Location: Casa Mantay

The bus was filled with a mix of laughter and sorrow. It was our last day at Casa Mantay and Santa Teresa. As we all left the bus, we talked about our amazing and interesting experiences with the moms and their kids. The air was filled with a sense of dread; we had all had so much fun playing, working and learning with the mothers at Casa Mantay. We passed by the same purple wall we had all seen since the first day at Casa Mantay when we thought that Casa Mantay was a sad place filled with sad people; We’ve learned so much since that day. As we passed through the door, we heard everyone yell “Hola Javier!” After saying hello to all the mothers and kids, we went to the Salla de TV and sat down for a minute before Natalie came in wondering why we weren’t working yet and told us to stop being lazy and work. We proceeded to get up and were told to paint the walls in which the beautiful flower bouquets. We finished off the final touches on the walls and Jack “accidentally” splattered paint onto his shoes. After we finished cleaning up, the mothers helped us and taught us how to plant the plants in the garden we had helped them build after a lot of tedious work we finished and played with the kids and the mom’s volleyball. We had a very fun and exciting game with lots of laughter yelling and excitement. The game was abruptly stopped when the cook told us to go back inside to say our final goodbyes. The volleyball game ended with “Team Javier” winning 24 – 17. Everyone entered the house joking with the moms and each other and laughing. It only hit us we would only see each other one last time at the moment we all formed a circle. Everyone went quiet. The moms started by thanking us all for all the work we had done, and then we thanked them for such a great, friendly and welcoming week. Some people were teary-eyed, others looked sad, and some smiled melancholically towards the mothers and their kids. After finishing the goodbyes, we all hugged the mothers and their kids, some with tears fresh in their eyes. We left with our hearts low, but at least we knew that they weren’t as sad as we had initially thought. I guess they have seen groups come and go before. I’m glad we got to help here.