Memories of our childhood are often related to one of our five senses. An odor, a texture, a certain color, taste or sound can bring back a memory long forgotten. Most researchers agree that emotion can have a powerful effect on how humans create memories. Do you have an object that reminds you of your childhood?
Children on the campus of the Hogar Los Pinos in Guatemala have such an item. Come with me as I share a story about how a small household item, seemingly insignificant to most, can represent an important memory for a child.
We enter the administration building, just past the main entrance gate. Its walls are brightly painted with small images of colorful native birds, happy children, and nature. There is a large table surrounded by 14 very sturdy but worn wooden chairs. As I touch one of the chairs, Joel Carpio, the administrator’s face breaks into a smile. “Do you like that chair?” he asks. “You aren’t the first to like it…”
He explained that those chairs dated back to earlier times at Hogar Los Pinos when Alcyon and Ken Fleck were planning all the details of the children’s village. They knew that sturdier furniture, including chairs, would serve the children’s needs better. These particular chairs were purchased and sent to the campus where they were used in children’s homes for several decades.
Over the years the children within Los Pinos have grown from a life of distrust, fear, and abuse toward a future where trust, love and emotional healing were possible. Each day, they would enter the living area where these chairs sat. They would move the heavy wooden chairs to sweep the floors. They would sit in the chairs for each mealtime shared around the family table. If these chairs could speak, they would share with us stories of joy and sorrows, tears and laughter, the yelling and whisperings of a house full of children learning to live their best lives. And without the children knowing it, these chairs began to represent to them security, safety, and love.
As with every ICC project, there are times when children must move homes within the campus, to ensure the continued growth, safety, and wellbeing of all members of the family. These transitional times are difficult on the administration, as well as on the individual child. As Joel finished up his story of the chairs, his hand securely and lovingly clutching the wood of the chair in front of him, he wistfully shared, “When the children from the homes with these chairs would need to move, they would go take their chair and beg for it to move with them.” I asked, “Did you allow them to take it with them to their new house?” “Of course!” He replied, “It contains all their memories.”
The old wooden chairs are your chairs, too. As part of the family of ICC, your support has helped form the transformed lives of children connected to those sturdy, wooden chairs.
Now, more than ever…
ICC children in Guatemala and around the world need your prayers and financial support. The first three months of the year have been challenging as expenses have been greater than donations. Budgets are stretched thin. And the children have nowhere else to turn for support other than to their ICC family – to you.
Thank you for being part of God’s plan to care for these vulnerable children in meaningful ways. Your support is needed – now more than ever.