Lindsay: House Visits

I began the long awaited house visits this week along with two other social work students from one of the universities in Quito who are working in Circulo Infantil (the children’s department). Most of the children live close to Tres Manuelas, allowing us to walk to all the visits. Without Google maps, and often an actual address, I am thankful that I have two native Spanish speakers to wander the neighborhoods with asking for a certain señor or señora. Our supervisor has started us out with visits to the children’s families she had the most concern. There has not been a single child who did not share a bed with at least one other person. In just the few visits we have done, two of the children’s families lived in a single room with six or more people. I really believe that possessions do not create happiness or make people better, but for these kids it is an issue of space and safety. For example, if a single mom has a different father for all of her children, and they come to visit whenever they feel like it in their single bedroom, there is an increased risk for the kids to be abused. If six people are sharing a room, space is obviously limited, and I understand why they would much rather choose to come to Tres Manuelas to work on homework after school than to go home. I also understand why we have had problems of parents saying their kids have not been coming home right after Circulo Infantil and linger around the neighborhood playing. The living conditions itself are not surprising to me, but what is surprising is that all of the students living with so many immediate needs, rather than just a few of them. My supervisor has been eager to begin the house visits so that we can find the exact needs of each family, and begin with the fantastic social worker effort of connecting the families with available resources.

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