The boys and I arrived in La May, a beautiful pueblo in the center of The Sacred Valley in Peru. Breathtaking is putting it mildly. Because of an all-night bus ride, we arrived at Niños Del Sol Children’s Home bright and early (6am) in time for breakfast prep.
How Niños Del Sol Children’s Home came to be….
A woman from the states created it by the name of Mama Kia. Her son and daughter-in-law were living in Peru and gave birth to a child (Chandler Sky) who died two days later. Mama Kia had a dream that the child visited her and asked her to save the children on the streets of Cusco. And that’s how it began.
Niños Del Sol Children’s Home is a very special place. It is not a traditional orphanage and the children are not available for adoption. The home is a permanent home for these kids. The other children and adults are their family. They get a lot of love and support, a great education, nutritious meals, and live surrounded by stunning natural beauty.
The kids are incredible… there are 24 in all, though the home is set up for 36. The kids are so well behaved and respectful. The older kids help with the younger ones and they truly are a great family. The entire time we have been here I have never heard a voice raised or anyone complain. And they welcomed the boys and I with open arms even though there was a bit of a language barrier.
The adults of the home are quite simply, saints. Michael (pronounced Mitchell) is one of the original children who came to the home, and now has stayed on to help run the house. He’s an amazing guy. He gave up opportunities to move to the U.S. and also put University on hold because he says God has lead him to stay and help the Home.
Another saint… Mama Jeni. Wow! What a woman. She’s the main Mama of the Home and is a true example of a self-less, hard working, loving mother to 24. She’s the first one up at the Casa and the last one to bed. She cooks, cleans, helps with homework, bandages a scraped knee, wipes a tear, organizes trips to the local swimming pool and has adopted two more kids, Jack and Buck. The home is Mama Jeni’s life work and she obviously loves each and every one of the kids. Her patience is remarkable. In the entire time that we stayed in the home, I never once saw her raise her voice or be short with one of the kids. Amazing.
And there is the incredible Mama Miluska who is another angel and great cook. Michael’s younger brother, Exwar, who helps with the kids and the house…the house psychologist, George, who’s also a great chess player, I might add…and the gardener/maintenance man, Martin who keeps the garden and landscape green… and the two ladies that cook in the kitchen who are the best… they make up the home Family.
The two youngest kids of the home are characters…. Rosbel is the youngest boy. He is destined to be a musician or dancer. He spends his day snapping his fingers, dances in his every step and has the most infectious smile. This kid is special and I adore him.
And the youngest of all the kids, Soledad. She’s just plain adorable and has the most amazing imagination. She taught me tons of Spanish and I taught her some English. I dubbed her the Princess of The home…. Everyone there dotes on her and she is a beam of light…
Jackson and Buck held a carnival for the kids. It was a blast… We set up games for the kids and they won prizes…
Candy, mostly. We also did a piñata. I taught an English class which was a lot of fun. The kids taught Buck the fine art of playing marbles and Jackson learned to do laundry by hand with the girls while getting soaking wet.
Our days were filled with walks to the village, taking in the views of the sacred valley and spending time with these amazing kids.
One day after the kids left for school, Jackson and I decide to climb the mountain behind the home to check out the Inca ruins at the top. 7 hours later we got back to the house, exhausted. But the ruins were incredible. For those who have never visited the Sacred Valley, the altitude is a killer. Many visitors get extremely ill from the lack of oxygen. Jackson and I just panted like to old people climbing Mt. Everest. Was the toughest hike I have ever experienced.
The toughest part of our journey is the good-byes. Sobbed all the way to Cusco. It kills you to leave, especially knowing the dire situation at the home. That’s why I’m dedicated to help keep it going. I will keep you all posted as to how you can help with this project. Twelve In Twelve made a donation to the project and helped with expenses while we were there.
We managed a quick overnight trip to Machu Picchu to check it out. Holy cow! Unless you are standing there in person, you can’t possibly imagine the grandeur. I’m so grateful to have stood next to my two sons and see the sunrise over this Wonder of the World.
We now head to Lima and then a stopover in Panama…then on to Haiti.
And now the Call To Action:
Mama Kia passed away a few years ago, and due to some mismanagement, the home has been struggling. In fact, the U.S. Board of Directors disbanded this year and has left Niños Del Sol Children’s Home with little support. I just can’t let these kids, who have been here their whole lives, be split up and sent to different living situations.
If you were planning on donating to Twelve In Twelve and haven’t gotten around to it, now would be a good time, as funds are getting low and we are doing our best to keep afloat as our trip nears an end. In South America, we have made substantial contributions to the Refugio de Monos in Argentina and the Niños Del Sol Children’s Home here in Peru. Still to come, our work in Haiti, staring next week. Thanks for your continued support. We couldn’t do it without you!
More to follow…