Posted by: Ali | September 16, 2009

Hogar del Buen Pastor

Today was a difficult day, as I went to see two different placements.  The first is a home for abandoned girls called Hogar del Buen Pastor, which means “Home of the Good Shepard.”  It happens to be a bit religious.

San Juan and Buen Pastor 015

There are about sixty girls living there, who had either been abandonned or kicked out of their homes, run away, or been orphaned.  Many of them had been abused either at home or living on the streets.  All things considered, it looked like a nice place for a girl in a situation like that to end up, but it was still very sad.

San Juan and Buen Pastor 025

The saddest was when we toured the kitchen and there was this big huge dining hall and there was a girl, maybe 14 years old, sitting there all alone, not eating her soup.  It looked like she had been crying.  The lady giving us the tour said that the girl had just arrived here today.  I can’t imagine what her life must have been like before getting there, but I’m sure I would be emotional too.

The Sewing Classroom

The Sewing Classroom

Apparently we hadn’t sent volunteers there in a while, I’m not quite sure why.  Because it’s such a sensitive environment I suppose it would be a little hard for a volunteer to adapt.  Technically what the volunteers would do would be classified as “teaching,” but it is not in a structured classroom environment, and the volunteer would be doing as much learning as the girls.  What the coordinator there wants from volunteers is for them to keep the girls company, while they do things like sewing or gardening or cooking, and teach them the words for certain things in English.  The volunteer would also teach dance and music and art and sort of integrate lessons about Canada or the rest of the world or English or morals into these sort of impromptu classes.  Sounds weird, I know, and more like a sort of cultural exchange rather than actual volunteering.  I like it cuz it’s different!


  1. Sounds like part mentor, part social worker, part teacher.


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