Day three was filled with many emotional ups and downs. We started off the day going to Apopa which is a very small orphanage run by a pastor and his wife. The orphage sits in the middle of a territory of San Salvador which is controlled by the notorious 18 Street Gang.
So the setting was full of drama, as we had armed police officers with automatic weapons guarding us in this neighborhood. We ordered Pizza Hut pizza for the orphanage and we had to meet the pizza guys outside of the neighborhood – as they would not venture into this gangland.
That said, we were all overcome by the complete and utter poverty, despair and needs of these beautiful children. We had a blast playing games, doing crafts, and hugging and holding these kids and they ate it up – as we all did as well.
The amazing thing is the the pastor and his wife that run this orphanage essentially do it day by day and sometimes have to turn away more than 150 kids because the simply dont have the food and resources.
The needs of the people of El Salvador are many and seemingly endless, and it really can become overwhelming. We headed out in the evening to feed the homeless on the streets of El Salvador after dinner. I believe we fed something on the order of 144 people and what an eye opening experience that was. Driving around abandoned warehouses, city parks, and desolate streets looking for the multitude of homeless people.
It was an amazing day, as we were blessed to have had the opportunity to serve so many people, and to have met so many El Salvadorians that are doing Gods work here on the ground. The needs are great, but it was assuring to see that were able to put some smiles on some kids faces – to allow these kids to have the change to eat pizza for the first time and to see firsthand how so many of these people live on a daily basis.
We had a day full of wonderful experiences and interactions, and it was something that I know I will never forget.