As I approach the building it looks rather...official. It has the Spanish and Salamanca flag in the front, and the entire area is gated off, with a sign on the front that translates to: Salamanca Government Social Services. It looked so official that I thought maybe I'd misunderstood that it was an office building for social workers. So I walked around the building, which is located right next to a small "park" and found that inside the gated area in the back is a play area with a slide. This has to be it. This has to be the building. It was so different than Eagle's Nest. The second I got out of the car there I could hear the kids' shouts and babies crying. But this building radiated nothing but silence. As I rounded the corner I knew that nobody was going to come out and invite me in. I had to be brave, and I had to go up, ring the bell, go through the gate, and introduce myself. What if they didn't let me in? What if I couldn't speak in Spanish?
I walked around one last time, praying for confidence and strength. All certainty in my Spanish had all but disappeared. Before I knew it, I was back in front of the main gate. I timidly pushed the bell, half-hoping that maybe it was broken so I would have an excuse not to go in. But, within a second I heard the click of the lock, and I pushed the gate open. A young woman opened the door of the building and I could see a small child hiding behind her leg. As I reached the door I found my voice, and in very broken Spanish introduced myself and said that I would like to help if they would need me. I watched as the little boy came out from behind the woman, and I saw a beautiful brown-skinned 3-year old with dark brown hair and beautiful deep eyes. He had a cute little name tag necklace on, showing all signs of a typical toddler's crayon scribbling. The woman, who was obviously very busy, explained that I could come back on Monday at 11 or 12. The children were eating lunch at the moment and she needed to get back to them. I gave a quick thank you as the little boy yelled, "Adios!" and I walked back down the sidewalk. At this point, I had realized that it was not a good idea to leave without telling her that I have class until 1 on weekdays. But in the moment, I was so nervous and flustered that I couldn't even think of how to say that.
I sank down onto a bench in the park and fought back tears of joy, sorrow, everything (girls can cry for no particular reason, right?!) :) That sweet boy could have come right out of Guatemala (and he no doubt was born to Central/South American immigrants). Now that I've seen a face, there's no way that I can't go back, no way that I won't go over to that park and pray for the children who are in that building. I couldn't wait to go back and see all the other little ones in there. Resolved to return on Monday afternoon I headed back to my apartment. My host mom was eager to hear how it went and without hesitation said that she wants to go back with me! She went from telling me that she didn't want to think about it anymore to asking if she could go with me! So on Monday afternoon my Spanish mama and I are going to go see if we can have a tour of the building and maybe set up a time for me to help out. I'm eager to see what comes of my time at the orphanage but even more so, I'm excited at the thought of my Spanish mom being broken for the orphan along with me. I'm praying that through our experience, and through our talks, that the Lord will draw her closer to Himself.
I have 24 more days here, and I'm not going to let any of them go to waste!