Reptiles, and boat rides, and Waves! Oh my!
Today our medical team brought 22 children from La Union on an excursion to the reptile zoo, which also included a boat ride and dinner on the beach. We met the children at the reptile zoo and as soon as we got off the bus, they were gleaming at us with such excitement. For many of these children, it would be their first time seeing an ocean, despite living only twenty minutes away. The children got an opportunity to touch a bird and to see iguanas, tarantulas, and an alligator.
After the zoo, we all hopped onto a boat and headed up the river to a beach. Before dinner, all of the children raced to the ocean dragging us behind them. The children were so eager to play in the ocean! A few of them got into their swimming clothes and quickly began jumping in the waves and running along the beach. Some of the girls were a little hesitant at first because they did not want to get their pretty outfits dirty. But, once they realize how much fun it was they joined the others. Some of the boys gathered in teams to play soccer and a few of the LiveDifferent team members joined in. The children gathered in excitement as crabs would wash ashore and they soon discovered how to make a sand castle. After dinner and cake, all of the children participated in a coloring contest before they headed back to La Union.
It was great to see the children simply be children. Just four days ago, some of these children spent their day collecting plastic bottles at a local garbage dump in order to help their family survive another day. Today, they were how we always imagine children. They were playing carelessly in the waves without having to worry. They were giggling and screaming with excitement. It felt amazing to give those children that opportunity.
Today was a positive way to end our trip as many of the volunteers will begin flying out tomorrow. I am so proud of the work that we have all accomplished. My eyes have been opened and I have made memories that I will hold close to my heart for a lifetime. I am forever changed and will LiveDifferent.
Catherine – LiveDifferent Hero Holiday Medical Team Volunteer, 2012