122As we settle into our daily routine with the tías and the children, we’re reminded of the importance of family, the sacrifices the mothers make to provide food and shelter for their children and grandchildren, and for all which we have to be grateful.

So often in our lives, the most powerful experiences and images fade with the passage of time. Just as photos serve as vivid reminders of our experiences, we hope our team journal will help serve as our collective memory of our experiences in Calderón and our daily rituals at the center.

We hope these memories remain as bright as the day we experienced them:


Mia: The fun we all shared playing with the multi-colored parachute with Tía Katy and our room of kids.

DSC_1049Eloise: The happiness and excitement I feel each morning as I walked into to the center to be welcomed by “holas” and hugs.

Lily: Each morning when I walk over to the breakfast table of Tía Vanesa’s kids I am greeted by a loud chorus of “Lily” and “holas” that fill me with a love and joy that is truly amazing!

Katie: My conversation with Tía Alexandra at Center One after our day of work. One magical moment occurred when she learned about the collage I made chronicling the kids.


Caitlin: As I horsed around (literally) with four kids on my back with Tía Lorena peering on, I realized that the joy, laughter, and wonderment of the kids infused me with an energy I did not think was possible only a few hours back.


Juliann: I never want to forget the feelings I experienced visiting the home of Anita (mother of one of the 22-month-olds) in Calderón today. She works so hard putting together 1, 000 puzzles a week for $50. We have so much to be grateful for and their home is a reminder that we should not take anything for granted.

Amelia: I want to remember the immense joy the kids bring to me each day. They have so little, but are so rich with love and life.DSC_1019

Sarah: Teaching the tías English brought an unexpected thrill and happiness to my Calderón experience. It was in these moments of laughing, sharing smiles, struggling to pronounce English and Spanish words alike that I found a truly unique way to form a bond and a meaningful connection.

Martin: The warmth and gratitude I felt the second morning at the center when the kids were jumping all over to greet me upon my return. It was in this moment that I realized the impact that we can make and the connections we can build in our time in Calderón.

Michael: I love the tenderness and fragility wrapped up in Naomi’s perpetual monkey hugs.

Kirsten: I’ll never forget the kids in my classroom snuggling on my lap and talking and laughing with me, with their hands on my face and around my neck while peering into my eyes so comfortably and happily. And, watching my nine and eleven-year-old daughters evolve from the fear and hesitations of the unknown (before we set foot in the daycare center), to being eager, initiative-taking, Spanish-speaking, loving, mini tías with the children.

Laurie: After an unsuccessful first attempt – due to a lack of language for giving directions – I got the kids to rambunctiously act out Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed (Cinco Monitos Brincando en La Cama). The joy on their faces was thrilling! Since then we have acted out a few more books – very fun. My favorite part of the day.DSC01350

DSC_1028Kay: I’ll remember my amazement and appreciation for the history, science, and importance of the Equator to modern science and Ecuadorian life and culture.

Tom: Watching my daughter Katie smile, laugh, embrace the tías and children is an experience I will always cherish. Through building connections with the families of Calderón, Katie and I have developed a rare connection that we will always share.

The journal is an important time for reflection. We hope these memories live bright within us and inspire all those who follow – and hope to follow.

Entry submitted by: Michael and Kirsten


Message for the Day – Kay Hendrich: “We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill

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