La Finca is a home for abandoned children. It houses about 100 children from ages 2 to 18, only one of which is actually an orphan. Every day when I return to Jamie’s home, I try to write about the children, but it’s been difficult to know where to start. I could list my observations of the children, but no collection of descriptions accurately documents how well they children deal with their tough life situations, how much less they have than others in terms of family and wealth, and how, after all, they are just kids. Daisy, an ever-smiling two-year old, is among a group of children recently transferred from a state orphanage. It’s easy to tell the new kids apart from the rest, since they typically have not yet learned to share toys and people’s attention. Also, at the state orphanage, hitting is needed to survive, but a few weeks after arriving at La Finca they learn to adapt and look out for each other.
As a newcomer and non-English speaker, I do get special treatment. When I arrived with my backpack a little more stuffed than the previous day, the children were saying to each other “mochila, mochila” (backpack, backpack) while asking me to lift them up so that they could reach around and unzip my backpack. They wouldn’t take anything from me, but their curiosity and collaboration are stunning.
Yossenia, whom we guess is a little above two years old, arrived at La Finca with a large stomach and adult appetite. The caretakers think she has parasites and have put her on antibiotics. When she cries, she howls and won’t let anyone touch her. Above, the other kids try to calm her down while amusing themselves with her cute mannerisms.
The kids creatively vie for attention sometimes by standing two feet off the ground and yelling “Seeeeeeee-meeeeeeee” with their arms outstretched to entice me to rescue them.
Older kids take care of younger ones all the time, whether they’ve been assigned a care-taking chore or just want to play. Above, Indira carries Daisy over to a Christmas tree to show her the hanging ornaments.