I get to spend my summer at my favorite place on earth--Miracle Ranch!
This December my Dad generously gave me a bunch of his frequent flyer miles so that I could go back to Mexico for a week. It was an amazing, eventful trip. I was pretty ambitious and I decided that I would visit a friend of mine who is living in Chihuahua, MX and also spend some time with everybody at Miracle Ranch. So I flew into Chihuahua first, and then took a bus almost 1,000 miles across the country (by myself) to get to Miracle Ranch. I was supposed to get off the bus in Tecate, but the driver passed my stop and I ended up in Tijuana around 10:00 at night. As you can imagine, I was pretty terrified. Thankfully, the driver helped me get on another bus that took me back to Tecate, and I made it safely to the ranch. It was a valuable learning experience :)
Seeing the kids again was almost surreal. Nobody had told them that I was visiting that week, so they were pretty shocked to see me. When I saw Giovanni the first morning he got a really puzzled expression on his face and walked right past me. Then all of a sudden it clicked and he came running back to give me a HUGE hug. I kept thinking "I can't believe I'm really here!"
The entire week was beautiful. I remember at one point we had taken all twenty-one of the kids on a walk and I had Edwin holding one hand, Esteban holding the other, Hector on my back, and Victoria squeezed somewhere in between. At one point Edwin pulled us all into a little circle holding hands, and in perfect English he said "thank you for coming and sharing your love". With tears in my eyes I quickly said, no thank YOU ALL for sharing your love with me. It's one thing when a child who has known what it means to be valued all of their life loves you. It's even more amazing when a kid who has been abused, neglected, and let down time and time again chooses to love you. The kids at the ranch understand that it's a risk to love someone, yet they welcomed me with open arms anyways. I felt undeserving...
Saying good-bye was so hard. A bunch of the kids hid my suitcase on the last day, thinking that I wouldn't leave without it. Another little boy told me he was hoping my bus didn't work so that I would have to stay. Edwin made me pinky-promise that I would come back.
I take pinky promises very seriously. They can't be broken. So this summer, I am going to spend 3 months at Miracle Ranch! Saying I'm excited is an understatement.
My main goals for the summer are to:
1. Work on my Spanish (which is my minor in school) 2. Observe and learn as much as possible about the way Miracle Ranch operates. It is such a model of excellence and my dream is to do something similar one day. 3. Invest as much as I can into the kids--whether its academically through tutoring or just with love and attention 4. Do some writing for the ranch and help them communicate with current/potential supporters...(they are really in need of fundraising right now)
I'm going to need to raise some money for my plane ticket and living expenses for 3 months....any ideas???