amigos de jesus

Donation Day Collection -- June 8, 2013

Amigos de Jesus is accepting donations of the following items until June 8, 2013.  Please consider donating to the children  we serve in Honduras when you are doing your spring cleaning this year.  You donations are very much needed and appreciated.  All donations are tax deductible, but more importantly they allow us to provide for the least of our brothers and sisters in need.  Thank you!  Please contact Emily Ford at 610-644-8237 or emily@amigosdejesus.org for more information or to coordinate a drop off.

June 8, 2013 is Donation Day and we will be set up at St. Patrick's Church 115 Channing Ave. Malvern, PA to accept your donations from 8:00am - 12:00pm.  


Amigos de Jesús Collection List Spring 2013

·         New or gently used Summer Clothing – Girls baby through kids sizes (no adult sizes)
·         New or gently used Summer Clothing – Boys baby through Adult Small (especially in need of pants and jeans)
·         New or gently used children’s pajamas- Boys and girls through size 10
·         New or gently used Shoes – Girls all kids sizes
·         New or gently used Shoes – Boys all kids sizes and up to size 9 in Mens (especially Crocs, sneakers, sandals, rain boots)
·         New or gently used Sports Equipment – Soccer uniforms, cleats, balls, nets
·         Lightweight blankets
·         Bedding for twin beds (flat and fitted sheets)
·         Bath towels
·         Bikes (not scooters)
·         Ceiling fans and floor oscillating fans
·         Books – children’s books in English and Spanish up to 9th grade (no adult material)
·         NEW – socks, underwear, undershirts
·         New and Used Computers (Speak to Emily prior to donating)
·         Playground Equipment
·         Backpacks
·         USB memory sticks
·         Art Supplies – crayons, paints, notepads, etc.
·         Sun Tan Lotion
·         Band Aids and bandages
·         Anti-Bacterial Cream
·         Non-Drowsy Dramamine
·         Farm/Agricultural equipment
·         Tools
·         New or Used Electronic Keyboard (music)
·         New or Used Musical Instruments
·         Elementary Music curriculum (English or Spanish)
·         Generator(s)
·         Surge protectors/battery backups
·         Sewing machine(s)
·         Industrial lawn mower
·         Industrial washing machine

S-U-S-A-N-A… SUSANA! by Kristin Mullen-Muhr


Friends and family frequently ask me what my favorite part is about being at Amigos de Jesus. I always tell them the kids. But it is one little girl in particular, who has really made an impact on my year here at amigos.

 
It was a hot day at the end of August, only a couple weeks after I first arrived at Amigos, that Jose (a fellow volunteer) and I traveled to San Pedro Sula to bring home to Amigos a brother and sister from the state run orphanage. I remember being introduced to Susana (6 years old) and her brother Alexis (10 years old) and Susana jumping into my arms for a hug with a shy smile. That smile didn’t leave her face for most of the day as we got to eat a big lunch of fried chicken followed by ice-cream at the mall, pick out her own pair of underwear, and listen to one of her favorite song’s “Ai se eu te pego” on the car-ride to Amigos (which is in Portuguese but she changes the lyrics so that they’re in Spanish...ai chucho perro). Her smile grew even bigger as we made the turn on the path to Amigos when someone pointed out to her the big white cross on the hill. She was home, although she didn’t quite know what that meant yet.


Throughout the next few months, part of my job at the school was tutoring Susana and Alexis everyday and helping them acclimate to their new roles as students in the school. Our first tutoring session involved more crying and a dejected head resting on the desk than it did learning. The first few weeks were a repeat of our first session. It was so difficult to see her struggling so much. Susana got frustrated easily as she was behind and not used to being in a school setting (in addition to being the only girl at the school) and it seemed that she really did not enjoy being there. She was very overwhelmed to say the least. But little by little, she would begin to get that spark in her eye. I think that one of the turning points for her was the day that Exon, our oldest boy at the hogar (who has special needs) taught her how to color in the lines. Anytime I needed her to revert back from her haphazard coloring to do the careful work that Exon had taught her was to say “color like Exon” and she would get a huge toothless smile on her face and patiently work. Before I knew it, Susana was asking me everyday when we were going to be able to go back to school to do tareas and on the weekends she would ask me how many days were left until Monday when we could go back to school to work together. She was a totally different student and from that point on, she began to learn things quickly that used to take her countless weeks to learn (like recognizing colors, the letters in the alphabet, etc.). She still struggled sometimes, but she knew that she could eventually do it. That made all of the difference with her.

 
I should comment that Susana is quite the singer and dancer. We always know when Susana is near because you can hear her singing some song to herself (and probably giggling with her crazy laugh). One day, a little bit after she learned how to “color like Exon,” I decided it was time that Susana knew how to spell her own name. She still did not know most of the alphabet in Spanish, so I made up a little dance (using the Macarena dance motions) to help her remember the six letters in her name. We practiced it a bunch of times so that she wouldn’t forget. After she was adequately rehearsed, we went to show it to others during recess: S-U-S-A-N-A…Susana!! The smile on her face grew bigger and bigger each time someone praised her for the great work she did. In no time, the entire hogar could hear this little chant being recited, not only by Susana, but soon by all of the chiquitos (the littlest kids) at Amigos. All anybody has to say now is S-U and all of us will finish spelling her name in our head without thinking.



Susana is a determined girl, full of so much love and passion for life. She isn’t afraid to dance in the rain (literally), sing at the top of her lungs, or run down the top of the hill from the cross. She looks out for those younger than her and is always asking questions. She loves learning (especially English) and after she learns words in a chant, she will never forget it (“vaca-cow, arbol-tree”). One day, she asked me some question to which I responded “because we are amigas (friends).” Then she responded, “No Cristina, it’s because we are hermanas (sisters)” I truly do love all of the children at Amigos, but there is something extremely special about S-U. It has been so incredible to see how Susana has grown from the timid girl who did not like school in her first few days at Amigos to the confident, intelligent, and loving girl she is today. She has taught me so much about what it means to love and to live. Many people at the hogar call her my hija (daughter) and some days I do feel like that is what she is to me. Susana is a person who I am never going to forget. So anytime you hear the two letters S-U put together, think of a special little girl, not so far away in Honduras, who will finish the phrase for you: S-A-N-A… Susana!

A Day in the Life of an Amigos Volunteer


Kristin Mullen-Muhr is originally from Arlington Heights, IL and graduated from the University of Dayton with a degree in music education. Along with her seven other community members, she is currently serving as a volunteer with Amigos de Jesus, a home for over sixty abused and abandoned children located in rural Honduras. Read more about a typical day in her life as a volunteer.

My day begins with a 5 minute walk from the volunteer house to the Amigos de Jesus grade school (preschool through sixth grade), where I spend most of my day.  


During the regular school day (7:15 A.M-1:15 P.M) I spend my time teaching music and art classes as well as tutoring students individually. Each of my five classes receives one art class and one music class per week. My classes are small (ranging from six students to ten) which really helps me to get to know my students well.


After school, I walk with the kids and teachers to eat lunch with the entire Amigos de Jesus family in the comedor (dining hall). The meals always begin and end with a prayer which is led by one of the kids. A typical lunch includes tortillas, rice and some type of meat (usually chicken). We also get to drink fresh fruit juice that has been prepared from some of the fruit grown on our property.

After lunch, everyone returns to the schools for two hours of after school programs. The first hour is designated for tutoring and doing homework. In the second hour, the students get to choose two talleres (workshops) which include music, dance, sports, library, and English. I teach the music taller with one of the older boys. Right now, the students are learning how to play various popular songs on the ukuleke and Honduran folk songs on the xylophone.


Two days a week, my volunteer community and I get to prepare our own meal and eat it in the volunteer house. It’s nice to be able to share stories about our day as well as talk in English for a little bit. Community dinner is always followed by some sort of community activity, whether it is a night to just play games and have fun as a community or a spirituality night. The other five dinners, we get to eat in the comedor with the kids.

One of my favorite parts of the day comes after dinner when we get to just spend time with the kids. Whether it is a heated game of capture the flag, a good conversation while looking at the stars, or an impromptu music lesson, I really love this opportunity to get to know a different side of our kids.


Each day ends with prayer circle. It is such a peaceful and meaningful time of the day because all of the Amigos family joins hands and is given the opportunity to say their prayers and intentions out loud. It is really beautiful to not only listen to the way the kids pray, but also to listen to my fellow volunteers and co-workers offer their intentions. After saying the Our Father and Hail Mary, it’s time to give everyone a hug and say buenas noches.

Interviews - by Joseph Starzl, Volunteer

 Interviews - by Joseph Starzl, Volunteer


My work here is centered around the relationships I develop; with the staff, the other volunteers, but most importantly with the kids.  I teach classes during the day, but outside the classroom I work with the kids in a less formal but much more encompassing way.  We play, we talk, we listen, we explore, we argue, we laugh, we share all the unimpressive activities of everyday life, but it’s then when I think I’m making the most important impact on this community, and also where I’m learning the most.  I’m becoming a more loving person because of all the small things that I live through with these kids.  Likewise, as a role-model, what I hope to give can only be given by a subtle process, patiently (but conscientiously) exemplifying maturity and responsibility.

So here are just three of the kids that I live with, hopefully giving you an idea of what my everyday life is like.  I decided an interview format might be helpful, allowing them to describe themselves in their own words.  I translated the interviews to English, taking a few liberties to keep the spirit of the conversations as true to the original as possible.

José Antonio
8 years old


If you could be an animal, what would it be?
(No hesitation) Lion.  I’d be a lion. [Why?] I like lions because they’re carnivores.  They eat deer and cows and horses and all sorts of animals.  They eat… did I say that they eat deer? [Yes, I have 'deer' written down]  Ok. Yeah, lion. I’d be a lion.
What is your favorite class in school?
I like to read.  I like to write.  I like to study.  I like to draw things.  I like to read. [What do you like to read about?] I like science.  My favorite is learning about planets. [What's your favorite planet?]  Earth. [Oh.]  Earth is the best.  I like Mars too though.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
I want to be a teacher. [Why?]  Because I want to give people homework.  Also, maybe I could work with you, Mr. José?  We could teach a class together. [That would be awesome.
What are you really good at?
I like to share.  If I have something, I like to share it with other kids.  I like to be obedient.  I like to survive. [Wait, what do you mean?]  I mean I like to eat.  I like to eat food. Understand? [...I do like to eat. I also am pro-survival.]  I like to study… Did I mention I like to eat? [Yep.]
If you had a million dollars, what would you do?
I would buy cookies.  And chips.  And condensed milk.  Lollipops. (Long pause) [Should we move to the next question?]  No, not yet.  I’d buy gifts.  I’d buy tomatoes.  I’d buy a box full of food.  I’d buy potatoes.  Ice-cream.  Vegetables.
What is your favorite part about living at Amigos de Jesus?
I like to be happy.  I like to live. [And what do you like about living here?]  I like eating dinner.  I like washing my hands.  I like forks.  I like to wash my hands.
What makes you happy?
I like having time to myself.  I like going to sleep.  I like waking up in the morning.  I like to go to school.  I like to change my clothes before breakfast.  I’m happy when I’m sleepy and ready to go to sleep.  I’m happy when people aren’t bothering or name-calling.
If you were to write a book, what would it be about?
I would write… words. [What would the words be?]  ‘José Antonio’.  [Would you be a character?] Yes. [What would you do in the story?]  I would… read. [What would you read?]  I would read… a book. [You would write a story about yourself reading a book?] Yes.
What is the best thing about yourself?
I’m good at paying attention in class.

Hector 
15 years old




If you could be an animal, what would it be?
Really? [Well. Yeah...] I don’t know.  What would you be? [A wolf.] Hmmm… (long pause) I’d be a dog.  They like to do their own thing.  They’re carefree.
What is your favorite class in school?
Math.  I’m really good at math.  I like working with numbers.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
An Investigator. [Like a police detective?] No.  Like a scientific investigator.  Who are the people who work with microscopes? [Uh, biologists, I think.]  Oh yeah.  And we were learning about cells in science class.  I really like science too, I’d like to do that stuff when I grow up.
What are you really good at?
Math.  I always get good grades in Math.  I’m good at playing goalie in soccer.  I take care of the dogs here at Amigos, so I’m good working with dogs too.
If you had a million dollars, what would you do?
I wouldn’t spend most of it.  I’d save it.  I’d buy new shoes though.  Clothes.  Sandals too.
What is your favorite part about living at Amigos?
I like our vacations. [Your days off from school?]  Yeah.  I get to wake up late.  I like being free to choose what to do those days.  I’ll play soccer, wash clothes, clean my stuff.  Hang out with the other guys.  Just have fun.
What makes you happy?
I’m an independent person.  I’m happy when I’m taking care of myself.  I like finishing my chores, and knowing that I accomplished those things.  Washing my clothes, fixing my radio if it breaks, just taking care of my stuff.  That’s when I’m happy.
If you were to write a book, what would it be about?
The history of Posas Verdes (the local town). [Huh?]  Our class took a field trip to Posas to research its history.  It was for my social studies class.
What is the best thing about yourself?
My success at school.  I get good grades.

Oscar 
15 years old




If you could be an animal, what would it be?
I’d be a lion, so I could be king of all the animals.
What is your favorite class in school?
I like social studies. [Why?]  I need to learn new things, and those are the things that I like to learn about.  People and different countries.  And I like geography too, how some continents are really big, how some are not so big, like Australia.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
(Long pause)  I don’t know. [I didn't know either.]  Yeah, that’s a question I’ll think about later.  I just started high-school.
What are you really good at?
I’m really good at soccer.  I play midfield mostly.
If you had a million dollars, what would you do?
I’d buy a house.  And a car.  I’d get a job too. [Sounds like you'd be setting yourself up?]  Sure.  Getting ready for life.
What is your favorite part about living at Amigos?
I like the dorms.  Where we sleep.  I like being close to my work. [Your work?]  Yeah, on the weekends I work in agro (farm-work).  I clean the corn-bins, take care of the cows, stuff like that.
What makes you happy?
When I’m joking around.  I like humor.
If you were to write a book, what would it be about?
I’d write a book about different countries.  [Like a travel book?]  Sure.  And about nature.  It’d be a non-fiction book.
What is the best thing about yourself?
My intelligence.  I’m smart.

Trip to Villanova University

While five of our children were in the United States this year, we took them (Jerson, David, Jesuan, Christian and Miguel) to visit Villanova University.  Amigos de Jesus has had a long partnership with Villanova and has hosted many years of spring break excursions.  Villanova engineers built the white cross on our property and have been vital in many of the building projects.  While at the University last month, we toured the campus, had pizza for lunch, met students and participated in an experiment in their systems lab.  Thank you to Jeff Cook and Dr. Bridget Wadzuk for your hospitality!










Volunteer Reflection by Jen Clark


“We’re going to the zoo.” That’s all I had to go off of during my second week at Amigos de Jesùs when we learned that all of the kids at the school were going on a field trip and all of the volunteers were going with them. When you think of a zoo in the states, it tends to include a lot of animals, a lot of long descriptions and plaques no one reads much, perhaps a spot to feed the animals or a ride or two. Here in Honduras though, I had no idea what to expect. How big was it going to be? Where was it? We’re going to the beach afterwards? I’ve never combined those two before. But as with many things I’ve experience so far this year, you have to learn to just go with it. That’s how I found myself on a retrofitted yellow school bus complete with flashing lights and a flat screen TV, sitting next to a boy named Johnny, heading off to some unknown destination. Next thing I knew, we arrived at what I thought was a rest stop, until I noticed the giant old Spanish fort. Casual. We got to take a full guided tour of the place, as well as explore the adjacent small museum, and it was awesome to see the kids exposed to a piece of history like that. I know they have a history class in school, but what’s it like? I have no idea what they learn about, and in how much depth. After being spoiled in the US with field trips to New York City and Washington DC, as well as spending 4 years just outside of historic Philadelphia, it was easy to under appreciate the value of seeing history in person. And visiting one of the largest Spanish forts in Central America wasn’t a bad way of seeing it.
            Still, that was only part one. We hopped back on the bus and headed off to our next destination when after a few minutes, there it was. There on our right. The ocean. Or at least the Gulf of Mexico. Within seconds there were gasps coming from over a dozen small mouths. How many of these boys were seeing salt water for the first time? And that was only the beginning of the amazement. We soon arrived at the zoo, with me personally anticipating a small petting zoo, and I was very much proven wrong. With all of the boys we headed inside, first passing a huge pool with at least three water slides (water park within a zoo? Why not?), then discovering the homes of ostriches, monkeys, a lion, cougar, coyote, toucan, boa constrictor, and everything in between. Though they were lacking the detailed descriptions of the zoos I was accustomed to, the animals were there. The boys got to see buffalo and wild boars and a puma. And this was to be followed with another first for me: a giant cookout in a zoo parking lot. Grilling carne asada, passing out salad and rice, kicking a soccer ball around, and preparing for our next venture—the beach. But just when I was expecting us to pile back onto the bus and drive off to a nearby locale, it turns out that the zoo is attached to the beach. One more stroll past the buffalo and an island full of monkeys and there it was. Seventy degree water, sunny skies, and 40+ boys ready to dive in a find as many sand dollars as possible. We taught the little ones how to swim, splashed around with the already proficient, and took in the view. It was incredible to see their unending excitement and enthusiasm for every part of the day. It was only natural to keep it up and dive into the zoo’s giant pool next, with nearly everyone from Amigo’s de Jesùs sprinting to go down the water slides first. By the time the afternoon was over and everyone was back onboard the retro bus, there was a universal level of exhaustion. It was a clear sign that every unknown, unexpected, and mysterious aspect of the day was completely and utterly worth it. 

Dìa del Niño


            This past Monday Amigos de Jesùs celebrated the annual Honduran holiday Dìa del Niño, literally “day of the child.” It was a day filled with numerous events and activities for all of the kids, starting with a midnight fireworks show. During the day all of the teachers, staff, and volunteers pitched in to be waiters during the meals, take over all of the chores for the day, and run games to keep everyone busy. There was an obstacle course in the morning created by the teachers that encouraged teamwork and included events such as bobbing for apples, a fùtbol shooting competition, and a waterslide. The afternoon started off with water games and a massive water balloon fight, followed by a fair complete with races, food, prizes, and even a haunted house! Everyone, including a number of children from the local community, had a great time and there was a palpable sense of excitement throughout the day. The holiday was topped off with a special tamale dinner for all including goodie bags for the kids, and then a fiesta and dance party where all of the boys, and now Amigos’ three girls, got to show off their moves and bachata the night away. It was certainly a day to remember. 




Fall Family Picnic and Philadelphia Union Soccer Game


Come out and join children from Amigos de Jesus, staff, friends and Father O’Donnell for a fun-filled day of praise, prayer and celebration!

The picnic will be held on Sunday, September 16th at Malvern Preparatory School, located at 418 South Warren Avenue. Following the 11:00 AM Mass with celebrant Father O’Donnell, there will be lunch, music, games and more from 12:00 to 2:00. RSVP to Emily at emily@amigosdejesus.org.

The staff and children of Amigos will also be gathering to watch the children’s favorite sport, soccer, on Sunday, September 23rd. Philadelphia’s Union will be playing the Houston Dynamo at a 4:00 PM game. The game will be held at PPL Park on 1 Stadium Drive, Chester, PA, 19013. For tickets, visit the link here:
http://comcasttix.com/events/page/east/PPL+Park/Philadelphia+Union+-+MLS+Soccer

If you are interested in meeting with the children, call ComcastTix at 1-800-298-4200 and mention the group is seated in section 123, rows BB and CC. VIP packages are available, which includes an all-you-can-eat buffet open for an hour before the game starts. For addition information or questions, contact Emily.



Meet the Volunteers

Volunteers


Below is a description of the volunteers at Amigos that will start August 11th, 2012. For more information on volunteering, contact Emily.

Kristen Mullen-Muhr – graduated the University of Daytona with a degree in choral music education. She has volunteered in other foreign countries such as Africa, and domestically in Salyersville, Kentucky. Her hobbies include playing soccer and with children. She hopes to be fluent in Spanish and gain knowledge from her experiences by the end of her service.

Meg Ryan – graduated Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire. She strives to graduate with a major in Psychology and a minor in Web Design. She chose to do a year of service because she believes that Amigos will offer her a new vision of the world. She also strives to be fluent in Spanish.

Andrew Marchione – graduated at Fordham University with a major in Theology and a minor in Psychology. He has been interested in Central America since the age of 13, and has longed to experience the region personally. He believes that Amigos will challenge him as a person.

Joseph Sarappo – graduated Temple University with degrees in International Business and Marketing, as well as a minor degree in Spanish. His hobbies include learning about new languages, cultures, politics, and plays soccer on a daily basis. He first wanted to volunteer when the people he used to work with told of their hardships in Central America, which he experienced firsthand when climbing the Andes Mountains in Peru.

Rachel Severino – graduated The Catholic University of America with a degree in Psychology. She joined Amigos to help the children, and wants to pursue a career as a social worker in an inner city school district.

Christian Flessner – graduated Fordham University with degrees in Psychology and computer science. He joined Amigos because he wants to gain a new perspective on life, and also foreign perspectives on America. He hopes his spiritual health will increase as well.

Joeseph Starzl – graduated the University of Portland with a degree in philosophy. He enjoys creative writing and reading, especially fantasy and science-fiction. He joined Amigos because he wants to learn of a new culture, language, and believes that this will help him fulfill the urge to “give back”. He wants this to expand his world view and mature him into a more virtuous person.

Jennifer Clark – graduated Villanova with degrees in Civil and Environmental Engineering and Peace and Justice. She recently traveled to Cambodia to assist an orphanage treating children with HIV/AIDS. She joined because she thinks Amigos is a wonderful cause, and she is eager to learn Spanish and Honduran culture. She knows it will be challenging, and wants to work someplace out of her comfort zone.