Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Hi Family and Friends,

Weeks are flying by here and it feels as though time is going by so fast, although every day is basically the same in routine. We wake up and try to be eating breakfast by 6:40. We cook in a communal kitchen in the building that we are staying in. It’s called El Hotel and is made up of three bedrooms connected by an outdoor porch and then a kitchen. Whoever is passing through (normally short term visitors) are placed in the hotel with us, so we have met a wonderful variety people.

I homeschool Joey, Guy and Elena from 7-9am and Joe goes to work. At 9ish the kids and I head out to the toddler house which is about ½ mile or so away. We are assigned this house this year, it has about 30 or so tots and 10 or so moms plus 8 teenage helpers.

When we get there we first go into this large caged area called the Chosa.  It is a large room with a bathroom that is built off the ground and caged in. We sit there with thirty or so toddlers and I promise someone is crying all. The. Time. Joey and Guy give piggy back rides and Elena plays with blocks and I normally have one kiddo on my lap and one on my neck and one on my back and one trying to take off my watch and one looking for lice in my hair and one taking off my shoes and one crying on my leg. Welcome to the toddler house. All kiddos are between the ages of 2 and 4 and they are exactly like every other 2 or 4 year old that I have ever met. Except that they have needs that are BIG and a limited number of big people to help meet their needs. So they are even stronger and louder and more aggressive and simultaneously very selfish, yet very protective of their friends. They are sweet and kind. They are manipulative and then honest and cry and laugh. It’s all I can do to keep some steady emotions for myself while we help change their diapers, pull them off of each other, rock them when they cry and chase them down when they are throwing toys.

Part of toddler playground. Chosa in the background

Inside the Chosa

Although we are surprised to be in this house this year (last year we were with the little girls) it turns out that this is a wonderful place for us to be. This house is full of energy and Joey and Guy are old enough that they can actually help! And so they do. They hold hands and engage the kids and race around playgrounds and generally have a fun time. And when a kid throws a block at their head they are big enough to go over and tell them to STOP with a menacing look and the young tots actually listen. So that’s good. Elena is old enough this year to make some friends with other four year olds. She has her own spirited streak and that has served her quite well as she is quick to run and take back a toy and join in a game and voice her own needs.

After being in this large caged area for about an hour and when every toddler has hit each other at least once, we either go on a long walk to the farm or out on the toddler playground. Opening the door is like releasing bumblebees. The swarm dissipates into the play area and I am reminded everyday why children NEED the great outdoors.

At about 11:30ish we walk about ½ mile to the comedor and here the toddlers (and Joey Guy and Elena) join 400 other children for lunch. I spend this time picking the slowest eaters of the day and helping them finish the food in their bowls. This is a time consuming task and one of my most precious in the day. I convince many to open their mouths and eat just one more bite (or twelve more bites). They sometimes refuse. Or crawl under the table. Or open up their mouth that is already filled and won’t swallow. Sometimes they just want to take their time and look around. Some are sleepy. I refocus and refill and remind them to chew and swallow and I pray that each one will be filled in their spirit too. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled. I pray they will know Jesus as one who satisfies. But then, someone throws up, and Jesus cares about this too. We know this because we know he cares for the whole being of all these little beings. All these little lives that shuffle back out of the comedor at 11:50 and head down for a nap.

From 12-2:00 I have Joey, Guy, Elena and Jesá˝»s. We spend this time together as a family and finish up any leftover school projects or play on the playground or clean our house and the kitchen. This time in the heat of the day for us has been a nice break for us. At 2:00 ish we head back down the toddler house where they are just waking up and we play and wrestle and monitor and listen and learn.
3:30 is back up to the comedor for dinner. And we repeat all that was just done. (Story of parenthood.) We then go back to the house for showertime/bedtime. Joe takes our kids back home and I had on down to the toddlers.

Here I am assigned to the big boys room of four year old boys and I shower and brush the teeth of Noe, Yefry, Christian and Jesus. Sometimes Jefferson and Jose are there too, but they both have moms at the orphanage and so they arrive later in the evening. This is my favorite time and the sweetest time.  Four boys in the shower is quite the sight and there is lots of screaming and laughing and wrestling of course. We wrangle them into towels and then I wrap them up like babies and swing them around the room. Even the toughest love this game and they close their eyes and beg for more. "Soy bebe!" they yell and laugh. Then I kiss each sweet little wet face and help with jammies.
Jesus, Noe and Christian

Sometimes we read, sometimes we color, sometimes we just sit and I talk with Anna, a young woman who grew up here who now is in charge of this room. Or Suyappa, who is the mother of Christian. We laugh at my Spanish and I lay down on the floor while the boys jump and climb on me. I am mostly out of energy at this point. But of course, the boys have endless and I praise God that they are healthy and strong and well. When my back starts to hurt or 5:00 , whichever comes first, I kiss each on the head and then walk the way back to my family.


I love this walk. It is dusty and finally a bit cooler and the mountains are gorgeous and it is quiet. Elena greets me running where Joey and Guy and herself are normally playing outside in the ant covered ‘grass’. I shower kiddos and Joe makes dinner and we eat and play uno and then collapse them into bed around 7. Joey sometimes reads but Guy and Elena are asleep the second their head hits the pillow. Joe studies Spanish for a bit and I lay around thinking about studying Spanish… but most nights don’t.  We read and talk then set the alarms and listen to the wild dogs and noises of town before we go to sleep.

And that is how our days go! 

Much love to you and we hope you are staying warm and having fun in all that SNOW!


No comments:

Post a Comment