As in all educational institutions, quarantine has also affected our foster homes in Salamanca. Most of the minors residing in the “Casas Santiago” cannot coexist with their families due to different problems they have, so we have to accompany them in the serious crisis that our country is going through.
We support them daily in the studies and specific therapies they need. With the help of a team of educators, we play sports with them, we carry out a multitude of healthy leisure activities such as music and different artistic disciplines. We take care of the garden; we prune the trees and we take care of the orchard. The in-person assemblies between the various houses are very important in our educational project; But since we live in an exceptional situation, we do them by video conference between the houses, which allows us to stay connected.
With the limitations of quarantine, we help them in their daily routines and be active at all times. We have been with an educator less for fifteen days, but most of them are active, always ready and without failing. We operate without hierarchies and make decisions in a participatory way.
The students of the Lorenzo Milani vocational training center and the “Santiago Uno” School House follow the “online” course with highly trained teachers with extensive expertise in this field.
We continue to support the Moroccan schools and the families of the children to whom we built the house this summer. Also, we have taken on the great project of Fr. Antonio Romo with a brave team of young educators “A thousand ways for a bridge of life” where we support a residence with fifteen immigrants without papers and without a roof. The boys tend six hundred sheep, make cheese with professionals, and grow vegetables in organic gardens.
I hope that public administrations understand that the problem of minors at social risk is not solved by the managers with their bureaucracy. The lack of institutional support for this important resource for the city of Salamanca and its Province is not fair.
There are aspects of life that cannot be bought with money, especially when you have to expose your own life. Serving these kids is an opportunity to demonstrate the faith and values that our educators have.
Society penalizes those who surrender without conditions, those who have opened their homes to those in need. Las “Casas Santiago” is a professional service without losing its evangelical essence.
During this time of confinement, the boys are showing a great capacity of resilience and patience, despite the problems they are undergoing.
TESTIMONIES OF THE KIDS
Hi there! My name is Violeta. Since this quarantine time began, I thought that we were going to get bored a lot, but the truth is that, we are doing many more activities than usual.
Most of my time I am with the computer, but there are also times when I feel like being with more people and then I go out to play pin – pong, “UNO” or just to talk to my colleagues. We are a little bored and we can only go out around the house, but we do not complain because at least we have those spaces to enjoy the outdoors a bit.
On a normal day we get up, get dressed and have breakfast. Afterwards, we clean the house and study for an hour and a half, they leave us a free time until the educators from Santiago Uno bring us food. After eating, we do the assembly in which the educators propose us various activities and each one chooses the most appealing. We have another break time and then we each start another activity that he chooses, we have lunch and play sports: soccer around the house, push-ups, sit-ups, dance … Every time we play sports, I feel free because I can let off steam if something bad has happened to me. throughout the day.
I miss a lot of people from Valladolid and Salamanca. Sometimes I stop to think about what I do wrong and what I do right. Locked at home, I value class time more because I learn, and I am with my friends. Being locked up is not as bad as we think because we value what we have more.
I’m doing this quarantine superbly, partly because we do things at home and you don’t get bored. I am in a center in Salamanca called “Casa Escuela Santiago Uno”. We study daily in the morning until 1.30. Then we have some rest until 3.00, lunch time. Afterwards, we have an assembly about how the morning has gone and to see what is going to be done in the afternoon; for example, sports, film, workshops and yoga.
At 7.30 we clean up and prepare dinner. Then there is another assembly to discuss everything. Then we play a wolf or watch a movie. About 12.00 we go to bed.
Although I miss my friends from outside a lot, I feel very good here because I am getting along more or less well. I would like to make a song with my classmates to dedicate it to the other Santiago houses.
The quarantine that we are going through in Santiago Uno provokes the outcoming of the values from within the person (solidarity, generosity). In this time, many of us also get depressed at not being able to see our loved ones, but also gives us courage, that lion that each of us has within us to endure and live together in peace with those who are at home.
What I sincerely wish is not to fall into the disease because we still have a lot to live for; so, we should not leave home at this time. I know it is difficult, but if everyone does their bit, yes it can be done.