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La Guarderia Samuelito ~ The Samuelito Daycare

I could never describe la Guarderia Samuelito, its needs, and its culture like Isaac Shue did in an article he wrote for The Mennonite, a monthly denominational magazine. Please read that article here to gain an understanding of the daycare and the community that it serves: Samuelito << Click here

The day we arrived in Santa Cruz was a national holiday. As with any holiday, most people did not go to work and the daycare was closed. Isaac and his girlfriend, Karina, spent the day with us. We decided to visit the daycare to take a look and make a plan for the work that Chris and Isaac would engage over the next few weeks. We traveled by micro (pronounced meekro, short for microbus) toward the outer rings of the city. The streets of Santa Cruz are designed like the spokes of a wheel. The roads (rings) encircle the city, the first ring nestled near the city center. Connecting those rings are the radial roads which, in essence, radiate out from the center of the city taking travelers out from the city and into the country. Within the first 2 rings is mostly commercial, with a few homes scattered among the businesses once you pass the first ring. For the first 4 weeks, my family lived one block past the 4th ring on the south side of the city. The Mennonite church we attend is located about 4 blocks inside the 4th ring, slightly north east of the city centre. The home we live in now, for the last week and a half, is about 3 blocks from the church, one block before the 4th ring. The further one travels out from the city, the poorer and less safe the neighborhoods become. The daycare, located between the 7th and 8th rings, is literally on the “other side of the tracks.” One day as we explained to someone where the daycare is located, he asked, “Is it past the railroad tracks?” When we said yes, his demeanor changed and he said, “Oh, that’s in the ‘hood.” So we rode the micro out to the “hood” and walked along the bumpy dirt road to the bright colored posts that watch over the daycare and guard it from the dangers that may lurk about.



Chris and Christian walking down the dirt road to Samuelito. You can see the colored posts to the left of them.







Looking at Samuelito from outside the fence.




Waiting to get inside.










The colorful playground had recently been built. There were, however, some things that needed to be added or changed. Those were the things, it was decided, that would be worked on for the next few weeks. There were some safety concerns, and some things that could just be better. Whatever the reason, the playground gives the children a chance to have fun and be kids in a safe place where they can learn to play together and work out issues and resolve conflict in the way that Jesus teaches.

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