Thursday, April 21, 2011

Life in the country

I have been staying at the Children's Home for the past 4 days now.  I have tiny twinges of guilt because it feels like vacation in a mountain cabin!  I wake up to cool, crisp fresh air, a beautiful view and sounds of a gurgling baby in the next room and children outside.   Actually, I wake up to the rooster who sounds like he lives under my bedroom window!  

I moved into the little cottage where Valery used to live.  It is a small two bedroom cottage with a bath and kitchenette.  There is also one of the tutors (caretakers) staying here to focus on Noelia.  We have a small refrigerator, sorta like what your kids took to college, a microwave and a hot plate.  No TV (haven't missed it!) no heat or AC (haven't needed either.)

(short break from writing as 9 little boys suddenly showed up and surrounded me for hugs and kisses!)

Meals are delivered to each cottage from the central kitchen although I fix my own breakfast and lunch.   The older kids deliver the food.  Everyone helps out here.  Even the littlest ones tidy up after themselves and as soon as they are tall enough to wield a mop, they help with the floors. 

As you remember, there isn't running water here.  All the cottages are plumbed for water.  We have two huge water tanks and we truck the water in.  Every day at about 6:30 they turn the water on.  Every cottage has several tubs to collect the water.  This is what we use to bathe, wash dishes, flush toilets, wash clothes, etc.   You definitely don't want to miss water time!  Naturally the water is cold.  The children take cold showers or bucket baths.  In my cottage, we heat up a pot of water and mix it with the cold water for a warm-ish bucket bath.  The first night here I escaped the bucket bath because I had taken a shower at Casa LAMB that morning.  The first morning I was too cold!  (We are up in the mountains which are significantly cooler than the city!)  Finally the second night the moment of truth had arrived.  It was time for my first bucket bath...  Tomasa, the tutor, and Astrid, one of the older girls, were in the cottage.  They were in hysterics as I asked them how one takes a bucket bath.  With great trepidation, I entered the bathroom and plunged in, as it were.  I had to wash my hair also.  It actually wasn't too bad.  I learned some very important lessons.  #1 - don't use alot of soap!  #2 - keep the soapy water away from the tub of clean water  #3 ignore the odd color of the water.   I have not yet attempted to shave my legs.

Last night, after dinner, I joined the older kids for devotional time.  Jose Santos and two of the tutors led the devotions.  Many of the children had their Bibles as we studied Matthew 8:18.  They also sang several songs and opened and closed with prayer.  It was great to see how eager they were to participate.  Of course, this is a group of 8 - 15 yr olds so there were the requisite pockets of giggling girls and boys surreptitiously poking each other.  Kids are kids everywhere!

It POURED in the middle of the night last night.  It sounded like I was living in a drum!  The tin roof really adds volume... At first I felt I was under assault!

Each morning, I take my camp chair outside for morning devotions.  If I have connectivity, Wheeler and I do morning prayer together via Skype.  I am hoping Leamarie will join us too!

Noelia gets cuter by the minute.  I bought a playpen yesterday and she loves it!  She pulls herself up in it while she goos the toys in it.  Her favorite toys are the giant lego-like blocks.  Easy to pick up with a mouth sized bump on the top to jam in her mouth! 

Wendy has a permanent smile plastered on her face.  What a joy to see her transform from a frightened, haunted child to a carefree, happy child running and playing with her new found sisters and friends.  The little girls in Toyita's cottage are so cute.   There is a serious tooth deficit as many of them are missing their two front teeth!

I have always known this is a wonderful place for children but to experience the integration of two new children first hand has been such a gift.  The tutors and other children are so loving and welcoming.  They have embraced them both as members of the family and have made sure they are happy and included in everything.  Noelia has no deficit of hugs and kisses.  Her tutors are so affectionate and the children love to play with her.

After spending so much time in Flor del Campo and Tegucigalpa, seeing the children run around the property, safe and free is spectacular.  (I am running out of adjectives!)

I am looking forward to Easter here.   9 children are getting baptized via full immersion in the river near by.  I can't wait!

Off I go to play with the kids!

My cottage Berlyn, Noelia, and Norma out front

Kitchenette and dining area

Living area

Tutor and baby's room

Norma and Yarely listening to Itunes in my bedroom
Our bathroom

Buckets for a bath!
My view during morning devotions

Toyita's cottage right across from mine