La Finca Del Niño "In gratitude for the great love that Jesus Christ gives us, we decide to unite ourselves as a community to care for Honduran children in need and to promote a flourishing society of faithful Christians." –– Vision Statement of La Finca Del Niño
This is where I spent 10 weeks of my summer––La Finca del Niño. As I have already mentioned, the Finca is an orphanage but that label doesn't really fit it too well. The word "orphanage" usually calls to mind an Annie-esque image of forty or so orphans being ordered around by a terrible overseer. At the Finca, however, the children that we care for are divided amongst six houses based on their sex and age. Each of these houses have about 6-7 children, and are each run by a pair of tías or a married couple of house parents. On the Finca's property, there is also a school for grades K-9 and a clinic that is available to locals. All of this is run by the missionary community, of which I was a part, and a group of Franciscan sisters who live on the property.
What I Did
At the Finca, I was essentially a sub for the long term volunteers who were going back to the States for their yearly vacations. Because of this, my jobs varied based on who was gone. During my first two weeks at the Finca, I taught math, science and English to 3rd and 4th grades. Over my next three weeks, I worked with the maintenance crew, basically cutting grass, except with machetes. My final four weeks at the Finca I spent teaching math to 7th, 8th, and 9th grades.
These official jobs kept me busy until about 4 o'clock each day, but the rest of the time I spent with the playing with the kids, hanging out with the missionaries, or reading. While these things might seem like leisure activities unrelated to my service, all of these things were very much a part of my service. In fact, I might even say that I did more service to myself and others during these times where I was more of a presence than teacher or coworker.
Pillars of the Finca
The Finca has four pillars which guide how it carries out its mission: spirituality, simplicity, service, and community.
Spirituality was a huge part of my experience of the Finca. The Finca is an intentionally Catholic place. There is a chapel on the property in which we have Laudes every morning at 6:00 and in which we have communion services. Spirituality is really the bedrock upon which all of the Finca's activities take place
Simplicity is a pillar which really took me by surprise in my time at the Finca. I have always considered myself a pretty simple person, but intentionally living in uncomfortable conditions really opened my eyes to some things when I returned to the States. This pillar particularly influenced my thinking on development as I was at the Finca.
Service is obviously a huge part of the lifestyle at the Finca. Constantly being ready to humbly give of yourself in service is a must at the FInca, for the Finca calls on you to serve irregardless of how you are feeling at that time.
Finally, community probably had the largest impact on me while I was at the Finca. For me at the Finca, the community was my refuge and an inspiration in my service, which enabled me to continue in my service to the kids.