Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Wednesday, August 5, 2009 (Day 26):

Today was another crazy day! However crazy days equal fast days! When we got to the home this morning, we started working with the little ones. When I walked through the door, I was attacked by a little girl. She came running and jumped in my arms and starting singing the "Sapo, sapo" song. It's a song we've been singing about frogs this whole trip. All the little kids know it and love it! We then sang songs and Julie continued her creation story. After the story, the kids made little snakes. The snakes were like the little chains that elementary teachers have their students make and put into their classroom. I sat at a table with some little girls and helped them put their snakes together. These little girls were really good about not putting too much glue on the paper like all the other kids. They all liked to have me count to 10 for them. They would put a link together and say, "Cuenta!" All together we would count, "uno, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco, seis, siete, ocho, nueve, diez." The kids even got to put little eyes and tounges on their snakes. All of them were so proud of their snakes! It was precious! These little boys would walk up to me and say, "Mira!" Then they would want me to take a picture of them. After we finished with the craft, we had originally planned on shampooing the little boys and removing the lice from their heads, but the water was turned off. Apparently some new plumbing or pipes are being put in. I do know that Sodimac (like Lowe's or Home Depot) donated a lot of supplies today. They donated some toilets to be put in for the kids and then a bunch of chairs, dishes, trash cans, etc. Hopefully tomorrow we will be able de-lice the little boys.

After lunch we played with and helped feed the little babies. Then we went and sang songs with the older kids and then Julie continued the story of Esther. I went to help set up the craft. Today the kids made little cross necklaces from the colored beads we brought for salvation bracelets. Robyn, Meredith and I had set everything up. We had a necklace and beads set at each spot. While we were waiting for the older kids, I noticed some of the beads disappearing. Then, when the older kids came in, the beads disappeared altogether. It was amazing. It was like they swooped in and took off with everything as if they had never seen beads or string before. I had made a little friend while we were singing, Karina. She came up to me and had nothing, so I went and got stuff to help her make her necklace. I took all the beads out and I did not realize what was about to hit me. All of a sudden I was swarmed by all these little children. All these hands were reaching in wanting me to give them beads. I had a system down. I passed the beads out one color at a time. At times I wanted to pull my hair out because I was so stressed, but the peace of the Lord came over me and I remained calm. I helped numerous children make cross necklaces. It was funny because they would ask a translater how to say the colors in English and then come ask me for those colors. I didn't really have the heart to tell them that I know what the colors are in Spanish. Some of the older kids know some English and it is so cute to hear them say the words. I can tell they are so proud of themselves when they say a word in English. It's also funny because some will ask if you know a lot of English. It throws me off because I'm used to the question of how much Spanish I know.

Tonight we decided to treat ourselves to the fun restaurant, La Bistecca. We went there a while back and loved it! Got to eat a nice salad, pasta and desert covered in chocolate from the chocolate fountain!!

I can't believe tomorrow is our last day at the orphanage. I also can't believe that I'm leaving tomorrow night, or I guess I should say tonight since it is after midnight. This week has definitely been fast and furious! I'm excited to be coming home though!!

Thank you so much for your prayers and support! It is very much appreciated!!


Monday, August 3, 2009

Lice, Lice, Go Away

Tuesday, August 4, 2009 (Day 25):

Today was a fast and furious day! Once we got to the home, we hit the ground running! We started off the day working with the 4-6 year old boys and girls. Julie started telling the kids the creation story. For the craft, the kids made little suns with rays and they drew in a little book. For the rest of the week, we are going to have the kids draw about the different parts of the creation story. We were working in the little school building for the 4-6 year olds and it was scorching hot in there. The sun actually made an appearance for most of the day too!! Wow, 3 days in a row of sunshine...not sure what we are going to do with ourselves!

After we hurriedly worked with the kiddos, we began our next mission. This proved to be a much bigger task than anticipated. We started shampooing the little 4-6 year old girls down with shampoo to get rid of the lice. We put on our gloves and started dousing the little girls heads with the shampoo. We probably shampooed around 30 little girls. One of the adult workers was even helping as well as some of the teen girls. Some of the older girls were coming over and putting the shampoo in their own hair. It is so heartbreaking to see because I know these girls have to be miserable. I cannot even fathom what it feels like to have lice in your hair all the time. Some of the girls had huge scabs on their scalp from where they had scratched their head so much. I helped rinse the shampoo out of the girls hair. It was craziness! All the other girls combed the dead lice out. At first we were rinsing the girls hair out with the water hose and that was taking forever. I think it took an hour and a half to rinse out maybe 4 girls hair. The water hose kept going off and then other girls would try to jump in too. All of a sudden, I thought about the showers. Why couldn't the girls shower and rinse their hair? The girls loved the shower! They all got undressed and started showering and playing in the water. They were having so much fun!!! All the little girls were running around giggling. One of my favorite all time sounds to hear are children giggling and that is what I heard while I was helping the girls rinse the shampoo out of their hair in their shower area. I had to get Julie in there to help me because once some of the girls were finished, they wanted to stay and play. I had a hard time figuring out who was finished and who wasn't, so I needed Julie to tell the girls to go get dressed instead of playing. After many hours, we finally finished rinsing the girls hair out. Sadly we were not able to finish combing the girls hair out. We did leave the combs for the workers to use. It still breaks my heart knowing that the girls will probably get lice again. At least they will have a little break from all the itching. One of the little girls actually told us how good it felt to have us scrubbing on her scalp. Tomorrow it is the boys turn. Hopefully it won't take as long!

After we ate our really late lunch, the 5th and 6th grade boys and girls were waiting for us. We sang songs and then I gave my testimony. All of the kids seemed to be very attentive. Of course, Julie grabs their attention really easily with her animation. When I was telling the kids about Jeremiah 29:11, I noticed one of the little girls that brought her Bible with her was looking for the verse. That really touched my heart. While Julie was telling the continuation to the Esther story, the girl opened up her Bible to Esther and was looking at it. I could tell that that precious girl is eager to learn more about God and His Word. Since our time was limited, we just let the kids work on a craft. They made mosaics. I mostly tried to entertain the younger kids that had come in to join us.

Honestly, I'm not really sure where the time went today. It flew by!!!! I can't believe that I'll be boarding a plane in 48 hours to head back to the States. It's bittersweet. I'm so excited to be coming home, but I'm also sad to leave these kids. Little Isabella from last week is still on my mind. I really want to go back and just hold her. Heck, if I could, I'd bring her back with me to the States!

Oh yeah, I saw the moon again tonight. Random, but exciting because I haven't seen it the whole time I've been down here...except for last night!

Thank you so much for your prayers and support!

Te amo,

Forgot to tell you last night that we actually saw another sunset yesterday as the sun decided to peek out at the end of the day! When we were walking back from dinner, I just happened to look up and what did I see for the first time in a month, the moon and stars!!! The sky is nothing like the sky in Texas, but it was sure nice to see the moon and some stars!!

Week Numero Cuatro

Monday, August 3, 2009 (Day 24):

Today was somewhat chaotic, but fun! A little background information on this home: It was started by this man that was never able to have children of his own. He would pass by this orphan everyday and give him food. Everyday, the boy would ask for the man to take him home and everyday, the man said no. Finally, the man decided to take the boy home with him. He then came up with the idea to open an orphanage. This man has to have a heart of gold to just take in any and every child. The home has over 700 kids living there. Since it is privately funded, it is probably the most run down/poorest home we have visited. Kelli kept warning us about it so that we wouldn't be in complete shock when we got there. It was actually in a lot better shape than I was expecting. There was a home that we visited in Honduras that I think was worse and it didn't have near the number of children. After some long errands, we finally arrived at the home around 11:30. The 4-6 year olds were outside on the basketball court doing something with their teacher. We of course interrupted and all had children climbing on us. They were the most precious things. Boys and girls would just run and jump in your arms. I wanted to stay there and play with them for the rest of the day! One of the workers took us on a little tour and we got to see where the 4-6 year olds go to school. Apparently the roof fell in one of the rooms this week. We did not see that room, but just hearing about it made me think that this home really does need Extreme Makeover: Home Edition to come in and do some renovation. When we went into the school, the kids started singing some of the songs the team had taught them in June. It was so cute and cool to hear them singing the songs!

As has been the case this entire trip, we of course had to be flexible again today! Our original plans were to work with the 8-12 year old girls in the morning and then the 4-6 year old girls and boys in the afternoon. However, when we got there, we found out that the older girls go to school in the morning. So, we changed everything around and we'll be with the younger kids (4-6 year olds) in the mornings and the older girls (5th and 6th grade girls) in the afternoon.

After lunch, we went and played with the babies for a little while. There were about 20 babies to 1 adult. Lots of smelly diapers too. That poor woman definitely has her hands full with all those little ones running around. I blew bubbles for quite a while and had a little crowd surrounding me. One little boy decided to completely dominate the bubbles and kept the little stick to himself. I finally got Julie over there to tell him he needed to share. After I got the bubbles passed off to some little ones, a little 4 year old came up and latched herself to me. We played for a long time and she pointed out the colors on the wall and told me the colors in Spanish. I then told her the colors in English. When it was time for us to leave, she did not want to let me go. I told her that I would see her tomorrow and she let go and ran off..haha!

Now it was time for songs and the story with the 5th and 6th grade girls. So we thought. The boys were included too. Wow Lord, you must really want these boys to hear about Esther too!! During the story, I went and helped Kelli set up for the crafts. It is so cool how the Lord totally works little things out that we really don't think about. Today for the craft, the kids were decorating foam rectangles and writing the Bible verse. Just so happens that when we packed our craft bag last night, we had put the rest of the little foam stickers in and the last box consisted of sporty stickers. Perfect for little boys! We had a table for girls and a table for boys. After the first group finished, we noticed quite a few supplies were missing, such as glitter glue. Kelli informed me that we have to really watch out for the stuff because the kids steal at this home. Yes we are trying to get rid of everything, but we also need some of those supplies to last the rest of the week. The kids can take everything on Thursday. Fortunately, we don't need glitter glue anymore. Craft time was a little chaotic, but all in all, it was a great day!

Tomorrow we are going to de-lice the girls and boys. We've got our gloves and shampoo ready!!

On our way there this morning, I was praying that I wouldn't let the thought of lice, ringworm and filthiness get in the way of me loving on these children. The Lord provided!! I just hugged and loved on those kids today. I never thought twice about the fact they could be carrying lice. I could tell they really wanted to be hugged, picked up, and held. That is more important to me. Making sure they feel loved and they know God loves them. Another cool thing is that there were a bunch of the teenagers walking around and most of them stopped to say hello to us. Even though there are very few adults working at the home, the kids I encountered know how to be respectful. All the kids at the home seem very happy and joyful. Even though my Spanish is still bad, I still had little kids sitting next to me trying to carry on conversations. Honestly, this home may turn out to be one of my favorites on this trip. We'll just have to wait and see!

Thank you so much for your prayers and support!

In Him,

Side note: Everyone was making fun of me at the beginning of the trip for the amount of Wet Ones I brought and guess what?!? They are now thanking me. We are putting using those things to good use now. I kept telling them they hadn't just spent two weeks in Africa!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

I can see clearly now the clouds are gone....

Since we were out really late last night, this update will consist of yesterday and today!

Saturday, August 1, 2009 (Day 22):

Today we got to sleep in and it felt wonderful. My room is the room with the late sleepers and for that, I am thankful. We all slept until 11:00 a.m. Once we got up and moving, we went to eat some lunch at the mall and then headed out for some shopping. We walked to the market, but decided to take a taxi back..we bought a lot of stuff! Peru has some pretty cool stuff at their market. There were Alpaca blankets and scarfs, black and white pottery, brightly colored purses and crosses. This market was probably the nicest market I have ever been to. It was very organized and clean. I liked that the little shop owners didn't bug you all the time. If you walked in, they would speak to you, but they would not hound you and guilt you into buying something. In Uganda, I felt bad if I kept walking and someone from a shop was talking to me. I hate when people pressure you like that. I'm not very good at bartering. I feel guilty, so I don't really do it. That's why I take people with me to do it. When we were in Cusco, I would look at something and they would give me a price. Then I'd put it down and they would bring down the price, so I never really had to convince them. It was kind of the same way at this market in Lima. All of them would say, " # soles just for you." I ended up getting some pretty good deals on some cool stuff. I'm really thankful for my carry on suitcase too! I'm going to place all of the breakables in that so that TSA won't rummage through, take off all of the padding and break my stuff. When I got home from Uganda, TSA had taken the padding off some of my breakables in my suitcase. Luckily nothing broke. If it had, I would have been one angry girl!

After dinner, we went dancing! The place we went is very unique. They have people come out and do traditional Peruvian dances from different regions of the country. Then, all the guests at the restaurant go out onto the dance floor and dance for a while. We would join in. It was so packed, so we mostly just did danced in one place. We were definitely not dancing like the professionals. On our way home, we piled six girls into the backseat of a taxi. I know, real safe huh? It was better than on our way there. Robyn and Emily sat in the very back of the taxi with the gas tank between them. Drivers are crazy here and I think they thought we were going to be rear-ended a few times. Thank goodness we were not! We finally got home around 2:30 a.m. Basically got ready for bed and crashed.

It was a great day off! I enjoyed shopping and hanging out with the girls! We were all talking about how we just met 3 weeks ago, but we feel like we have all known each other forever! We have all definitely formed strong bonds. Thankfully, we will all be in the state of Texas and we can all visit each other when we get back!

Sunday, August 2, 2009 (Day 23):

Since Kelli has been sick and we were out late last night, we slept in again this morning. We were going to have church through another Podcast, but we got back late tonight. Please forgive us Lord!

Today we got up a little earlier than yesterday. I went to pull the curtains back and lo and behold, I saw blue sky! Seriously, I almost started crying I was so happy. I know, that sounds very strange and wierd, but we have seriously only seen the sun in Lima maybe 3 times and that was for only about 10-15 minutes each time. When we have seen the sun, we haven't really seen blue sky, so the fact that there was a blue sky was huge!!! I noticed the clouds moving away and the sun coming out. I could actually see down the street from my hotel window and see the Pacific Ocean. It was a beautiful blue color! All of us girls were so excited!! To make it all better, the sun stayed out for most of the day!!!!! We all went for a walk just to take in the sun. Even realized on that walk that I should have pulled out my sunglasses. I had forgotten about those bad boys. Everyone and their dog was out too! I mean that literally! Last week I had a dream that the sun had come out and we were all in such shock that we were taking pictures of the sun and sky. Basically, my dream came true! I admit, I immediately grabbed my camera to take pictures of the sky! After lunch, we bought tickets to go see "The Proposal." We were so excited because it was in English with Spanish subtitles. Some of us had already seen the movie, but we were happy to see it again! When the movie was over, we actually saw somewhat of a sunset! The clouds had sadly returned, but we could still see an orange circle. After dinner, we went to this fountain park. It was so cool! There were different color lights shining on the fountains and music playing. I was really impressed! Robyn and I got in this one fountain that shoots up every once in a while. You can walk through it and get wet if you want, or you can stand in the area where the water doesn't shoot up and stay semi dry. We did it just to say we did! We stayed pretty dry. Mostly got wet from the little munchkins running around through the water.

This week we will be at the home with 700+ children. The kids have lice and will be very dirty. Pray that we don't let that get in the way of loving on these kids!

Pray for strength and health through this last week. Thank you so much for your prayers and support!


Friday, July 31, 2009

Friday, July 31,2009 (Day 21):

I cannot believe I have been in Peru for 3 weeks already! The past couple of weeks have flown by!!

We started off the day a little rough. A couple of team members were down due to illness. Kelli got sick yesterday while we were at the home and Robyn got sick during the night. We sat around and waited for the doctor to come this morning, but Allie, Emily, Meredith and I left around 11 to head to the home and finish cleaning the rooms we painted yesterday. Julie joined us after the doctor stopped by. When we got to the home, we went into the auditorium and started watching the girls dance. Come to find out, the dances were a surprise for us. So we left and started cleaning the floors. We accidentally dropped paint on the floor and baseboards, so we had to try to scrub it off. Fortunately, we were able to get most of the paint up. We then started moving the furniture back into the rooms. While we were cleaning, Juanita came and found me and wanted me to watch Isabella for her. Of course I gladly accepted! I took Isabella outside and we played with some of the other kids. This one boy, Jesus was picking up crayons and telling me the colors in Spanish. He was so precious! The twins were in their typical playful mode. Their mother Yolanda has had a rough life, but she is a very strong woman for it. Allie was asking her today if she wanted anymore children and she firmly said, "NO." With her two boys, I wouldn't want anymore either. They are cute, but definitely a handful! Yolanda and her boys have the same father. She has been living at the home since she was 13. She is now 18. With the new changes, she is going to be let out onto the street and that really worries her. Julie got a chance to talk with her and she asked Julie, "I know God has a plan and it is good, but why am I in this situation?" Julie told her she doesn't know, but knows God has a good plan and that Yolanda needs to pray about it. Sure enough, Yolanda told Julie that she talked to God and that she has a peace about everything now. Now, our prayer for her is for comfort in facing the streets and that a family from the States will be able to get Yolanda and her boys to America. This family came down with a church group and fell in love with Yolanda and her boys. They really wanted to adopt her, but found out that they can't because she is over 16. Now the family is looking into getting Yolanda over on a student visa. Hopefully everything will work out for her. She is a really sweet and mature girl.

After lunch, we hung out with the girls for a bit. One of the girls made a comment about how I am quiet and delicate. I know I'm quiet, but I've never been told that I'm delicate. I told her my Spanish is not very good, so that makes me even more quiet. Then she said that all the other girls didn't speak very good Spanish, but they still talked. Ouch...I felt bad for not really forming strong bonds with the girls, but I was always on baby duty. I was never really with the girls. Even though I was feeling bad at that moment, the afternoon got much better. We decided to show the girls "Cheaper by the Dozen." We thought the movie had a decent message and would provide some good laughs for the girls. Before we started watching the movie, a few of the girls were asking me questions and I could actually understand them! I was chatting with a few and they were asking me how to say a bunch of words in English. It was so fun listening to them trying to talk in English. They loved learning the words. Once we started the movie, it was so cool listening to the girls laugh. They would ask us if we wanted 12 kids to which we all replied, "NO!" As the movie went on, Isabella was getting squirmy and Juanita passed her off to Julie. Julie then passed her off to me. Earlier this week, Robyn taught Isabella "beso." When you tell Isabella, "beso," she will give you a kiss on the cheek. Julie was taking pictures and Isabella bit my cheek instead of kissing it..haha! It didn't leave any marks or anything, it was just funny. After the movie was over, the girls performed some dances for us and then grabbed us to join them. Honestly, today was probably the most fun I have had this week. The girls loved dancing and they were so proud to show us the dances. They wanted us to know how thankful they were for us and how much they love us. Once we started saying good-bye, it was really hard. They did not want us to leave and told us they were going to miss us so much. Several girls asked me to take photos of them and then email them to them. I just wish I had gotten to know the girls a little better, but I know taking care of their kids so they could enjoy some time to themselves was also an important duty.

Tomorrow is Saturday and we get to sleep in!!! YEA!!! We are going to the market to go shopping and to a dance show tomorrow night. We'll see how this all goes!!

Muchas gracias for your prayers and support!

Te quiero,

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thursday, July 30, 2009 (Day 20):

When we got to the home today, we were greeted by some of the girls with their babies. The nursery workers were back from their holiday break, so it was nice to have them around. We thought we were going to be able to hang out with just the girls, but Isabella's mom came up and asked if I'd watch her for the day. That made me feel so special. Isabella is definitely my little buddy. I just love playing and hanging out with her. We also call her "Pelo" because of all of her hair. It's wild and crazy, but she is oh so cute!!! Isabella even fell asleep while I was holding her today. A few of us hung out with all of the babies while Julie told the story and the girls worked on their crafts. Julie finished the story of Esther and the girls made bracelets and earrings with beads. I wasn't really in the craft room at all today, but when I did walk in there briefly, I could tell the girls were really enjoying their activity. I can tell the moms love the fact that we watch their babies for them and give them a break. Just like when Juanita, Isabella's mom, walked up and immediately wanted us to take her. I know Juanita loves her child, but she is also 13 and wants to still be a little girl. I still can't fathom what these girls are going through. Each day when they look at their child, it is a reminder of what horrific event happened to them. It breaks my heart knowing that all these babies came from their mothers being raped. It finally ocurred to me why some of the mothers don't want to have anything to do with their kids. One, they are young teens and want to enjoy life like normal young teens and two, they are constantly reminded of an event that they would really like to forget. Don't get me wrong, some of the mothers are great mothers and really take care and love on their kids like most mothers do. To show the immaturity of some, I'll share an example from the other day. One of the little girls, Sandy, fell off her mother's bed that morning and bumped her head. The nurse at the home told her mom, Mary Cruz, to make sure Sandy did not sleep for two hours. Meredith was holding little Sandy during Mass and all of a sudden, Sandy went to sleep. Meredith started moving her around in an attempt to wake her up. She then got up and ran outside in a panic. Sandy's mom just sat there and started giggling. Later, when she realized that Meredith was really worried, she became worried. Today, Mary Cruz left her friend Flora to watch Sandy. Mary Cruz claims to have swine flu. Sadly, she really doesn't want to have anything to do with Sandy.

After lunch, we began painting their rooms. We painted two walls purple in each room and two walls pink. The rooms looked so much better and the girls loved them! They were so excited. Even the twin boys said, "muy bonita!" We sure did make a mess though! I got paint all over my hands and clothes! Tomorrow we are going to look for some curtains to hang in their rooms. Kelli saw a curtain shop just down the street from the home. The girls really want to hang out and watch a movie, so we are going to watch "Cheaper by the Dozen" and eat popcorn tomorrow afternoon!

Julie told us that after the girls gave their testimonies and she told the story, she began sharing the Gospel with them. She said four of them raised their hands saying they wanted to have a relationship with Christ!

I'm heading back to the States in a week!! I cannot thank you enough for your prayers and support!


P.S. Andrea, the girl I talked about the other day, has had a huge smile on her face the past two days!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wednesday, July 29, 2009 (Day 19):

We started off today posing as workers from Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. The new director at the home asked us if we would paint some of the bedrooms. We cleared out all of the furniture and started cleaning up the rooms a bit. Then we used sandpaper to scrape the glossy surface off the walls and taped off the baseboards. The sandpaper gave us quite an arm workout and caused quite a mess. Our group of 8 split up into two different rooms, so we got a lot knocked out during the morning. While we were eating lunch, our driver, Henry, painted the ceiling and primed one of the rooms. He worked so hard! We all discussed how cool it would be if Extreme Makeover actually came in and redid their rooms. We would like to get them some curtains, paintings, lamps, and fun girlie things for their rooms.

After lunch, we did our program with the girls. I helped watch the babies all afternoon. The girls went and listened to a continuation of Esther and made mosaics for their craft. I got to spend most of the afternoon with my little friend Isabella. She is a handful, but so much fun. I didn't know she was attached to me until Julie came over and picked her up and she immediately turned around and reached for me. At one point while all the girls were listening to the story, most of the babies were crying. Wow..craziness! Three of us were trying our hardest to calm them all down. I enjoy watching and playing with the babies, but I wish they had more toys to play with. There are very few things for them to play with and the mobile babies get into everything. They also put everything in their mouth. It would be nice for them to have some teething rings and blocks to play with instead of rocks.

Today was a good day, just very exhausting. Tomorrow we will paint the rooms pink and purple!

Thank you all for your prayers and support!!

God Bless!