25 August 2010

Hair Cut!

Well this is my new hair cut. It is easily managed and washed without hot water, and it is less likely when up or down to get close enough to any potential lice spreading. So, that is good. Still working on getting all of the lice out of the litle girls they were at what you would call and infestation, no bueno.

23 August 2010

The Anatomy of a Child's Heart

         So I was working on a different post about other things, but after the last couple days I changed my mind on what I was going to write.
         When you work with children a lot, you get to see the ups and downs, the ins and outs, what makes them tic, and so forth. The past couple of days God has been showing me through a few of our children what the heart of a child really looks like.
         This past Saturday, Steve had asked me to accompany him into town with some of the girls. Sintia had lost some of her princess stickers in the Camby, and was very torn up about it. So, Steve had decided to take her to town to buy some replacement stickers and that she could invite one or two of the other girls to come as well.  However, it turned out she had invited about 5 of the other girls, thus why he needed help.  So, we drove to town, parked, and got out in search of stickers. Steve wanted the girls to be able to do their own shopping, and pick which stores they wanted to go into. The store we went to first- that I knew had stickers- was closed. The next store the girls decided to stop at, the lady said she did not have any stickers, but by that time the girls had been drawn into the two sides of walls that were covered in toys.
        Steve then decided that he would give the girls each S/. 10 to spend on whatever they wanted, but it could only be ten each. So, then the girls started picking up all sorts of things and looking at the prices and comparing items- which it ended up being a pretty good math lesson and such. Some of these girls are really good shoppers, trying to find the best deal, and what they really wanted compared to something else. Each girl changed their minds at least 5 or 6 times. The store owner gave them each a bag to hold their things in while the shopped. Greisy one of the youngest of the group, 6, first picked out this big wooden Disney Princess puzzle for S/. 7.50, then she found a rubix cube for S./ 2. She eventually decided she would trade the big puzzle for a smaller Shrek puzzle that was only S/. 3, so she could also get herself a fuzzy pink headband. She showed me her choices to purchase, and I told her they were all wonderful things and would be so much fun.
        Greisy, walked away and I began to help another one of our wonder shoppers. Every once in a while I would check the store to make sure we still had all of our girls, this time I noticed Greisy was over by the section of toys for boys. She was again comparing prices and had her items laid out so she could see them. I walked over just as she was making up her mind. She told me she was going to by a Ben Ten wrist toy for her little brother, Doane who is. I told her that was very sweet of her and Doane would love it, as I did I noticed the price on the Ben Ten toy was S/. 9.50, and she decided to put back the puzzle and the cube was still putting her over 10, but Steve said it would be ok, because of her choice.
       So, when we walked out of the store purchases in hand Greisy was the happiest little girl she could be, and one of the best big sisters I know. And even as we went to other stores for some of the other girls to finish spending their 10, Greisy was completely satisfied in her choice, and couldn't wait to get home to give it to Doane. Doane, is indeed loving his toy, all the other boys want to play with it too. And all in one day Steve and I were witness to the heart of a child change from me, me, me and what I want, to giving and loving and remembering her brother who doesn't get to leave as often because he is so young. She chose to do this even in a time when the adults had said it was ok to be thinking of yourself and what you wanted.
       Greisy made my day Saturday. The rest of the day was crazy I am sure, but it was a beautiful day because later I saw Doane with a crowd of boys around him, face beaming, with the others asking him to press it again.
      Which leads me to what made my day today. Two weeks ago, I had gone to the Monday market with Abby and some of the other girls and I had bought some earrings for myself. The earrings I actually needed, one thing I forgot to bring, so I bought a pack of 9 earrings, that are a medium circle with different prints on them, some floral, others pattern- and the whole pack only cost S/. 2- ridiculous. Anyways, the girls at school are just absolutely in love with these earrings I bought. And Norma, one of the our older girls- who has been staying with Maribel (the orphanage director) at her house really wanted some. And the whole week she was begging be to go the next Monday to get her some. I finally decided that that would be fine and I told her I would meet her at Maribel's after lunch. But then we ended up having parent/teacher conferences so I had to cancel on her and tell her that I would take her this week.
        So, at 3:30 today I went to get the older kids from school (every once in a while the older kids have an afternoon class) to take Norma to the market. While we were walking to the house Karol and Azucena asked me if the could go to the store across the street. I told them no, one because I really didn't know if that was ok, and we are about to have 4 days off from school, because it has been mandated that all the schools have to be fumigated- there goes the school week. Anyways, they kept begging me please to go to the store, and I tried to explain that we would probably get to go to town over the next few days, then Azucena finally said, "but today is Merly's birthday!" Merly, is Azucena's daughter who is four today.  So, I then decided that it would be horrible of me not to let a mother buy something for her daughter on her birthday, and I asked her if she had any money. Azucena replied no. Then Karol stated," but I do."
       For Karol to be willing to buy her friend something for her daughter's birthday is a big deal. Our kids don't often have money of their own. For Karol to have money means that during family visits yesterday, her dad brought her some money. Her dad sells popcorn on the street and is only able to give her S/.5 to 10. So, she didn't have much but was willing to give her money to her friend. I couldn't let Karol spend her money so I asked Azucena, "if you had money, what would you buy your daughter?" "But Ms Sam I don't have money!" "I know but if you did have money what would you buy her?" "Shoes, she needs new shoes, her feet hurt in her shoes cause they are too small." I decided then and there I was going to get Merly some shoes for her birthday at the market, not from me but from her mother. I asked her wast kind of shoes she would get her, pink velcro tennis shoes. We went to the house to figure out what size she would need.
        Norma and I went to the market and we searched for shoes for Merly. Some of the vendors prices were too much, others didn't have velcro, but we finally settled on two pairs. A pair of pink, purple, and white tennis shoes, that had butterflies on them and lit up in the back, along with a pair of cute tan and pink ballerina flats with a single strap that buckled. At the market shoes are really cheap, but now Merly has new tennis shoes and shoes for church.
        I brought the shoes home and as soon as I walked into Azucena's room they all screamed so excited, we rushed to my house to makeshift wrap them in colored paper I had and made some cards for Merly. Karol and Irma were so excited to help Azucena wrap the shoes and help make Merly's birthday a special one from her mother. When the girls got back from church tonight we rushed to the girls house to sing to Merly and have her open presents before she had to go to bed. I think Merly was a little overwhelmed- everyone crowded around her in anticipation. She opened her shoes and tried them on, and Azucena had her model them for me. They were both excited I think that Azucena was a little more excited to be able to have something to give to her daughter than Merly was to have new shoes. But after she went and hid them and the boxes under her bed and watched her shoes light up every step of the way.
        The house was happy when I left it, and I know the shoes will get some great use out of them. But whether is be a 6 yr. old girl who decided to buy her 4 yr. old brother a toy instead of herself, or a 14 yr. old friend willing to buy a 16 yr. old a gift for her daughter's birthday with the few coins her father gave her, deep in every child's heart there is so much love and selflessness that encourages everyone around them to mimic those characteristics and step back into that child like faith.

18 August 2010

Link to more Photos

So, it turns out is takes like an entire night to upload 12 pictures to my blog and it only takes 5 minutes to upload 59 to Facebook- Weird. Anyways this is for all of you who do not have Facebook, it says it is s public link to my album that I can post elsewhere, so I am giving it a try, hope it works! Some of them are the same but there are a bunch that aren't on here. Enjoy!

click here to see more pictures!

12 August 2010

Could be a cold night

So I ended up getting lice. Had it pulled out of my head tonight, and going to bed with the first treatment in. But I don't have spare blankets and stuff so I am wearing my underarmor cold gear, and smartwool socks, had to hang my sleeping bag so we will see how it goes. I decided I am going to cut my hair, not super short, but long enough to still pull back without the long ponytail that comes in close contact with the kids and such. Lice=no fun.

11 August 2010

Love Always Overcomes

         The more days I am here, the more of the children's stories I hear and learn about. The stories aren't pretty, there is nothing beautiful about them except for the love they carry with them and the ability to overcome their pasts. In a short film I watched recently (The Butterfly Circus), it was said "the greater the struggle the more glorious the triumph," everyday I spend with these kids I see their struggles but also I see them overcoming and opening doors to that glorious triumph that is empowered by the love of Christ.
       We were having our weekly Bible study this past Monday and it ended up being a time when we just shared a verse that had been on our hearts, or one we had come across recently. One of the verses (I don't even remember which it was, it is not written down in my notes- whoops) had the word overcome in it. I have come across that word so many times this past year in scripture, when we studied Revelation it came up very often, "he who overcomes, I will grant him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne." (Revelation 3:21) Why I like the word is the power behind it, and because Christ overcame death so we too will be able to overcome sin and through that we will get to be with Christ. So much is packed in one little word. Which leads me to the beginnings of a child overcoming a horrible chain of events that he didn't start.
       Nelson, is the oldest of three boys, he is 11, Luis is 8- almost 9 and according to him I should take him to pizza on his birthday, and then there is little Anthony who is 5 and one of the happiest kids I know. Nelson has as special place in my heart, as do all the children here, but Nelson and I have a connection which I am hoping will grow over this next year so that I can invest in him and help him on his journey. These guys came to Casa de Paz around January. Their parents had been involved in drugs, which went downhill and the boys had to witness and be subject to people who wanted to make a point no matter who was present. Anthony young as he is I pray the memories will just fade away, there isn't any evidence in his daily life of trauma. Luis is the same, he is just an 8 year old boy rough, wild, and crazy as the rest. Nelson, however, is having to deal with more, the details I will not share, but they are inexcusable- I have a hard time seeing people who lay a finger on a child in the eyes of Christ.
      Such events in a person's life don't just go away, and solely being in a better situation with love, school, family, and friends doesn't make it all go away, it becomes a great struggle. A struggle, though I think we are beginning to see some hints of a glorious triumph. When Nelson first came to the house, I was told he fought a lot and had a great deal of trouble with anger, it is evident he still has trouble with the anger as I am sure with many other emotions. I have also been told that sometimes he gets these urges to run away, and when you take him into town you need to be careful, and keep a hand or a very steady eye on him, and don't talk to anyone in town.
      The first time I witnessed Nelson in any kind of a mood, was this past Saturday. Along with Bruce and Abby, I took the older kids-about 15 or so, to one of the parks (the only places with trees) to Slackline. It was a great time, all of the kids absolutely loved it, none of them have quite got the hang of it yet to stand on their own, they will be ready in time and we have many more days to practice! After about an hour or so, it was getting close to the time when we should head to get ice cream and then home to make it in time for youth at church. And as it seems with any group of kids we ran into a he-said-she-said ordeal he-hit-me-she-hit-me, etc. The he was Nelson, which really wasn't a big deal. I told them they both needed to take a seat and a moment.
      After 10 seconds Nelson decided to walk over behind a giant bush- not cool. So, I proceeded to follow him, and remind him that he needed to stay where I could see him, and he needed to listen to me, and I told him to sit over there, not where we were standing. He said no. Again I told him he needed to return to the original spot I asked him to sit at for the same reasons previously stated.  Again no, so I had to grab his arm with the intent to walk him back to the group. He fought back, pulling with all his strength- these kids are all muscle, I also feel at this point his pride kicked in. This gets to the point where  I do not like discipline and stuff. I am afraid to let his arm go because I don't know if he will run, but I really don't want to drag him back to the group for total embarrassment on his part and force on mine. But we aren't close enough to everyone else to do anything else. So, I am left to almost drag a fighting child back to the rest of them, the whole way he is pulling against me, trying to knock me off my feet with his, attempting to pull my hand off his arm, and hitting me. But the whole time this went on I didn't like it, and when I looked in his eyes I could tell he didn't want to hurt me, but I could also see deep rooted pain.
      We finally were close enough to everyone else that Bruce noticed the struggle and came to offer his assistance.  I had to tell everyone to head to the camby, we picked up the slackline and headed home with no ice cream, because that kind of behavior is unacceptable, especially outside of our walls. When we got home I told Nelson to wait for me and we were going to go have a talk with the mom- as I do with every kid that misbehaves in a manner which requires more than a stern talking to or two minutes off the playground. He did not wait for me. He walked to the swings and sat down on one. I walked over to him- there has to be follow through- and told him he needed to get up and come with me to the house, he replied again with a no. I told him that it is going to be a lot easier if he comes with me now, I was not going to force him into the house, but mom would know that he didn't listen to me a second time. He continued to swing.
      I found mama Maria and told her in my broken spanish (my spanish is more scared of adults than kids) the events of the day. Nelson was basically on house arrest for the rest of the day, and I retreated to my house. Having to do that to a kid, especially to do that with Nelson just killed me. I struggled with it for the rest of the day. I saw him a few times and wanted to talk to him when I was at the boys house later that day, but didn't. At church the next morning I wanted to talk with him, but didn't. I wanted to talk and walk on the way home, but I didn't. Our eyes made contact several time during the day, and I could tell he was sorry and wanted to talk and I am pretty sure he could tell I wanted to talk too. I ate dinner with the kids Sunday night, and happened to be at the same table as Nelson, cause Greisy pulled me into a seat beside her which was directly across from Nelson.
      During dinner glances were exchanged, and little smirks because the two little girls are just plain crazy. During dinner I decided that we were probably ready to talk. So, immediately following dinner I walked with the little boys to their house and threw them around for a little bit, and tucked them into bed. It was buenas noches for the rest of the boys, but when I got to Nelson I asked him if he would come outside with me for a minute. I got on my knees so I was mostly at his level (he was a bit taller than me then), and I begin to speak in my best spanish. I told him I was sorry, but that he had to listen to me especially when we are in town, and that I wanted to be able to take him places, and have fun. I told him that I do not like to have to do that ever, but I had to Saturday but I did it because of love- half way through he said he was sorry too, and before I could finish and say I loved him he said he loved me and gave me a huge hug- I had some wells. It was one of those hugs where you just keep holding.
      I went to bed that night feeling so much relief. My heart was settled, and I had my Nelson back. But through the events of those two days I was able to know Nelson better, I was able to see through wordless actions his spirit, his pain, his heart, his struggle, but in the end and through it all I saw his love. And without love you cannot begin to overcome a thing.  

07 August 2010

A little time off from school is always welcomed

So I tried a suggestion I found of how to get the picture rotated by coping it to  another program fixing it and pasting it back, it worked in my preview, but apparently truly failed, so just tilt your head a bit and you can see the cute dog that came up to me on the beach with a rock and wanted to play. So I did then when he was done he laid down beside us.

We took Estrella, Ruth, Betsie, Sintia, and Monica to Marquedio (SP?). It is a huge market in town every Monday. After we went to the beach, and got roses at the regular open market.
The next day I took Four kids out to the Polleria for dinner. This one has a mini McDonald's style playscape. Louis loved it and we played in it- including me until Louis got a bloody nose from a ball out if the pit hitting him in the nose- life happens.
How many children can you fit in the Camby? As many as you need to.
Greisi at the beach in Santa Elena slightly south of Pacasmayo. Gladys, one of the mom's has a beach house out there. She said for S/. 100 you can get a plot of land to build on. The place is pretty vacant in the winter but the kids still got in the water.
Louis enjoying the sand.
We caught a crab! Then another, they eventually died though because we caught them too many time and chased them a bunch, it was fun though. 
Nelson and his crab, Crab is close to death at this point- poor little guy.

Our day at Sta. Elena was cut a bit short because Miss Irma here kicked a rock hidden under the sand. But she was very cool about it, she ran straight past me and Steve- we could have carried her across the beach- to the mom's at the house. We took her to the clinic and then got everyone ice cream, and brought some dripping to her and Gladys at the clinic- we tried.
This is her toe- no bueno.

03 August 2010

My stars are different than yours.

       Well it has been quite a while since I have posted to tell you about my stay in Peru, sorry for that first the internet was down and then my schedule is so easily booked it is hard some days to find time for myself. Such is life in Peru. They don't live on schedules. One day one of the house mom's had made plans to take the kids to her house on the beach. We were going to leave at 8:30 in the morning and spend the whole day there, and she was going to cook and everything. However, they did not take it into account that the older kids had been at the church for an all night lock in- which means no sleep. (The pastor did this for the youth because it was independence day and he wanted to keep the kids safe and out of trouble, because independence day can get a bit wild). So since they had not slept there was no way we were going to the beach. Steve and I said we should just take the younger kids who did not go and take the older kids another day so they could sleep. However, the sun wasn't out yet so they said it would be too cold for the little ones, so we were not going to the beach. Then around lunch time we were hearing talk about possibly going to a different part of the beach with just the older ones in the afternoon for a while, but at this time we were trying to think of what food we were going to make for missionary night (a weekly potluck for the local missionaries and us). Well after lunch they said yes we are going to the beach but some of the older kids were still sleeping so we only took like 2/3 of the older kids to the beach in a small town outside of Pacasmayo. We got back to Casa de Paz around 4pm and Steve and I decided we would go get gas in the Camby and stop by Market Pan to get drinks a dessert for dinner. We got gas then parked as we realized all of Pacasmayo was still closed and wouldn't open again until 5- which is 30 minute before missionary night. So we just skipped getting stuff from town and we scrambled things together to make juice and a salad. Such is life in Peru, if you are thinking about doing something at a certain time or someone is going to come on one day to fix something multiply it by two and that will be the actual time it happens. It isn't too bad you just have to be flexible and willing to constantly adjust.
       Another thing that always gets me are the prices of things. One dollar is 2.8 soles (S/.), so sometimes I think something is really expensive or the same price as is would be in America but I forget to divide. So some comparisons for you. Christina will often buy a bouquet of flowers from the open market for her house and a full bouquet that would probably be $40 at any decent florist in America is only S/.10, which if you divide is only about $3.60- ridiculous!. And I can get an entire head of green leaf lettuce, three big carrots, and two cucumbers for S/.3 = $1.07.  Then the bags of  cereal are S/.1.80, and they say they have 7 portions in them, they are wrong, they may have 7 child size handfuls in there but it is really only 2 and maybe 1/3 servings- silly Peruanos Trix are not just for kids. I am slowly getting used to remembering the difference and dividing real quick on how much dollars I am spending. And I decided to get a small book to record my spending in so I remember how much I spent, because no one gives receipts unless you ask for them, but then they have to hand write it out.
      Speaking of monies, yesterday I got all of my money that was sent to Go-Ye for me (thank you all so much!!!) and so sitting in my room is a whole envelope full of almost S/. 10,000. Makes me feel like I am dealing drugs, or I got paid for something illegal because it is in a dollar size manilla envelope. I need to go into town and get some envelopes and I am going to divvy out my money into monthly amounts and then put them in the safe and I will get them out one at a time so I don't accidentally spend too much in one month. I have it sectioned to where I have enough for each month with a couple thousand in reserve in case of medical and such.  It is a good feeling to have it and know how I will be able to access it, it was easier for them to pull it all out so someone didn't accidentally use my money for something else.
      Enough about logistical things though I am sure you are all wondering about where I am living and more about the orphanage and such, I know Mom is because while the internet was down I got 2 emails with 30 questions each :) .
      So the grounds of the orphanage are enclosed in a 15 foot wall of handmade adobe bricks. There are 8 missionary houses, four of them are larger ones, and the other four are the size of the larger ones but divided in half. Currently, I am in one of the small houses. My bedroom, living room, and kitchen are all the same room, with a small bathroom and closet. I won't actually be in this apartment but for maybe one more month. (Avis the founder, who is now 66, is turning over the ministry to Pastor and Pastora. So she is moving in to my house, them into hers-it's bigger, and me into theirs- musical houses) Currently there are 8 Americans and 1 Canadian here, Avis-the founder, three ballet dancers here for two more weeks- Natalie, Kourtney, and Abby, three volunteers as English teachers- Mike, Christina, and Steve, me and then Bruce hailing all the way from British Columbia. Anytime now we are getting two volunteers from Paris who will be here a month- they are trying to get a bus from Lima, and in two weeks when the dancers leave we will be getting another American- guy Sam- who will be teaching PE the rest of the year.
       As far as the rest of the compound there are two other buildings. One that has the bodega- for the tools, the laundry rooms, three kids houses- two are in use, the kitchen and the great room. The other has a big room and some other apartment for some of the Peruvian staff. Each of the kids houses have a main room with a table, a TV, a couch, and some cushioned chairs. to the left of that area is the kitchen, no cooking is done in these just for heating the food, and washing dishes, etc. Then there are 4 bedrooms for kids, and one bedroom for the mom, then on the back left there is the sink and two bathroom areas each with 2 showers and three toilets. Each of the kids houses can hold 20 kids- I believe that is the capacity. There are currently 19 girls, and 13 boys. O and of course there is our wonderful playground, and basketball courts which are also on the compound other than that there isn't much else on sight, besides sand and rocks.
     As far as school goes we are on vacation. It is the middle of the year break, about a week and a half off. Which is really nice because we are getting to spend bunches of time with the kids, and I am really able to build relationships with each of them and take them out to town in small groups.
     Tonight I took out four kids for dinner. Nelson and Louis (brothers), Luz, and Yanelita. We went to the chicken place as Nelson called it, I asked them where they wanted to go and that is where they took me. I had never been to this one but they had. "The Chicken Place" is 4 stories. Immediately upon arriving the kids started going up the stairs, though we were going to the 2nd story, nope we kept going- I questioned them 'Mas?' 'si, si!' So I followed. Then found out that on the third floor there is like a mini McDonalds type play place- ball pit and all. We ate and for S/.35  five of us ate, which included a whole rotisserie chicken, two huge plate of fries, a salad, and a 3 liter of Inca Kola- crazy. Anyways it was really fun, I even got in the ball pit, the waitress thought I was a crazy American, but ball pits are full no matter how old or tall you are.  Afterwards we went and got ice cream, glorious night. I love these kids.
     Tomorrow is supposed to be another trip to the beach! So we will see how that goes!

02 August 2010

This is Junior, he is two. He won't be here long, just until some DNA tests come back and such.
Gieser and Angel on our spinning swing thing, it has four swings and I am always having to spin it!
Danilo! He is one of our kids with special needs, he will try and break into your house.
Louis, Ruth, Betsie, and Mari, and Steve at the beach. I was building them blocks from the wind, but if I went higher they would have toppled over.
Christmas in July! Some of the short term volunteers wanted to have Christmas in July so we did it was fun!
Some of the kids from Mazanca a mission we do on Fridays.
My current front door! I will be moving to a different house in about a month but for now this is mine.
The garden outside our houses, a hammock!
No dryers, only clotheslines, love it.
The front of the missionary houses.
Kitchen on the left, this is the main room of the kids houses.
One of the girls rooms. Six girls live in this one.
And this is their closet.
Front of the kids houses.
Our playground, so wonderful!
The Camby, fun driving in Peru.
Basketball, one goal is broke, the other works.
Nelson taking a picture of himself.
Gieser and Duane after their haircuts!

Sorry for the sideways pictures, I flipped them before the upload but they still were sideways, o well! Love you all!!! Plan on updating some time this week but here are some pictures for now.