The children at Gotitas de Amor, a Cross-supported Christian daycare and kindergarten in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, broke into smiles and laughter when we walked in the door on a recent visit. These two- to five-year-olds were eager to share hugs, songs, and even a special little dance! I could tell immediately that these children receive lots of love and affection at Gotitas de Amor.
Soon the energetic boys and girls settled down in their seats as their teachers brought bowls of soup and plates of rice, potatoes, and chicken with sauce. After a prayer that was quite earnest for such little kids, they dove into the food, with lots of it ending up on their faces. No matter—loving teachers were there to help them and remind them of their table manners.
It’s no wonder they were hungry, because they had worked up an appetite in the classroom before lunch. In the morning, the children listen to Bible stories and learn about Jesus, their personal savior. For many newcomers, it’s the first time they’ve heard about the love Jesus had for children, the way he opened his arms to the poor, and his message of compassion and love. The staff said that what the children learn during devotions at Gotitas de Amor even inspires some parents to begin attending church! After devotions, they spend time doing classroom activities and assignments, like learning their ABCs, shapes, and colors.
Virtually all of the children at Gotitas de Amor daycare and kindergarten come from poor families, often with single or young parents. Most could never afford daytime child care, but Gotitas de Amor is an affordable option for poor families—and a Christian option at that! While mothers and fathers work during the day, Gotitas de Amor provides a safe, nurturing environment for their children to learn and grow. With the lunch provided by Cross and our generous benefactors, the children have a nutritious meal that wards off malnutrition.
After lunch, it was time for a nap. After playing with those children for a few hours, I was ready for a nap, too!