HOGAR ¨ MI CASA ¨
This is where it all started.
Mi Casa opened its doors on August 25, 1976 in this rented house. The original idea had been to assist between 30 and 50 children.
The first trip to get acquainted with the Country and its authorities had been made in November of 1975. But, before arrangements could be made, a major earthquake hit the country killing more that 23,000 people. This coupled with the fact that Guatemala was in the middle of civil war that lasted 36 years, made the original estimates of 30 to 50 children “wishful thinking”.
By the time we were ready to move to where “Mi Casa” now operates, 173 children lived at our home.
Early on, within the first few months, it was determined that the children should be “home educated”. Many of our children, when they arrive, are overage for their grade level and they arrive constantly throughout the school year. This presented logistical problems registering them in outside schools. So, it made good sense to run our own school at home. Teachers were hired and soon the garage, dining room and a makeshift storage facility were converted into classrooms.
This original house in Zone 12 was a 4 bedroom, one bath facility with an ample patio (fortunately). The kids had to take turns in the dining room because it didn't fit all. Every corner had a function, just like a submarine.
The first four years of operation were crowded to say the least. Yet, the program remained operable and allowed us to set in motion what has now been running for 32 continuous years assisting more than 8,000 children.
Then, as now, the children were referred through social workers, churches, hospitals, the police, the army, and people that “find” them in the street. Some just knock on the front door on their own. They come to stay.
All those original children are now adults. Incredible; most especially when 4 and 5 years olds are still running through the halls of “Mi Casa” everyday.
In November of 1980 we got notice that a hospital that was originally built to care for children with polio and tuberculosis was ceasing operations. Through the Sociedad Protectora del Niño (Childrens Welfare Society), a private organization working with children, we were able to move our orphanage to where it still runs today, Zone 10 in Guatemala City.
The move was made on Thanksgiving Day, November 27, 1980. With the ampleness of the facility and the ability to help more children we had and still have a lot to be thankful for.