Mexico Trip 2014
The Mexico trip was such an amazing time. We stayed at the Door of Faith Orphanage in La Mision, Baja, Mexico. Door of Faith houses around 150 or more kids of all ages. Door of Faith is a non-denominational Christian home. Although they are not affiliated with any one denomination, they work together with a number of Christian churches to build a strong spiritual base for the children.The orphanage has plenty to do for its visitors, from the hike to the cross on the top of the hill, to going to the playground to interact with the kids. For me of course there was photography opportunities for both mentioned. As soon as we stepped foot on the playground, kids run up, grab your hand and take you off on their play set, basketball court, swings, etc...
The stay there was great, they have different camps or dorms for the visitors, the lower camp is for the smaller groups, the middle, which is where we stayed this time, is a building divided in 3 rooms, one for the men, one for the women, and a kitchen area that separates the rooms. Each room has multiple bunk beds, as well as a bathroom in each room. The upper camp is also very nice, we stayed there the last trip a few years ago. Each building has multiple bunk beds as well, a cow painted bathroom, Fire pit, and a very large open kitchen/ common area.
The staff at Door of Faith gave us a tour of the orphanage, there we got to see the kids dorm rooms, activity rooms, nursery and even the gift shop. There is something a little different about this place, the design and architecture of the orphanage is very unique. From the mini doors, to round shaped buildings, or wild pastel colors. It makes it a fun place for the kids to live.
One of the nights there we had a pizza party for all the kids and staff. Fausto the pizza man and his staff brought a pizza oven to the orphanage and cooked up 60 pizzas in less then 2 hours. The kids absolutely loved it, so did we!
Of course I cant continue this story with out telling you about the little girl who melted my heart! Her name is Sofia. As I'm walking through taking photos of all the kids eating pizza, I feel this little girl grab my leg, then got up and gave me the biggest hug. A few days earlier I was on the playground taking photos, and she got shy and started hiding her face, well then it turned into a game, me chasing her around with the camera. I wasn't able to find her after that until the night of the pizza party where she found me. As a photographer we capture the moments of the volunteers with the kids, we don't get a chance to really interact with them. This is one that I actually got to interact with. I loved every second of it, So much that we decided we are not only going to sponsor in the coming months, but we are going to visit her for her birthday in April.
Sunday morning we went to Church near the orphanage. A translator was there because of the large group we had. It was a very nice service, with a great message. The kids get up and wave flags while the worship team plays and sings. After the service, we enjoyed a nice lunch put on by the staff of the church.
We also visited the Dump in Tijuana, where many families have built homes right on top of the dump. That for me was a very hard thing to see. Some of these houses are built with anything you can find. Tires for foundations, Tarps for roofs. Some of the buildings have multiple families living in them. Many of these "Homes" are no bigger then your living room.
We had a Christmas party for the residents of the canyon. The volunteers handed out cake, and punch to each person. Each child received a bag that included toys, also assorted items like hair ties, toothbrush, bubbles, etc.. After grabbing a bag, the kids got to choose a toy from the pile. The smiles on the kids face is something I will remember forever.
Going home was a emotional time for many of us, for me having to say goodbye to Sofia was very difficult. I took the camera down to the playground and showed different kids a photo of Sofia, because I had no idea where she was, and I wanted to say goodbye. Finally a little girl saw the photo, said "Sofia!" and ran across the playground to the dorms, ran upstairs and brought her down. Her face lit up, and of course so did mine. We spent a total of 4 days, 3 nights in Mexico, which was not enough time for me. I can not wait to go back!
Help us raise money to throw a pizza party for the kids at Door of Fatih Orphanage
For more information about Door of Faith Orphanage please visit the website www.Dofo.org
To keep up on updates or how to donate for the next trip please visit the Facebook group
All photos are Copyright protected 2014