Boys of Irapuato

Today we all collected at Katie's house early to load into vehicles and caravan to the boys' home in Irapuato.  Jen and i first try to take a few minutes to enjoy the view from our new campspot and the amazing landscape that is Guanajuato.  The drive is about 1.5 hours to Irapuato, and as soon as we arrive the boys are upon us and climbing all over the motorcycles.  They cant get enough and it seems like they could play on them all day.  Soon they notice us snapping photos and they become enthralled with the cameras themselves.  A few budding young photographers grab the cameras from us and start shooting photos of their own as long as we will let them.We spend the entire day hanging out and playing with these fantastic young minds.  Soccer, basketball, hide and seek, drawing on the concrete and just generally giving the boys what they don't see in day to day life- an adult willing to spend time with them.  The boys spend half their day with one caretaker and the other half with another.  Rarely do they have visitors and even more rarely to they get adult interaction of the positive kind.  Our only goal for today was to bond with the kids.  That was easy.  They brought us into their playspace as though we had been coming for years.

We all interacted with the boys and kept thinking of how we could contribute to make an impact while we were here that would continue to give back to them after our departure.  Katie had outlined for us that one of her major concerns was their playground, and one look around made it clear why.  The equipment was all made of mangled, rusted steel that was unsafe at best.  They boys are starving for a place to play and explore and spent more time climbing around the fruit trees in the yard than anything else.  Several of us would walk the yard and try to find pieces that could be salvaged and try to come up with a plan that could make this space usable.We eat lunch with the boys and then most head off to school and we start brainstorming ideas and possibilities.  Probably my highlight for the day was listening to a few of the boys' ideas of what they would want in the playground, sketching possibilities and having them sign off on parts and explain the changes they wanted to see to the next revision.   The boys desperately want a treehouse or climbing structure and we came up with a few ways to reuse existing pieces, but as the day goes on we realize that it sadly might have to wait for a phase two.  For now, with our limited time (4 days) and resources we decide to focus on making their existing equipment safe and usable.Tomorrow we will break into teams and start working to refurbish the existing playground equipment and painting/cleaning the boys rooms in an attempt to improve both their shared and personal space.  It isn't much and im sure we all feel the same draw to stay longer and make an impact but hopefully it will prove to be a catalyst for further change in the coming months.

On the way home we stop at home depot to pick up supplies and then to avoid hanger from the entire group stop for some tortas before making the drive back to guajuato and camp.  All in we are out for over a 12 hour day and are spent by the time we arrive back at our vehicles.  Tomorrow we start getting our hands dirty.