I deleted my “This Week’s Hero” blog because I never wrote in it. Maybe that was silly, but oh well, it’s done now. But I wanted to write just a bit about one of my favorite people in the entire world, Rex, the founder of OSSO. I first met Rex via the phone before I applied to their program, because my dad was so freaked out about me going somewhere with some program that he knew nothing about. I first met Rex in person in Cuenca, and I will always remember the first stories he told me. I think to start a foundation it’s probably safe to say you need a desire to help, and a good heart. I also think its fair to say that Rex’s heart is not just good, it’s amazing and huge. After adopting one of his sons, Rex felt like he couldn’t stand for any other kids like his son to ever be without. And so he started looking. I think for about 10 years he looked all over the world, trying to find a good place to do some work for the kids of the world. And then one day he managed to find Cuenca. He visited the girls orphanage in town, and fell in love with all the girls from the first minute he walked in, and knew he had found his place. That was about 10 years ago. I was here before 4 years ago.
I want to tell you about Rex and OSSO now. Since I have been here this time (about 5 months) this is what has happened: OSSO has opened a new orphanage, integrating babies and special kids from another orphanage, and later this month will take on a whole other orphange of special kids. There have been 4 kids adopted to families that were in one way or another connected to the program, and more in the works. And the program has grown better since I was here in 2004. The volunteers do more, they teach more, they possibly even love more (ok, maybe not, I think all of the volunteers love the kids infinity much). And then there is Rex. Rex continues to work part-time to support his family (and probably OSSO too) and the rest of the time spends on OSSO. He makes several trips a year to come visit, see how things are going, and to spend time with the kids he loves and cares for. And when he is at home he spend countless hours fundraising. I have never known someone who fundraises with such love. I cannot imagine the responsibility he has, the pressure he must have to fundraise, to make sure that his kids have enough.
I have been lucky to visit with Rex on several occasions. Not only when I lived here, but visiting other times our trips have coincided. He has always greeted with me with the biggest hug, the biggest smile, and made me feel important. When I see him interact with the kids, they adore him. Especially the girls at the girls house. He is like their dad, their big teddy bear, and their friend. I am not doing a great job of telling you how great Rex is, and I know he’ll never read this, but I only felt it fair to express how I feel. Some people say they want to change the world, and some people do it. Rex gives me hope that one person really can change the world, because he has and still is.
And what’s better? I get to have lunch with him and some of the girls who used to be at the girls house tomorrow. My life is good.