Long Days and Short Weeks
Today marks a week and a half that I have been here at Immanuel. The time has passed so quickly. As the volunteers say here: “the days are long and the weeks are short.” When I first came, I thought they were crazy for saying something like that, but it is so true!
Here are a few recaps of different days during my stay so far:
I slept in pretty late this morning, and went down to the office at 12:00 to get my assignment. I will be working at the baby house. It has lots of steps supposedly and is kind of dark, so I am a little worried about that. I also wonder if maybe I could get better Spanish exposure at an older house, but I’ll just try it and see. I came back and had lunch and a nap. I played piano for a littlebit as well. The other girls in the volunteer house (The house is for the girl volunteers and currently houses about 12 volunteers from all over the states, staying anywhere from 2 weeks to a year) were all out at their assignments most of the day. At around 5 Kristina, a volunteer from Denmark, and I went down to make a bonfire. All the volunteers came down and we had “bread on a stick.” Kristina, molly, and I made the fire inside a cardboard box which worked really well! Bread on a stick is where you some dough, stretch it into a long snake, wind it around the end of a lpole, and cook it over some coals. You can put many kinds of fillings inside this cyllander of bread. Kristina and I have had some really awesome convos, but she is leaving tomorrow,and I will miss her:( Molly invited me to choir tomorrow:)
Today I got up a little before 6:15, and went down to the baby house with Katy, one of the volunteers. We spent the morning feeding the kids and taking them on a walk. After lunch, they took a nap, and we went back to the house to clean and have a break. Most of the girls used their break to visit other groups, but I really needed a nap and some time alone. At 3:00 we went back to the house and fed the babies dinner and bathed them. Emily and I stayed to play with them for a little while. Perla, a one year old was so cute and played with me for half an hour, laughing the whole time. I chased her around the room and threw her in the air and stuff:) After that I went down to the church to join the “choir”. It was really more of a praise band. I think iI’ll just watermelon for a few of the Spanish songs I don’t know! After I got back I had a long talk with Anna, one of my roommates, and got ready for bed.
This morning I had breakfast and went to church a little early to help with worship. A couple kind of awkward things happened, but I guess I’ll just remember to ask things like which color scarf do they want to wear with the robes this time:) I did lose my sunglasses in the church and have been kind of needing them. 😦 After church, I came back, had some lunch and took a 3 hour nap!
After my nap,I wandered down to the main road and found the small boys going on a walk to the “granja.” I joined them and walked through the farm and even back to their house. It was a long walk and I talked with some of the boys and held their hands. When we got back, I sat and watched a movie with them. We watched cars and ate dinner. During dinner, Suli, one of the girls from the baby house who works at the small boys house, sat down and talked with me. She offered to teach me Spanish every Sunday at 1:00. I am so excited!!! Thank You, God!
I have realized that I really love those little boys! I kind of wonder if I might ever get moved there:) It was really precious to see them light up just because you held their hand, stroked their head, or said you had a brother their age
Today was fairly normal in that I got up at about 5:30 and ate breakfast and did devotions before getting to the baby house at 6:30. I played with the babies and helped feed them breakfast… oatmeal as usual. After that I helped clean and played with kids until 9:00 am naptime. They napped till 10:00 which is my naptime tooJ. After naptime we played with them until 11:00 which is lunch, and then back to naps at 12:00. 12:00 to 2:30 is our break time. I went to the team house and bought a few things from a vender from town. I also ran into a team member named Amy who knew Marisela, one of the girls from my house. She told me a little of her story, and I pray I get to know that sweet girl a little more, so I can talk with her about it. I want to know so many of them. At 2:30 we went back and played with the kids till dinner at 4:00. A giant storm hit and we had crazy wind and rain and the power went out for about half an hour. The storm passed quickly, though. Dinner and bathtime followed with some time to play and dance with the kids after that before we volunteers headed back to our house. I am exhausted, but most of this is quite normal.
I really think the moms are warming up to me! Many of them have started handing me their infants when they have to do something( The babies are also getting used to me, I think, and the moms will talk to me and give me a hug when I leave. I have also gotten more involved with cleaning, playing with kids, and changing diapers. My Spanish is coming along rather quickly, I think.
Today I went to the small boys yard for break. I think I will try to do that more often. They seem to need love and someone to listen.
I am going to try to learn more about the moms in the house. Yesterday one of the moms told me, when we were talking about our families, that she did not have a dad. She then told me that her son had a dad. I didn’t really know how to respond because I don’t know her story. She went on to say, “Dios… Dios is his father.” It meant so much to me as I meditate on Psalm 27
This morning was big circle. At 6:00 We all went out and lined up by groups in the big girls yard. We sang, said verses, and prayed together. After big circle the team from Ohio left. Marisela, one of the girls from the baby house that I have become quite close to, was broken-hearted to say goodbye to Amy. It must be so hard to have so few consistent friends. It rained all day. Emily and I took Noe and Jefrey (a couple almost 2 year-old boys from the baby house)out in the rain to play for a while. They were so cute splashing through puddles, throwing handfuls of water, and all the time pointing at the sky and saying”agua, tia, agua!!” Tonight Glenda (The 20 year-old Honduran girl in charge of the baby house) asked me to do her hair. It was really an awesome bonding time!
Saturday the girls have no school and after they did their normal week-end cleaning and the babies were in bed, we watched a movie. It was rainy or we would have gone on a walk. I put up a couple of the girl’s hair, and it was really cool to see how just that act brought us closer and made us more like sisters. After that, a girl from the toddler house named Jessie came and asked if she could straighten someone’s hair. I said she could do mine, and she did it with an iron! It looks pretty good:) One of the girls in the baby house named Jayvi is dealing with some image issues. She wouldn’t eat lunch and was throwing up In the trash after that. It broke my heart to see her like that, but she doesn’t want to be my friend and I don’t know why, but I’ll just give it some more time and see what happens. After lunch it was time to clean at the volunteer house. After cleaning I wrote some of a paper and then went back to the baby house. Tonight was uneventful, except for the rain that drowned out most of the baby’s noise. At 5 I went to “choir” which is really praise band practice. I felt so alone because everyone spoke either Spanish or Danish. It was a rather strange feeling, but probably a good one for my Western centric mind-set!
Today I got up at around 7:00 (Sleep in!!!), since it was Sunday! I restraightened my hair and went to praise band practice. The sermon disturbed me because he was getting on the girls to be sexually pure. A lot of these girls have been sexually abused and raped, and he barely even mentioned “oh, and the boys need to be pure too.” That is just totally unacceptable. The way you encourage sexual and emotional purity is through preaching identity, security, and value in Christ, especially when you’re talking to girls who have been abused!!! And just mentioning the boys in passing??? What kind of a messed-up double-standard is this?
After church I got some lunch and took a quick nap. Then Anna and I went to the icecream store:) After this , I went on a walk with the small boys to the “granja” where they have goats, pigs, horses, cows, and chickens. Elwin was my little friend today, walking the whole way holding my hand and talking to me almost non-stop about everything from a goat’s horns to zombie movies. I tried to follow what he was saying most of the time and asked him to repeat almost everything he said, and I think I learned a lot of vocabulary and definitely exercised my listening skills! I ate dinner at their house and played hand-clapping games with some of the older boys in the house.
Today was my turn to clean the floors at the volunteer house. I have no idea how they can get so dirty because we literally sweep and mop them daily.
At 6 I went to the baby house with Emily and Katy to watch a movie and eat cupcakes and soda. I had to leave early, but it was really fun, like a sleep-over, and the girls soaked it up. Molly is leaving tomorrow, and I went to a bonfire in her honor. Most of the volunteers and a few staff members were there, and we had bread on a stick. It’s a Danish thing where you wrap bread around the end of a pole and cook it over hot coals. It’s pretty good:).
Thank you for your prayers and support:)
Please pray for cultural understanding and the chance to really reach into the lives of the girls at the baby house!