Yesterday, seven-year-old Daniel walked outside with a big box. He set the box on a bench and called out to Victor, “¡Papá! Will you play this game with me?”
Victor is the house dad at Vida Joven de México in Tijuana. Victor has worked at the orphanage for almost eight years. He works full-time, Mondays-Fridays, assisting the executive director Sylvia with administrative issues and serving as an academic tutor for the children. And of course, like any parent, Victor wears several other hats.
Early each weekday morning, Victor walks our elementary-aged children to school. When he returns to the orphanage, he attends to whatever household tasks Sylvia has laid out for him. Some days he works on reports required by the schools or social services. Other days Victor takes care of the grocery shopping, or he might take a sick child to the Red Cross (a nearby clinic).
In the early afternoon, Victor walks back to the school to meet the children and accompany them home. After the kids have eaten lunch, he makes sure all of the boys brush their teeth. (A house mom makes sure that all of the girls brush their teeth.)
Then it’s homework time! Victor oversees the homework of 6-8 children. Sometimes homework takes an hour. More often it takes two or three hours. When there’s no school, or when the kids finish homework early, Victor will play jumprope or another game with the children.
So what did Victor do yesterday when Daniel asked him to play a game?
Our wonderful house dad went inside and saved the Excel spreadsheet he’d been working on. Then Victor went outside and sat on the pavement with Daniel. Soon the other little boys joined them. Together Victor and the boys built a maze for marbles to race through. As I was said my goodbyes to everyone, Victor pointed to the game and said, “This is really fun!”
How grateful we are for you, Victor. Happy belated Father’s Day. And happy every day.