(I really ought to proofread what I write. I miss essential connector words, verbs, and nouns frequently. I misspell things and write in the wrong tenses...or I just repeat. Why? Because I don't proofread what I write. I'm too lazy:). My goal is to proofread!! It's annoying to read a blog that has misspellings/missing words/etc. I'll work on it. I apologize.)
So, bored of the portraits yet? I LOVE THEM!! I know that I shouldn't say that I love my own work, but seriously. I love these pictures with all of my tough, pumping heart. Not just because I think I am THE BOMB (which I really don't...don't get a bad impression of me), but also because these pictures aren't just images. They are memories and stories and amazing people. I love these kids here. I mean, LOVE them. I am really sad I'm only here for 3 months. I would love to stay longer to become a bigger part of these kids lives. I know that when I leave they'll forget my name (they already have a hard time remembering my name right now! They call me "Ava", a past volunteers name, all of the time!!haha:) Love it), but I won't soon forget these kids. Three months is NOT a long time when you think that most people live for an approximate 936 months. Yet three months can be life-changing.
I hope these pictures truly capture who they are and that you viewers can see that. If not, go back through and really look at these kids faces and try to really see who they are. Try to see that Ana Maria loves to scold the high school volunteers who pass secret notes to each other, that Geovanny shakes out of sheer joy and excitement for a small birthday bash in the casita with the American volunteers, and that Roberto, with his big, loving heart, sobs when a friend's pet fish dies. These kids are happy and are loved. Honestly, how could they not be? They give love with ALL of their hearts rather than with just a portion.
Anyway, I'm not sure how to share how much fun these kids are, how much I've grown to love them, or how happy they make me. Ask me sometime, and I will tell you every tender memory (or funnymemory...I have lots of those too) that I have with these kids. LOVE THEM!! I wouldn't respend these three months any other way. THANK YOU to everyone who helped Andrew and I come here! I have no way to express just how grateful we are for the donations that were given to help us to El Salvador...hopefully I can just pay the goodness forward to these kids:)
I won't bore you with my emotional post much longer, but I just want to share one more thing. Today I was talking to an important Hogar administrator and he was complimenting the photos I have taken. He said, "You are capturing their spirits, who they truly are, in these photos. I hope you know that what you are doing is a great work of God." I would have to agree with him 100%. I am not nearly as artistically talented without help from God. It may seem cliche to give public recognition to God for the opportunities I've had to take pictures of these kids, but I know what I'm capable of as far as photography goes, and this has been my best work since I've started photography. Coincidence? No, definitely not. I've been blessed and I owe it to having faith in God, and having a Heavenly Father who loves all of his children equally, no matter how they come wrapped. Yes, it is a great work of God that I am here and that I've been able to take these photos of these beautiful, wonderful people.
To end, why not a few portraits?
My favorite picture of Walter. He is HILARIOUS and this is what I got when I told him to smile with his teeth:) haha!! Love this kid. Actually, Walter is the kid who loves to call me Ava because he knows my name is Molly, but likes to get a reaction out of me:). Beside Walter is Aida. She is in a wheel chair and has a slight case of cerebral paulsy and a mental delay. She LOVES to sing (and learns song so quickly) and loves English. She'll constantly tells Andrew and I, "Hablo Ingles!"("I speak English") and then she'll whip out "haylo" (aka, hello) and "bye bye". Haha:) Gotta love it.
Victor is a blind guy at the Hogar. He is also mentally disabled, but I'm not sure what exact disability he has. He is AWESOME though. If you give him your hand, he'll "memorize" it by feeling it and saying "quien, quien?" over and over. Then you tell him your name and he'll remember your hand along with your name. He is always able to figure out who I am when I give him my hand, even before I say anything outloud. He is the man. He calls me "Mawbidy". Haha:) Love it. Beside him is Antonia. Antonia is an 11 year old girl who has dyslexia and water on the brain. She is actually incredibly smart, and you'd never know she has any mental disability. She walks, runs, and goes to school with the other school kids (Carlos, Ivan and Martiza). She doesn't like to study, though, but she is very smart and has a knack for English. She will randomly say English phrases to me.
Roberto here might look familiar to those Hogar blog followers out there. He is the famous singer in two of the videos we've posted on that blog. Roberto has the biggest heart of any 18 year old I know (but obviously this 18 year old is a lot more special than any others that I've known). One time he found out that Maritza's pet fish died and he sobbed over it's death all evening. He was distraught and I had to give him a lonnng, snot filled hug before he agreed to sit down and play a game of cards with me (which didn't last long because a Nun came in and brought up the subject of the dead fish, which brought more sobs). Roberto also LOVES playing cops and robbers. Andrew and I have been his prisoners more than once. And, of course, Roberto LOVES to sing and perform. Andrew and I love Roberto SO much! We shouldn't choose favorites, but Roberto is on our favorite's list. We love this kid. Beside Roberto is Alonso. He is a 14-15 year old boy with cerebral paulsy. He constantly has this sweet little smile on his face, and is always asking me to paint with him. He lovvves to paint, loves to look at books and point out the trees and houses. He is the happiest boy with the skinniest arms. Haha:) I know that's random fact, but he is darling.
These pictures get me in the heart. Geovanny LOVES Andrew so much. You can totally tell in these pictures too. The picture to the left is Geovanny's incredibly happy, body-shaking excited face. When he's excited/REALLY happy, he normally laughs/screams a little, shakes with excitement, then his eyes literally light up and get all shiny. Usually at that point, he opens his arms up for a BIG hug. While he's hugging you, he makes this face. I love it...Geovanny's excitement is something to see, and it'll make you happy all day. Oh and the picture on the right is when he's done sharing his excitement with you, and he looks up at you with those puppy dog, precious eyes to "tell" you how happy he is. I think Geovanny was happy in this picture because he and Andrew were talking about his upcoming birthday (his birthday was yesterday. He turned 27).
THAT IS ALL! Longest blog entry in the history of photography. Whew. Lo siento