Monday, March 1, 2010

Return to Hogar de Esperanza

I get to see all of the wonderful children in just two weeks!!! Words can not express how excited I am to see all of the smiling faces and hear all about the past year of events.

I can not believe a year has passed since I left Hogar. When I returned home, the first few months were terrible.I love my family and friends, but I was homesick for the children and for my amazing friends. I missed the way of life and was sickend by the ammount of clothes in my closet, how we (norte americanos) live life in general.

I missed the unexpected hugs of my kids. The second family I had to leave behind.

Now, I get to bo back!! I will be in Peru March 18th-31st.
Here is the run down...

I leave JFK 3/18 5am
arive in Cajamarca 3/19 7:30am
I get to see Nikki!!!
Jess, Angela, Sam, David, Jose, and I get to do some serious catching up!!
Nikki and Whilly's wedding!! 3/21
Leave for Chiclyo 3/21?
Sleep over @ Sam's very own first Peruvian apt!
Angela, Jess and I leave for Trujillo! 3/22 5am
ARRIVE IN TRUJILLO 3/22!!!!!!!!!!!

The rest of the time??? Spending as much time as possible with the kids. I plan on lost of swing pushing, beso/brazo races (running after the kids as they run away laughing, catching them and giveing them lots of hugs and kisses). Figuring out this sewing machine, having a girls makeover night, boys movie night, and anything else that comes my way!!

See you in a few days familia!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Since I have been back.

I have been home for about two weeks now. It was fantastic to see all of my family and friends. All of them came to Connecticut Saturday to give me a surprise party to welcome me home. It was very sweet and made me feel very loved. It is good to be home with all of them. Still, I am having a hard time. It feels as though I never left. Everything is the same, for the most part. I expected to wake up my first morning and not know where I was. Instead, I woke up in a daze and for a brief moment wondered if it had all been a dream.

But then I remembered so many moments forever in my heart. The little arms wrapping around me in the tightest hugs. Sticky, slimy kisses all over my check. The little voices calling me. I miss my Peruvian family something terrible. I miss the children who have captured my heart. I miss the Madres and workers who give their all for the children. I miss the volunteers who love them all so dearly, I miss my friends with whom I have amazing memories. I miss the church I attended.... even though I could only understand the service when one person spoke. I miss going to bed tired, waking up tired, but still ready for the day and anything that would come my way. I miss being a part of the children's lives. I want nothing more right now than to enter through those doors, run across the field and scoop Jhonathan Grande up in my arms. To run to the swings and throw Hadye over my shoulders. To hear Edwin's beautiful voice calling me "Tia Wawa!" as he runs to give me a hug and be picked up.

I want them to know how much I love them. That I will never forget them and that I will be back.

December can not come soon enough.

I love you so, so much.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

And at the end, you think about the begining

I can't believe six months are coming to a close. I am sad to think about leaving my friends here, and overjoyed to see my family back home. At the same time, home is not going to feel the same. Not having 47 children running about, not having Angela in the next room to share thoughts and feelings with late into the night, like the sister I never had, not living with ten crazy volunteers, it's going to take a while to get use to that.

When I first got here, I was homesick. Now that I am going home all I can think about is how much I am going to miss this place. Hogar de Esperanza has become my home. It's workers and children, my friends in Salavarry have become my second family. I am already thinking about visiting for two weeks over my December break from College. I really hope it works out.

During my time here I have seen children come and go. I have gotten to know some of their broken hearts and helped best where I could. I have witnessed healing and seen families reunited. Teenage girls have turned their hearts to Christ. A young boy has become softer and less violent with his friends and with us. He smiles more. A child received the health care and glasses he needed. Some Children have been blessed with the gift of schooling for the first time. A teenage girl discovered she could act, she's great at it. Haircuts have been given, cakes have been made and band aids have been given out like stickers.

Did I make a difference in the life of a child by being here? Nothing as dramatic that they would tell their kids about, that's for sure. But, I hope that every torn piece of clothing I fixed, and every game we played at least let them feel more like a kid for a time and less like the little adults some of them have had to be. I hope that by us being here, the kids get to see the love of Jesus. I hope they know that I love them so much, because He first loved me.

I will never forget the smiling faces and sticky hands of these precious little ones. They will forever by in my heart. I look forward to seeing them again either in this world or after.

Friday, February 6, 2009

With all the taxis in Peru...

Picture a Peruvian, soft-spoken grandfather. His name is George and he drives a taxi. One of the many yellow taxis bustling about downtown. Tonight I met George. Fiona, Jesselyn and I were heading back to the albergue making smalltalk with our driver.

George asks us the usual. "Where are you from? What do you do? Do you like Peru?" "Are you Christians?" We tell him yes. And ask if he is as well. George replies with a noticeably sadder tone, "a little." How can you be a little Christian? We ask. George explains; "when you sin, Jesus can not live in your heart. He leaves you. When you do something bad, Jesus can not come back. I can not go to Heaven."

All the missionaries in Trujillo, Peru and our poor friend (who is desperately in need of counsel) receives three girls with beginning Spanish?

We tell George that Jesus will never leave your heart as long as you want him. Believe in him. He asks "What if you kill someone?"

He does not leave if you sin. If you are sorry with all your heart for the sin you have committed you can ask God to forgive you, and he will. And you need to not hurt someone again. Do this and you can still go to Heaven.

We ask George if we can pray with him. When we reach our destination, we took turns praying for George and his walk with God. We prayed for the problems in his life and for him to feel the love of Jesus. Then our new friend prayed for us. He prayed that the spirit would continue to grow in us. He thanked God for bringing us to his taxi. When we left, George repeated our names with tears in his eyes. He said it was important for him to remember the names of his friends, for when he sees us again in Heaven. I shook his hand and said I hope God will bless him.

What a ride.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Actividades en el Biohuerto

Thursday we noticed a pumpkin growing in our garden!! Fiona and I are VERY excited. I ran around like a maniac telling all the children, madres, workers and volunteers. I believe the children think I am off my rocker. I know the adults do!

It is SO important that we get the kids to really invest in biohuerto (garden). Now, it is more of a chore they don't care for rather than a fun group work hour to bond us together. We have tried singing songs, playing garden appropriate games, discipline. I have even had a moment of weakness where I could not help but squirt them with the hose. Nothing seems to change the hum-drum attitude of the ninos towards our work.

So Thursday, I ran around like a maniac, loco gringa. I was singing the songs of this tiny pumpkin as if it one the mammoth contest blue ribbon in the Durham Fair. I praised God as if it could feed us all in it's tiny, green state. Yup. I made a fool of myself. In hopes to instill the importance of our garden project and the fun that it can be.

And the kids? They picked up buckets, filled them with water and helped water the other plants so that we could grow more pumpkins. They picked the bad plants, so that the good will grow stronger. Those with attention to more detail..... well, they sat at a mound and tried to kill every ant in sight. It was glorious. Some of the boys wanted pictures taken with the new discovery.

I have moments of near insanity over simple things. But I am not totally crazy. No, our first pumpkin will not feed us all. However, I praise God all the more, It feed our hearts and brought us together with much joy for one day. It fed my soul for want of whats to come.

Next step... Finding some semi-permanent shade.
oh.... and don't forget the tea I plan on making for the plants. A delicious mix of cuy (that's guinea pig) droppings and crushed mint leaves. Droppings for fertilizer and the mint to chase away the bugs. Yummmy!!

, Mi dolor...
Te te querio mucho!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

New Arrival & Bedtime Prayers

Children never fail to make me smile. The way their minds are always traveling at warp speed is endearing. Yesterday my flip flop broke and one of the children, Abraham, proceeded to fix it by shoving a rusty nail through the bottom. He was so proud that he was able to fix it. I gave him big thanks and wore it...very carefully...for the rest of the day and picked up some new ones last night. Somehow A Tetanus shot, in Peru, is not on my top 10 list of things to do. I did read in my Spanish Phrase book last night how to ask a doctor to use a new syringe. That's good to know...

Friday 8am-Saturday 8am I watched the Chispas for Hilda. It was my first overnight in a house and I was to say the least very nervous. Turns out it was all for no reason. The girls were fantastic and all listened very well. the occasional teenage attitude and some "sibling" rivalry for attention but nothing out of the norm. We all had a fantastic time and the language barrier seemed almost non-existent. We played some games together during the day, listened to some music, did a little silly dancing. The older children enjoyed a Field trip up the sand dunes with some volunteers while the little ones played on the playground.

Bath time was lots of fun as always. I helped Zu-Zu and Erika shower and Angela helped to get them dressed while I kept the peace and showers going quick with the other girls. I ended up soaked.... as always. I miss tubs.

Meal times were great and the older girls were a big help. Zu-Zu has really warmed up to me and seems to LOVE being in the Chispas house. The girls in the Luces are to rough with the young children. Zu-Zu is a very bright girl and I think she will do very well. Angela and Sarah both gave me a break to eat and shower.

Bedtime went as smooth as it can with so many girls. I enjoy praying with the children and they get a great kick out of me praying in Spanish. When we were finished Nayeli said "Tia!! Muy Bien!" Aunt!! Very good! It was very cute. When I said prayers with Zu-Zu and Erika, I would say something, pause, and Erika would repeat my words and then wait for me to say more. After I said Amen she added something else that I could not understand, she said it very fast and then said Amen. Adorable!

Last night we received a newborn. Her name is Guadalupe and she is tiny! Only two days old. Such a beautiful baby with such a sad beginning. Her mother is thirty years old and lives in a nearby town. She was rapped and came to Trujillo to have and leave the baby. How such a perfect child and such a beautiful gift from God can come from a moment of such suffering, I can not understand. The little one is so sweet mannered, I pray she finds all the love due her. I know she has found much here. Before she arrived the volunteers raced around getting everything ready for her arrival. We reminded me of what it must have been like before father's were allowed in the delivery room. We kept asking each other "Is she here yet??!" She will only be here for a week because the orphanage can not take in children under two years old. I am sure this will be a learning experience for all of us.

Last night I realized I have only 10 weeks left in Peru. I am looking forward to the next chapter of my life but I am going to be very sad to see this one come to an end. I look forward to visits in the future and have decided to study Spanish more and find a job in the states that will involve working with at risk children. Where? Well that's up to God to show me the right direction.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Back "home"

They say home is where your heart is. In which case I am blessed to have many homes. I am back in Peru after a fantastic trip back home to see my family for the holiday. I feel sleepy and achy from traveling in planes, buses and taxis, I would put money down that I don't smell the best. But, it is good to be home.

Seeing my family was the rejuvenation I needed to set my course straight. Being tackled by pint sized children to rowdy teenagers and elated adults was the best welcome back I could have asked for.

I have a few things I want to complete in the next two and a half months. I feel like I am much more prepared now and have my mind wrapped around the path that needs to be taken a bit better. I hope.

In no certain order:

1) Be easier to live with
2) Have a conversation with a Peruvian, in Spanish, without either party needing to repeat, speak slower, or give up.
3) Play futbol.... if you have been understand.
4) Have a better understanding of what it means to follow Christ.
5) Do it.
6) Get Healthy
7) Work with a smile instead of over focusing. You never know if someone can be mistaking your blank expression as unhappiness or Unwillingness.
8) Begin each day with a smile.

Here we go...