The Associación Al Niño con Cariño is located in an old elementary school just outside Alajuela, Costa Rica. It is run by an order of nuns from Columbia.
The girls that the nuns care for, ages 5 to 16, live there during the school year from Monday thru Friday where they attend a public school. They go home for the weekends and holidays. Home for them is a simple wooden house in a slum. I went out with a couple of the Hermanas (Sisters) once to take photographs of their homes. This experience gave me a new perspective of seeing what theses simple wooden houses meant to these single mothers. They all felt blessed to have a place to call their home. In one case, the mother and her three daughters had been living in a cave in the back of her in-laws’ house that was built against a man-made cliff. The in-laws had dug a hole in the dirt wall for them and this is where she and her daughters lived when the nuns found them and took them to a better place to call home.
I began teaching after school yoga and meditation classes helping the girls find balance and harmony in themselves. At the time I was also teaching myself how to miniature quilt so I ended up integrating the yoga, meditation and sewing into one class.
I hope they learned from me at least half as much as what I learned from them.
It was the best 3 years of my teaching career.