In the last two weeks our orphanage opened their doors and hearts for twelve more abandoned children. I saw fear and hurt on their faces. No one is refused. But we are scrambling to make space for them. In ten days our population grew by more than 15 %.
Reach out and help
There is a ‘sister’ orphanage about 5 hours bus travel from ours. Their sanctuary has been underwater for more than a week. The water level in their home is now about 1 meter. 25 children are evacuated to our orphanage in Olón. Suddenly we have 25 more mouths to feed.
Three of our children performing at the open air chapel on Christmas day.Many more pictures on Erwin’s facebook page.
MJM Foundation and website launch
Although already many months in the making, today we are announcing the birth of our MJM foundation and website. We will add stories all the time. Please check in often and stay in touch with us.
Our ‘Water’ project – Phase one
We have been fundraising for this project for almost nine months and we finally are going full speed ahead to have purified water for all our children. Only one of its kind in our region. A giant purifying system. First step into a life-changing project. Details will follow soon.
Yesterday our local FOSMO team staged their annual fundraiser party to benefit the orphanage’s Christmas event. The music class students brought their instruments and rocked out. Our homegrown talent played to a full house. Two rock chicks in the making.
Six more children arrived
We are now taking care of over 70 children in a facility that is officially designated for 50.
Rock concert benefit
Three rock bands turn up the volume to benefit our future water project
Dutch superstar donates Platinum record
ANOUK auctions off one of her platinum record awards to help with our plans to build a new water supply system.
Electricity overhaul completed
Lights on !
The local FOSMO foundation organized an unforgettable Christmas event.
Start of building a brandnew electricity infrastructure
Day one. Digging trenches for the underground conduits. 75 more days to get to the finish line of this huge project
We’re on TV
Because of the VANDERLINDE donation, a Dutch TV station aired a short documentary about us. Watch the clip on our links page.
Rock band donates album sales
VANDERLINDE donates all proceeds from their new live album to the orphanage.
Rock ‘n roll delivery
Rock stars from Holland donated electric guitars and amplifiers
A new bathroom was donated and built for our ever growing population.
Ceiling fans installed
Sleeping under a hot tin roof was unbearable. Now they can breathe a little bit easier.
Refrigeration room delivery
Our custom made refrigeration room is installed. We can finally buy in bulk and large quantities of items on sale.
A BIG Christmas surprise ! A fundraising run brought in over $ 9000 to build a custom industrial size refrigeration room. To keep the food from rotting. This will save us at least $ 1000 per month in food purchases. Best investment ever !
A real Christmas dinner in our courtyard.Donated by a family from nearby Salinas. Turkey, chicken, potato salad and sweet dessert.It was a heartwarming and filling evening.
The YOKO band
As soon as we started music classes, the girls wanted to have their own rock band. They called themselves the YOKO BAND. And their first concert was on Christmas eve. You can watch the video on our ‘Links’ page.
When these two sisters asked Danielle and me to be their ‘Godparents’ at their first communion, we did not think about our own religious beliefs. Of course we said ‘Yes’. They have no real parents to turn to. We just wanted them to be happy.
A night at the movies
One professional projector and sound system, a white wall, and a delighted audience. Our first movie night. Ice-cream at the intermission. This has become a bi-weekly tradition.
This weekend we took care of the current food drive that was needed to keep the kitchen staff happy at the orphanage. I gladly paid the bill of just over $ 2000. Little did we know what this week would bring us. The earthquake gets personal….
Earthquake in Ecuador
Last night, our house started to shake violently for about a minute. We were in the middle of dinner. We do that every Saturday for kids from the orphanage. EARTHQUAKE ! Within seconds everyone was outside. Shaken but not panicking. Brave girls. This picture was shot seconds before the rumble.
Our first guitar class
My class room. It’s at least 32 degrees Celsius/ 90 Fahrenheit in here , but I’m the only one sweating. Next week it will be outside again, when the roof of the patio has been repaired. Because guys with hammers and nails have no rhythm.
Another beautiful rendition of our traditional Christmas celebration. Our very own Santa is one of our expats who stops shaving every September. So the beard is real. The outfit is customized according to our climate.
Keeping everyone’s clothes clean is a huge undertaking at the orphanage. Donations were used to buy a washer and dryer. Still, most of our laundry is done by hand.
Circus for everyone
This time we organized a private show at a circus in the nearby town of Montañita. And because June 1st is world children’s day, we also invited 80 children from the neighborhood to join us for a night of magic, suspense, fire-eaters, clowns, plus hot food and cold drinks.
Graffitti on the wall
If you drive by, you can’t miss it. A colorful mural on our wall. All the kids got a T-shirt with this work of art on it.
Circus in town
A traveling circus from Colombia came to town. I negotiated a private performance for our kids and they all got to meet the artists. We rented a bus with disco lights for the one mile trip and served french fries and cold drinks during the intermission.
Our first visit to the orphanage. When we walked out, our destiny was clear and unavoidable. Heartbreaking but heartwarming at the same time. Walking away was not an option anymore. That day, our lives changed.