Gena Kay -- FOEF Volunteer
How often does this happen: Being thanked continuously, profusely even, for getting someone involved with a charity organization? Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Most people send in their donations or attend fundraisers and go on their merry way. Friends of El Faro isn’t like that, almost won’t allow it, because of the simple nature of its humble beginnings and its intent…which in the very least is consistency. I, myself, have thanked my fellow Friends of El Faro volunteers since the day I attended that first fundraiser and was immediately hooked. And I know each one of our volunteers has been thanked by many a person who has become involved with the kids, on varying levels.
This email sent by a volunteer after his first visit to the Tijuana orphanage is an example of the addictive nature of involvement with Friends of El Faro, with the beautiful, hope-filled kids of Casa Hogar Sion:
“OK, I’m having withdrawals…I miss the kids, the experience of my new friends. I guess the only remedy is to go back and get another dosage of some really amazing medicine.”
This was the response I sent him:
Ah, yes, the Withdrawal Syndrome. It's a killer. You're right, someone should've warned you. There is no cure though - I'd like to say another visit were a cure, but it's truly NOT - just a fix for what is now, inevitably, an addiction that is not easy to kick. Hopefully, like those of us you bonded with on the last trip, you will not even try to kick it. Give in to what is now a beautiful part of your life; that is my advice. It's a bit surreal, isn't it?
That volunteer is now one of our most dedicated supporters, visiting and thinking of the kids constantly, finding new ways to tantalize their taste buds with special kitchen concoctions and enlisting neighbors and friends to be a part of this special community, as well.
I remember writing something about Sore Arms after my first visit...about how exquisite the ache was from holding all those hopeful, smiling kids. Here is that passage:
I felt a tug at my heart when I arrived. I felt an ache in my heart when I left. The next day, I noticed my arms were sore...Not sore in a painful way, but sore in an aching way, delightfully reminding me of holding los ninos lindos. I shall look forward to sore arms once again.
That was written July 2003, nearly four years ago. Time flies when you’re having fun…and loving others, others who deserve to be loved, others whose love changes you, uplifts you, reminds you to live to the fullest.
Tireless Devotion. Endless Hope.
Sore, Aching Arms. Heart-wrenching Smiles.
El Faro is not a place. El Faro is the Spirit of Life itself.
El Faro is Love.