Friday, December 19, 2008

My first full day at the ranch...


Even though I was so tired the night before, my body woke up at the usual time, around 7am (which is 6 am in Guatemala). The girls were still sound asleep, but the birds were up and adam (by the way Momma, I loved your little napkin note about chirping happily). ☺ It was actually really nice to be the first one up. As those of you who know me well know, I definitely need some alone time throughout the day, so it was great to have that 2 or so hours before people woke up to take a shower, have my personal devotions, and journal some.

I LOVE how the Guatemalans greet one another in the morning. The children would come out of their rooms and everyone would say “buenos dias” and hug with a kiss on the cheek. It’s so different from back home, but it really makes you feel loved. It’s things like that that I hope to continue when I return home, to let my family know how much I love them and appreciate them…

Quick Synopsis of Meal Times:
For breakfast, we had an oatmeal equivalent, except it was much thinner and A LOT sweeter. It was good, but I’m just not used to eating something so sweet for breakfast. The children loved eating it with these cookie/cracker type things.
For lunch, we had a soupy rice, vegetables, and beef dish. It was really good, but very salty. For lunch and dinner, two of the most precious ladies I’ve ever met, Lettie and Vilma, prepare the meals (with the help of the older girls). They come over to the house around 8 and stay until maybe 5 or so (to help with the kids, cook, clean, etc). They are both Guatemalan women and although I can’t understand a lick of what they say, there smiles could light up the darkest room.
For dinner, we had eggs, refried beans, and tortillas. The eggs were delicious! Sooo much better than the eggs at home, probably because they’re much fresher.
At every meal I’ve been forcing myself to drink water (I need to watch out about getting dehydrated) but the children drink juice of some sort. Oh, and we have ice (a luxury that I didn’t think I would have here in Guatemala)!
All in all, the food has been fantastic, but the only problem is that the portions are HUGE! I feel so rude not finishing what is placed in front of me, because I don’t want the women who prepared the food to think that I don’t like and appreciate it. However, I just can’t find a place in my stomach to put it all! I told Karen that yesterday, and she kindly told Lettie and Vilma that I think they’re cooking is delicious, but I need smaller portions because I can’t eat as much as they give me. They laughed and gave me a hug. I felt a lot better about the situation… Too bad Poppa isn’t here to finish all my leftovers. Here’s the best human disposal, and he would love the food here.

Enough about food. I want to tell you guys some of the highlights throughout yesterday and today. In the morning, everyone has their chores to attend to (such as sweeping, mopping, tidying the bathrooms, etc), and I was AMAZED at how the children do them with such happy hearts. No questions asked, no complaining, they just get them done with a smile on their faces. What a stark difference from the US (for those of you who always happily did your chores, I appaulogize for my generalization). After that, the children spend the majority of the day playing and just hanging out. They ride scooters around the wrap-around porch, they play Uno and other card games, they play with Legos and other small toys, they play some Domino game (that even after watching for about 30 minutes, I still didn’t understand), they do little crafts (today they made beautiful Christmas tree ornaments out of beads and that rubbery craft string), and for an hour in the afternoon they watch a Guatemalan comedy (it seems pretty dumb if you ask me, but the kids really enjoy it and it gives us a nice break, so who am I to complain). ☺

Fantastic Quality in Guatemalans:
Unlike many Americans, they seem to truly put others before themselves (what a fantastic way to show Christ through your actions!). Yesterday, I filled a little bowl full of some of the Starburst Jellybeans that Poppa bought and put it on the table where the children were playing. They were all very appreciative and seemed to really enjoy them (thank you for sending that candy Poppa), but let me tell you, they went fast. ☺ Anyway, about 2 hours later when Karen got home (she and Mike had been out to the bank), Francisca, the oldest of the girls at 14, pulled out a crumpled up napkin from her pocket. As she carefully unwrapped it to show a tiny jellybean, I realized what she had done. It was all I could do to hold back the tears. She had thought of Karen and how she wasn’t there to enjoy the treat, so she had saved one of her jellybeans to give to her. What a minuscule thing it must have been to Francisca (as I’m sure it was just second nature to put others before herself), but what a precious and beautiful lesson for me- the smallest things can mean SO much to a person when they come out of complete selfless love.

Anyway, as expected, I’ve fallen in love with the children. They are all very unique (oops, sorry Poppa, I know how you hate “very unique”)… Correction: They are all unique in their own specials ways, and although I can’t understand much of what they say, I feel like I’m getting a pretty good idea of their personalities.

Michael Jose:
He is the youngest of the children, and is Mike and Karen’s adopted son. He is absolutely adorable, with a huge smile and extremely loving personality. All throughout the day, he’ll randomly come up to you and give you a hug and a kiss. It’s so funny- when he doesn’t know the word for something, he calls it “Holly.” We have no idea why, but “Holly” can be anything from a person to a kind of food to a bug outside. It definitely makes me laugh. For a three year old (almost four, I think) he is very well behaved, and everyone loves him to death.

Danny is five years old, and he is the most difficult of the lot (in my opinion). He is very sweet, but he worries me quite a bit. Karen said that when he was younger, his mother used to use him for begging purposes, and he would act out to get attention. Danny has been known to have seizures, but other than the obvious health problems that can come from this, he realized that he gets a lot of attention when he has a seizure, so all throughout the day he’ll kind of fake one when he’s not getting attention. It scares me to death, because he really does spazz out and make very strange facial expressions (Karen calls it his “monkey face”), and it’s hard for me to tell if he’s faking it or not… Danny is precious, but he definitely has a checkered past and some health problems, so please pray that God will either place His healing hands on him, provide some kind of medical care to help him, or simply teach me how to care for him in a manner that would help calm his anxiousness and show him that I’ll give him attention without him having to act out to receive it.

Pedro is seven, and the first child that I bonded with. As Karen told me from the get-go, he is absolutely STARVED of affection and physical touch. He often comes and curls up in my lap, and he is very patient with me as far as my poor Spanish is concerned. He is a sweet little boy, and although he’s not perfect (he threw the biggest hissy-fit about taking a shower last night), he has stolen my heart. ☺

I think she is nine, but I could be wrong (I’ll have to get back with you on that one). She is the youngest of the girls, and EXTREMELY reserved. Mike and Karen say that for now she is just “flying under the radar,” and I can definitely see that. She’s so low key that she could probably get away with a lot and no one would know it because she’s so quiet. It took a lot to break through with her yesterday. She was pouting about something and I had to keep at it for about 30 minutes to get her to take her hands away from her crying eyes and smile. BUT once I did, it was like a huge breakthrough, and she will now play with me and let me come close to her. She doesn’t seek out physical affection like the others do, but when I give it to her (like rubbing her back and playing with her hair during tv time), she seems to like it.

Well, that’s got the younger kids covered, but it’s almost time for devotions so I’ll have to give a 4-1-1 on the older girls later. Love to you all!

1 comment:

  1. God works pretty fast doesn't he? It sounds like prayers are already being answered! The jellybean story is awesome!