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In Sickness and in Health

Hello everyone! In case you were wondering, this post has nothing to do with marriage. I just thought that this phrase from wedding vows fits today’s topic. So now that we have cleared that up, on to the news!


When I committed to doing mission work, one of my students wanted to know if I was afraid of getting sick while on mission. I told them I wasn’t because I knew God was in control and I probably would have access to doctors to some degree. Side note: this conversation actually took place before Covid came to the United States.


Interestingly enough, the fear of getting sick or dying has never been one that I have dealt with as I prepared for mission work or now as I am in the middle of it. Yes, I might be exposed to illnesses that I might not in the United States, and yes, the medical system here is not quite the same, but I am a healthy young adult, so I don’t need to worry too much. I also know that the Salesians will take care of any medical costs that may arise, including the cost of being taken to a hospital that can help, which is a blessing. I have also never feared Covid as I prepared for mission work. All the statistics were saying that healthy young people rarely developed complications.


All this is to say that the thing that some people may dread finally happened. Covid came to the Hogar. For about 3 weeks now, we have been shut in the Hogar as the virus has run its course. As of now, only about 5 of the people here have not had Covid. It started with a few of the older girls (who were attending in person classes) testing positive, which led to everyone being tested. During the first week, I tested positive along with about ½ of the girls. The following week, those who were originally negative were tested again, at which point we found out that everyone except for 5 people had it. Needless to say, life has been interesting this past month.


Before I talk more about my thoughts and experiences from this past month, I just want to assure you that everyone in the Hogar will make a full recovery. Those who were sickest are on the mend and are better every day. Most experienced only mild symptoms for 2-3 days. Tomorrow the volunteers get to leave for our day off if we want to!


My symptoms were so mild that I felt better than when I have a cold: mild headaches easily fixed with medicine, an almost nonexistent cough, and a slightly stuffy nose. Honestly the hardest part of my experience was spending a week alone in my room when I was feeling so well. I wasn’t even allowed to see the girls who were sick. But on the plus side, I learned how to crochet, listened to some podcasts, journaled, video called friends and family, and spent time doing Lectio Divina.


Since the second week, it has been all hands on deck, especially since the sisters who are in charge of the Hogar were hit the hardest. If I think about it, I know that my everyday work here is helpful, but these past two weeks, I know without a doubt that I have made a difference. I can’t imagine what would have happened if there were no volunteers here during this time, especially since the girls have had such mild cases that they have been living life almost like normal since this all began.


And this time of sickness at the Hogar has made me realize that this is part of what I signed up for. Not only am I here to help when times are normal and happy, but also when things are more difficult. It’s a calling to be present in sickness and in health just like in marriage or if you have children.


This time has made me realize that I want to give of my life to others, and I love doing it in the mundane tasks of daily life here at the Hogar. I love giving bedtime hugs and holding little hands as we go to do chores. I love having the older ones lean their heads on my shoulder as we watch a movie and laughing as we are sharing a joke. I love helping the girls in the kitchen as they prepare and serve food. I love celebrating birthdays and comforting those who are sad or hurt or sick. And I am grateful that God has brought me here right now to give and to receive love from these beautiful girls that He loves so much.


Enjoy these pictures from the past month. The first three are from our celebration of Day of the Child before Covid, and the last few are pictures from quarantine.


Celebratory bonfire with s'mores

About to start Minute to Win It games

Decorations and good food

Look at this quarantine sunset with a full moon!


Homemade finger paints

Blue banana bread = quarantine birthday cake; my helpers licked the bowl

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