We are lucky that our time here has been filled with celebrations of various sorts. One special event took place last Friday, was when we attended an end of the term celebration at Fundacion Crecer, with also coincided with the city’s month-long recognition of the founding of Guayaquil.
At Fundacion Crecer, we spent several hours interacting with the students and had the pleasurable opportunity to spend time hosting a face-painting booth. Given our exquisite artistic talent, the children had a diverse number of drawings on their faces, ranging from the basic sun and flower design to the more complicated (and less distinguishable) flag of Guayaquil and Fundacion Crecer’s unique logo. We should also mention that the children had their own chance to paint our faces, which was memorable to say the least.
More importantly, each module of students prepared a skit or dance to perform during the morning’s festivities. A stage which had been erected in the playground allowed the children to each have a moment in the spotlight as they entertained the crowd with humorous, touching and educational performances. We greatly enjoyed the chance to see each child shine and proudly perform in front of their friends and family members.
An important aspect of the celebration was to raise awareness of Fundacion Crecer’s mission as well as to fundraise. They had an extensive array of clothing and shoes sold at discounted prices that both helped the families they serve properly dress their children as well as to raise money to continue to meet their goals. Seeing this clothing sale inspired us to consider how to contribute either financially or with goods from the U.S. in the years to come to help ensure that each child can be adequately dressed with comfortable clothing. This observation was the result of a week of viewing children in clothing several sizes too small and shoes which were often torn apart by excessive use.
Finally, the most rewarding aspect of Friday’s event was the wonderful opportunity to spend a significant amount of time with the children who we are there to support. While it may not have been a “clinical” interaction, the chance to bring the children joy was one of the most meaningful experiences we have had thus far in our trip. It is especially poignant because clinicians in the U.S. do not generally have the chance to interact with the children we treat in a more informal and jovial manner.