Michael carried in our lunch -- a whole bunch of chuchitos that the kitchen staff had made at Sharon's. Chuchitos are cornmeal dumplings stuffed with meat (in this case, chicken) and wrapped in corn husks.
Upon walking in, we were immediately surrounded by new little friends.
There were 25 orphans ranging in age from about 4 to 16. Casa Hogar Feliz is a privately run orphanage, so we were happy to see the conditions were not miserable. However, the children all came from very difficult backgrounds, and none of them could be adopted because they don't have a relative who could approve the adoption. I found out later that each of these children had been abused prior to coming to the orphanage.
It was so hard to imagine that, seeing their sweet faces.
Once we all gathered, the children and the orphanage staff had a welcome and entertainment program prepared for us. First they each introduced themselves by name...
And then ran back to their seats. Most of them were very shy!
We were treated to a musical performance of Christmas songs on the marimba. The littlest one at the marimba was really quite a musician. He also played the guitar.
Michael took this great picture of the girls performing a traditional dance.
Then, we brought on the clown or Payaso. The kids loved him!
The Payaso performed with his three sons, the Payasitos!
There were various games, and the prizes were big, colorful lollipops!
Then it was lunch break! All of us, kids and volunteers, had the chuchitos (which I found quite heavy, but Michael loved), horchata (a milky-colored drink made of ground rice or seeds), and cake for dessert.
The kids were ready to get to the good stuff, though!
But before Santa could come, it was time for the pinatas!
First the girls had their pinata.
Once it was broken, they quickly collected their piles of candy.
Then the boys had theirs.
Take a good swing!
It didn't take long for Santa to be broken open!
The boys scrambled...and then quickly had their own piles, as well.
Finally, it was time for Santa to give each child a big bag full of presents.
Santa called each child up, but then they waited to open their presents until everyone had their bag.
And then it was time to rip in!
We found out that this little boy had recently arrived from the Guatemala City dump. He had never had a toy in his life.
I took a quick break to look at the beautiful landscape across from the orphanage.