In February, Cindy Paulus led the first Mending One Another / Unity 4 Orphans “Fantasy Comes True” Princess & Superhero trip to El Salvador and it was a huge success!
After arriving into El Salvador, we spent most of the day getting settled in and preparing for our FANTASY COME TRUE event the next day. That evening we had dinner in the local surf town of El Tunco. Here we enjoyed some typical cuisine, listened to the surf waves crash into the beach, and watched the sun set.
The next day we had breakfast prepared by the local women at our private complex, then did a little sightseeing. We stopped at the nearby Salt Pools where we soaked and basked in the sun. The views were beautiful and left us energized and prepared for our first FANTASY COME TRUE event at the Remar Orphanage. We had purchased over 100 superhero and princess costumes so that the children could live their FANTASY of being in character for the afternoon. Under the direction of Andrea Castellanos Reisinger, our personal in-country coordinator, we played games awarding prizes and had a nail station for the girls to have their nails done, compliments of IF THE COLOR FITS, WEAR IT WITH JEANNA, out of North Liberty, IA. We also did arts and crafts creating beautiful jewelry that the girls can sell to support the orphanage. Thank you Denise Brown of St Petersburg, FL for all the beads and accessories. The grand finale of the day was the bursting open of pinatas, followed by refreshments provided by the local Rotary Club. All in all it was truly a magical day for everyone involved, providing such joy and a memorable experience for both the children and the volunteers.
Our next day started out the same with our delicious personally prepared breakfast by the local women of the community. Our volunteers wanted to purchase a few souvenirs before we headed out to our second FANTASY COME TRUE event, which would take place not in an orphanage, but in one of the poorest communities in that area. So, we drove back to the local surf town of El Tunco and spent the morning sightseeing around the quaint town and buying our treasures that would forever generate memories of our time in El Salvador with the children.
Immediately upon entering into the poor community, our volunteers felt a different aura. This was a community where three meals a day was not a guarantee. The excitement of the children was of a different level…one of never having visitors or an opportunity to have a special event just for them. Lining up in two lines, one for the boys and one for the girls, each child was given the opportunity to choose a Princess or Superhero costume of their choice and live that character for the afternoon. The games began, the pinatas were hung and refreshments, provided once again by the local Rotary Club, were a true treat for all the children. I was struck by how grateful the kids were for any attention and a chance to have fun with no expectations. I remember I gave a princess crown to one little girl and she immediately shared it with the other little girls without being prompted. It was so sweet to be able to experience such tender moments far from home.
In closing, I would once again like to thank the local Rotary Club of El Salvador for providing refreshments, Jeanna McGlaughlin for the nail art, Denise Brown for the jewelry crafts, and especially Andrea Castellanos Reisinger and her family for putting together an amazing and most memorable itinerary for the volunteers.
We are pleased to announce that Cindy will be leading another trip to El Salvador this fall on September 9th – 12th! We would love for you to join her on this magical trip! The trip cost is $369, which covers the majority of your trip expenses. You are responsible for your own airfare which will depart out of Ft Lauderdale on Spirit Airlines. Book early for the cheaper prices!
NOTE: All proceeds will go to the orphanages and children of the poor communities.