I am sitting in what could appear to be chaos to any other person outside the Ninos Con Valor world. There are boxes shaped and designed like bricks that are strewn in every corner in this room before going to the bathroom on the first floor. There are also books partly torn and pages missing that cover the floor as well. Little wooden blocks seem to have crept their way into this room as well and one of the kids has created a line with these blocks. What is the intention of this line created by the blocks? Obviously, it is to jump over it as many times as he could. The kids are laughing as well crying because someone has taken their book or brick shaped box. With all of this action happening, I am looking at the clock and thinking, is it bedtime yet? However, through this midst of chaos, there is an order to all of these things. There are two areas for reading; a place to play with these brick shaped boxes; and a place to jump back and forth with the wooden blocks. Even though crying and yelling can be heard, it is not for the entire time. It is relatively tranquil and calming.
I describe this scene from Pedacito del Cielo, the famous baby home of Ninos con Valor, because it is just of the many things that creates an amazing volunteer experience for anyone, not just me. And, how does this situation of commotion create an amazing volunteer experience? There are two lessons here. One is realizing that not everything is as what it seems. There was order and control amidst the toys in every inch of the floor. It did not look like it at first. The other lesson is being able to go with the flow of things. I could have asked the kids to put away their old books before retrieving new ones. I could have separated the brick players more. I could have done a lot more that would have avoided some of the cries and screams. However, I did not. I was watching with a careful eye what was happening. I saw that kids were being kids, playing and screaming. It was more recognizing which screams were of joy and which of hurt. So, yes this one of many experiences from work allows me to let go of trying to control a situation and let kids be kids.