Saturday, December 27, 2014

A Day in the Life: Part 2

Ok.  I realize that there are probably MANY of you out there (because we all know I have a *massive* group of blog followers...) that have been just DYING to know for the last (almost) 2 months now what exactly I do on Monday, Wednesday and Friday with Niños con Valor!!  Oh the suspense!  Well, I am happy to tell you the wait is over--all my MWF secret whereabouts and activities are revealed below.  But first, to give a quick recap about Niños, it's an organization that runs two children's homes, one for girls and one for boys.  There are currently 9 boys at the boys home ages 3-9.  The current number of girls is 21 ages 6-16. (Ps. I'm purposefully not going to use names for any of the kids in this blog post for confidentiality reasons.)

Monday and Wednesday mornings find me at the BOYS home.  I try and get there around 8am, which puts me right at the beginning of their breakfast, ie a wonderfully chaotic time which usually is made up of some part yelling, some part whining, some part smiling and laughing (if we're lucky!!), and typically ends with a fairly substantial amount of whatever is being eaten ending up on some part of my body... :)  Then it's upstairs for teeth brushing and potty time, before I head out to the front yard with the "peques" (short hand for "pequeños," which is spanish for the "little" or younger boys).  We get about an hour of play time in before the day Tia (ie day worker) comes in and herds all the younger boys downstairs to do "homework," which mainly consists of practicing coloring IN the lines, putting puzzles together, practicing their writing, and playing.  Below is a pictures of me with one of the kids with whom I spend a lot of my time.



I wish I could tell you that he's always smiling this much when he's around me, but a lot of the time I'm trying to avoid being bitten, scratched, or pinched.  Although he's 3, he's still non-verbal, which because of this? or in conjunction with this? he also tends to get frustrated very quickly and thus express his needs or wants in irritated bouts of lashing out at whoever happens to be closest to him (ie me!).  We're hoping to be able to teach him some basic sign language soon to help him to be able to communicate better and with any luck, also help him to be less frustrated.  I really feel for him.  I can't imagine how frustrated and/or irritated I would be if I had no way of communicating what I wanted to say!





When it's really hot or rainy outside we also tend to read in the morning.  Below is a picture of me with my same kido "reading" one of the many wonderful board books in the house.

Sometimes in the mornings, some of the older boys have activities they attend such as soccer practice or programs at their church.  This is especially true during Christmas break, which for the kids down here is during their summer.  During the school year, mornings are often times spent doing the day's homework for school in the afternoon.  (If you remember from a previous blog post, the kids down here typically only go to school for half a day, either in the morning or the afternoon).  Below is a picture of me helping one of the other Tias walk some of the boys to the trufi stop on their way to soccer practice.  I love this picture because it also gives a great view of the neighborhood the boys live in and the gorgeous mountains that surround the city!  The bottom picture is of us waiting *patiently* for the trufi to come.

Although I love ALL of the boys.  It's *possible* that the little one in the picture below is one of my ever-so-slightly favorites :)  I seriously could eat his face sometimes he's just that cute!!
After morning homework/activities/snack-time, it's time for lunch and then afterwards the three smallest boys go down for a nap.  This is my FAVORITE part of the day because putting them down often means rocking them, rubbing their back, and/or signing with them until they fall asleep.  *Sigh*  It's a magical enough time to make all of the whining/hitting/crying/yelling/pinching/biting of the morning slip completely out of my mind :)  Before leaving for the day (typically around 2pm), I make sure the house is clean (surprise surprise!) and check in with the other Tias to make sure they don't need anything else from me.  If it's a Monday, there's a 50% chance that I have a Maryknoll Lay Missioner meeting that afternoon (we tend to have them every other Monday) and if it's a Wednesday, then there's a 100% chance that I have my weekly Spanish lesson to look forward to.  Let's just say there is hardly ever a dull (or quiet!) moment in my life these days!

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Now onto the GIRLS!  Fridays are my day to be at the girls home.  I used to get there bright and early at 8am, but that's before I started RUNNING with 3 of the girls at 6AM on Wednesday and SATURDAY mornings...  So because I now typically get up at 5am on Saturday, I decided to let myself sleep in a little bit on Friday and usually arrive at the girls home around 10.  This gives me enough time to say hi to everyone and quick use the bathroom before I start my first PIANO LESSON of the day.  Seriously.  I'm still in disbelief every single time I write that I "teach" piano.  Lessons typically consist of practicing a few songs from the books, going over note names, practicing COUNTING (now I totally understand why my non-counting drove Lynn CRAZY!), and then without fail I will be asked to play the "Titanic" song with them as a duet, where they play the top hand melody part and I play the bottom hand part.  I'm gonna need to pause here and give a quick "shout-out" to MEGAN HAMM (now Moran!) since she was the one who taught me this simplified version of the Celine Dion Titanic song.  The girls are obsessed (to put it lightly) and have begged me to teach it to them.  However, none of them are advanced enough to be able to play both hands together, which is why I end up playing the bottom part while they pound out the melody.  I have 4 piano "students"--two in the morning before lunch and two after lunch.  Below is a picture of me with one of my most dedicated students.  The top one is of me "teaching;" the bottom one is of us playing the Titanic song...

Before I end this blog, I just have a couple more pictures to share.  Below are pictures of my 3 running buddies.  I thought it would be a nice Christmas treat (and a good way to thank them for their early morning commitment) to have them over to my house to help me make Christmas cookies.  The top picture is of the baking part; the bottom picture is of the sampling part :)

We actually made the cookies with the purpose of bringing them all (or most... :) ) over to the girls home the following day to allow everyone the chance to decorate and sample a "traditional" US Christmas cookie.  Needless to say, they were a HUGE hit.  Below are some pictures of our decorating fun.  You'll notice the colors are not your typical food coloring colors.  That is because despite my very dedicated search for "normal" food coloring, I could only find a package of neon food coloring--thus the purple, turquoise, "green apple" green, and pink!




And there you have some information about the time I spend with Niños!  If you couldn't tell from the pictures, despite the fact that sometimes it can be very challenging to work with kids from both of the homes, I don't think it's possible for me to love all of them any more.  They bring so much joy into my life it's unreal at times.  I am positive there will be many more blog posts to come in the future that will highlight some of the very same faces you see in this blog.  And with any luck, my next blog post won't take me 2 more months to write... :)

1 comment:

  1. You are the best! Love your very proud godfather....

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