Monday, February 15, 2010


Today was a good day - a really good day. Some of us spent the morning counting more vitamins to be distributed to families at our clinics throughout the week. The rest took stock of the other medicines, equipment, food and supplies currently filling our storage room.

Monday's clinic is approaching fast and thorough prep work is key to a quick set-up once we're on-site. Mornings like this also help the team get to know each other better and bond before the high pressure of the coming clinic days. This group is already close, working hard and having fun together - it looks like it'll be a good week.

But it was the afternoon, not the morning, that gave us our most powerful reminder yet of why we're here. You wouldn't often use the words "uplifting" and "orphanage" in the same sentence ... unless you've visited Remar.

Remar is home to 65 boys and girls ranging in age from 2 to 18. Some were placed there after being removed from abusive homes. Others were abandoned. Now their family is each other and, remarkably, this family seems happy, engaged and adjusted to life at Remar. Ironically, these kids were smiling and seemed happy and confident, they ran into our arms and didn't let go as we stepped off the bus. They hugged us, held our hands, chattered away to us constantly and seemed most excited just to have us there, with them, even for such a short time.

Glen, a veteran paramedic from Halton Region, was charmed by a quiet three-year-old named, Carmen. She didn't say a word for our entire visit, yet she captivated Glen and the entire team. Her story remains unknown to us, but in the space of an hour, she stole our hearts, especially Glen's. But she wasn't the only one. A group of six to eight young boys ran right past us as we arrived, magnetically drawn to our police escort vehicle and the four uniformed officers inside. Boys will be boys. Before we knew it, they were in the back of the police pick-up checking out the equipment and peppering the always cooperative officers with questions. These guards were there to protect our team, but found themselves as taken with the young residents as the rest of us. Kids can do that.

It was tough to get back on the bus and head home to San Salvador. But we left a significant supply of food, medicines, vitamins, clothes and toys to last long after we've flown back to Canada. Our plan was to give to the children of Remar - our time, our hugs, our support - but in the end, it was the gift they gave to us that we'll never forget. Our hearts are just a bit bigger tonight thanks to them.

Today was a really good day - here's to a few more in the week ahead.

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