The orphanage was where I spent the majority of my time in Oaxaca. The reason was twofold- one being Manuel of course but the other being the ethos behind the Casa. Coco runs the orphanage to care for mother's that work at night and as such cannot care for their children. A lot of these women are prostitutes who have to return to work shortly after the baby is born. Other's are simply single mother's who need to work in order to survive and had no where to keep their kids, and some of the children have been surrendered to Coco as the parent could not care for them or has passed away. Coco worked for 27 years running a restaurant and has 3 grown sons of her own. She simply saw the need for these kids to be looked after and having started with 3 in her care now has 57 and told me she always has room for more kids in need. The stories behind the big beautiful brown eyes of some of these kids pretty much tore my heart in two but had I not been told I never would have thought that any of them has any sort of horrible past as they were all so healthy, happy and loved. The children range in age from 6 months to 17 years old and the kindness shown by the kids to one another was humbling making it truly the warmest most inviting home I have ever been in, anywhere in the world.
The Casa is entirely funded by donation and I'll be using an upcoming spot in a group show to raise some money for this incredible place.