While in Ensenada we met Andrea, who works closely with some of the orphanages in and around Ensenada. She took us to an orphanage called Rancho de Los Niños, located about a half hour outside of downtown Ensenada. In order to get there you need to drive an hour from Ensenada, through Ensenada’s popular winery region.
Rancho de Los Niños has been around for about 75 years but was officially licensed by the Mexican government in 1968 and is about to celebrate its fiftieth anniversary next year. The orphanage currently cares for approximately 80 children from the ages of about three to seventeen. The children have sometimes been abused and neglected and some have special needs. The orphanage is on a large plot of land, with separate living space for young children, teenage boys, teenage girls, as well as for special needs and disabled children. It was bright, colorful, had a garden, a playground, dogs, livestock, a stage for shows, and a general aura of happiness.
When we first arrived we were introduced to three girls named, Alondra, Fernanda, and Lupita, the youngest of the three. Even though they were young and shy, they were happy to discuss the community they lived in. Though very camera shy, when we told them we wanted their help painting a representation of their community, they lit up. We broke out our paints and canvass board, and some of the boys playing nearby joined the girls to help paint a picture of their community. Everybody had fun and it turned out great! Chatting with the children as they painted, we found that some had been there a few years, and one quiet boy just a week or two. It was nice to see the other children welcome him so quickly and tell us that he was a part of their community as well.
We talked with some of the staff and got to interview them as well. One conversation was with the director, Jorge Fonseca, who jokingly told us he had been the director for twenty-five years. He laughed and said of course he’s not that old, he’s been the director for just a few years. But after talking to him a bit longer, we found that his answer was truthful in a way. Jorge was raised at the orphanage from the age of two, where he met his future wife, was given enough education and head start to leave and attend university, and ultimately came back to be the director of the facility.
Jorge was incredibly grateful for the opportunities he had because the orphanage helped provide a safe home and community, as well as an the chance to attend school in the nearby village. When we asked if everything was going well in the orphanage, he said they got by, that they had more children than they probably should try to care for, but they found it impossible to turn any away. We asked what they could use for assistance, and without hesitating he responded “school supplies.” Jorge simply wants the children there to have the opportunity that he had, to attend school and become educated. If you would like to help raise money for school supplies for the orphanage, please visit our fundraiser Here on YouCaring.com.