Friday, May 21, 2010

A Dinner Date with the Muchachas

It has been crayon melting weather the past two days. I slept on the roof again on Wednesday night, though I woke up stiff and covered in dew. Last night I choose to sleep in my bed because there is indeed such a thing as being too old to sleep on the ground two nights in a row. My body just isn't as resilient any more.

We have a new little girl at Hogar. Her name is Josefina and she is 8 years old. Her first night here she was so shy. She clung to the director, Tia Arde, while she was introduced to the rest of the girls. Josefina has the same hair as me. Short and wavy. She's a scrawny, little, freckled thing, with the personality of a little sprite. The rest of the night she clung to me leading me around, shy to be alone with the other girls, but full of restless energy. I would imagine that the first night here is probably very hard. The girls were great though...they made her feel welcome and asked her questions, and Kristel, who is also 8, slept in the bed next to Josefina's so she wouldn't feel lonely her first night. One of the girls gave her a stuffed animal for her bed.
It took her ages to settle down for the night and I heared from the other girls that they didn't sleep very well. Josefina and I spent the morning together exploring the grounds, coloring, painting with Kyla, and running around. She is incredibly bright and very high energy. I'm not sure she has ever been to school, but she can read, understands math, and is eager to get into everything. 'No' seems to be a optional word for her. I don't know her full story, but I do know that she doesn't know where her mom or dad are. I think her mother abandoned her and some people took her in and helped her get accepted into Hogar. I'm so glad she is adjusting well and seem happy. The tias (aunts) who cook for us thought she was my daughter this morning because we have the same hair and she has a lighter skin tone. I thought that was pretty cute.

Other news...I climbed that fantastic tree again with Paola. This time we carried cement blocks over to it and made a ramshackle staircase filled in with branches. Paola made it up successfully her first attempt, but I fell - though I was laughing so hard it took me a while to notice my scrapes. We were in the tree again for about an hour. It really is a great place to escape to.

The past few days have been busy. I keep lending out my computer, mostly to the middle school boys for homework and email. I've been herding the sheep in the evenings with Luis, and I'm getting better at that. I actually got them into the shed last night with very little difficulty. There is a new baby sheep, so tiny and wobbly. Kyla and I named her Myrrh. I want to have a baby sheep as a pet. I've also spent quality time with a University girl named, America, doing Zumba, which has just been hilarious, and I've had a chance to have one on one time with Martha, a very sweet 10 year old girl who really misses her mom. There is always something to do here....especially with the little ones who have fewer chores and more free time.

Kyla and I have been gardening. The girls dorm has a nice space out front and just needs a few more plants and some major weeding to be lovely. Kyla manned the pick axe to break up the ground and pull up the crab grass and I navigated the spiders and biting ants and weeded around the plants. It felt good to see our progress. Yesterday we went to the market and successfully bought produce for 25 people. We thought it would be fun if we made dinner one night, so we planned the menu and ran around town yesterday and found everything we needed. We spent the afternoon cooking and made a really tasty pasta sauce with chorizo, basil, onions, garlic, olives, capers, thyme and tons of fresh tomatoes. We made a big green salad with avocados as well. I think the girls were a bit wary and confused by the food at first, especially since they didn't see any tortillas or beans, but it turned out to be a great success. We didn't have enough utensils, so many of the girls ate with their hands a la "Lady and the Tramp". It was very cute.

They don't eat many fresh fruist or vegetables here and it was really great to see them asking us for second helpings. Kyla and I played music and put flowers on the tables, and everyone lingered over dinner longer than usual and the conversation was cheerful and happy. Kyla and I did clean up duty too, and it was fulfilling to be able to feed the kids and give them night off from their chores. We are going to cook for the boys Sunday night, hopefully it will be just as well received.

Tonight I'm going to the high school dance with some of the girls. Kyla thinks it's funny I want to go. I bought a Latina disco worthy shirt the other day so I'm ready. I'm always up for fun and dancing, and it gives me the opportunity to spend some time outside of Hogar with the high school girls. I think it will be great. However, tomorrow morning at 5am, we are all piling into the big, blue school bus for a 5 hour trip to a waterfall. It sounds like a fantastic day and a lot of time in the bus. I think I'm going to be really, really exhausted because our curfew for the dance is at 1am. But, I'm really looking forward to a whole day away with the kids and seeing some more of Chiapas.


Elisa said...

This is officially one of my favorite posts! I feel like I can see what you're seeing :) I'm so glad that you are having such a fulfilling time, and know that you're bringing so much joy to those kiddos. xox

Katie said...

Thanks for the fun report, Marci! Knowing those girls, they were deeply touched by your and Kyla's supper! Rafael and William's group, who were 12 when I watched them, still talk about the time I made them pizza and chocolate cake. They'll remember your special evening for the rest of their lives - really! You are giving them such a gift! Enjoy!! :)