people a ton, but I also wish I could be back with those kids again. If you have any questions, fire them my way!

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