Today we were privileged to visit an orphanage in Santiago, only 3 blocks from the church, where abandoned children with various conditions such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida, and others are lovingly cared for and encouraged to use their potential more each day. In a beautiful setting in a very old home with colorful paintings of princesses and cartoon characters on the walls, we met, talked with, and touched many children and youth. Juan had a beautiful smile; with that smile he told us how glad he was to see us though he could not talk. Luis, probably six or seven years old, is in the process of being adopted by a couple from Philadelphia, a doctor and a nurse. They have already been working with him, including physical therapy, and today we saw him walk. Another young man, pushing a wheel chair to get around, plays the guitar and a rhythm instrument – he made us dance. A beautiful little girl, about 4, who has Down Syndrome, let me lift her up into my arms. We enjoyed being with the children in their lovely garden and play area. The on-site director, Ana, explained that all of this is supported by governmental funds under CONANI, The National Council for Children and Youth. Ana also told us that they receive additional donations of needed items from individuals. Right now a big need is for an industrial washer.
All the staff welcomed us cordially and we could easily see how much and how well they cared for the children.