Sunday, July 26, 2009

"Be well, do good work, and keep in touch”- Garrison Keillor

This morning at breakfast there was a great surprise,
The coffee, milk and jam were out before we even arrived.
Without any special requests, the staff could not glare.
We ate everything up without a plantain to spare

After the morning talk, we had all the information we could gather.
We piled into the van and so began the daily chatter.
Pulling into La Ciudad we saw all the tutors sitting in a row,
Waiting to hear their fate; will they stay or can they go?

I spent most of my day painting in the Panaderia,
While pan y orejas consumed my ideas
Mario doesn´t seem to want the painting to end
He always seems to have another job for me and my friends

Finally off to lunch, the food seems to be getting better every day,
Ever since los niños left anyways
No more cleaning up after 22 little ones for me,
I´m back to the bakery painting every door I can see

While Tom and Sloan scrape and stain benches,
For the rest of us, our fist around our brush clenches.
Our persistence is rewarded with bakery rolls;
It´s Mario´s way of encouraging us to come back and work more.

Tonight we went to dinner and a show.
All but one of us were in tow.
The Peruvian dancing and food were all so great,
Even Allison felt compelled to partake.

With more food than I had eaten all week,
By the end of the night I was ready to sleep.
By Kattie

Like all good things in life...

To rise early with a clear mind and a healthier body helps us to focus on the plans for the following day. Everyone was seated for breakfast promptly and was interested in hearing Sloan’s review of Monday. The one thing we know was that La Ciudad de los Niños was starting their winter break later that day. The team was not sure how the process would flow.
Arriving at the Ciudad was familiar; the younger grades were in session at the school next door. Therefore, most of the jobs included sweeping, making beds, folding clothes and experimenting with communication in Spanish. Using single words, facial expressions and body movement helped advance my feeble Espanol, but sentences were not always completely understood, leaving us in a moment of “huh”?! The older familia volunteers headed to the bakery to continue a never ending mega-project of scraping, sanding and painting – this in order for the bakery to comply with local government code requirements.
Working at the Lavanderia had its surprises. After Edith translated a description of the job, the fundamentals were sensible, that is until the laundry supervisor appeared with a distressed look, saying that the shirts, long sleeved and short sleeved were hung incorrectly. Arms were dangling randomly; shirts were not sequenced from the side wall to the center; nor were they properly ordered from the back to the front; nor were the short sleeved shirts hanging 90 degrees to the long sleeved shirts. So, let’s start all over again, pull them down and get it right, gal. Later I learned to assume nothing, and did a demo for the supervisor before beginning. I guess, there really is something to the old truth that if you expect, then let someone inspect.
Lunch was the usual routine with a vegetable soup broth, hot faintly flavored water and a main course – this one of rice, cauliflower, and chicken – and, more appealing to my taste than other lunchtime fare. The los niños were excited about their winter break vacation. Following lunch most of the boys returned to their familias to pack clothes, clean their cubby holes and prepare for their journeys home. It is unbelievable how much the small boys can fit into one back pack and a medium sized yard waste bag.
At 3:00pm. the entire Ciudad de los Niños gathered in front of the front office for a blessing from Brother Hugo of good wishes and God Bless You. Gradually all of the children were leaving the Ciudad with their families, relatives or guardians. By the time us Global Volunteers gathered to head back to the Hostal Terrablanca, it seemed evacuated. It was very difficult to say good-bye, chau or adios or whatever parting words to boys with whom we were just starting to feel comfortable, especially knowing that we would not likely ever see them again. My los niños were not sure if I would be there when they returned in two plus weeks.
The thought for the day: Like all good things in life, there is a beginning and an end, but in this case the end came much too quickly.

by Sheila helped by Sloan! :)

Let’s relax, cherish our time here, and be happy with what we have!

We have now completed four days at the Ciudad de los ninos. The volunteers are all busy with painting projects. Those of us painting in the bakery will be thought of by Mario when the bakery begins full operation in September or October. We can all be proud of the Family signs we are busy trying to finish by tomorrow evening. There are times when I have felt frustration with the projects as the projects would go so much faster if we had better tools, even power tools to work with. And then I relax and tell myself that it is ok, I have time and that the projects will get done. When I arrived, I thought, ÖK¨, let me make a huge impact and go, go, go! Now after a few days I am telling myself to relax, to visit with the boys, to work with the boys, and to slow down to enjoy myself with my task at hand. Seriously, if we had stayed home and just sent the money to the Ciudad de los ninos, the projects could be done by the professionals. Our main job is to be an ambassador for the United States and to leave the boys remembering our warmth and caring personalities. My husband once attended a class where he was asked, ¨Who made you what you are today?¨ Many answers spewed forward but the correct answer was, 95% of who you are and what you have accomplished is based on the situation where you grew up. I see these loving boys and know that the Ciudad de los ninos is a good place for them, helping them to reach their potential. I am happy to be here with them even if it is only for a short time.

By Kristy :)