Casa Suyapa entrants in the "Christmas" category
The activity last night, a sort of co-ed beauty contest, was hilarious. Boys and girls from all houses competed in the categories of “casual wear,” “sports wear,” and “Christmas.” Most of the kids were seated by house and would cheer wildly when their candidate’s turn would come up. Each kid would come out in their outfit, accompanied by some rock music, and parade around the center, stopping to strut their stuff before the judges. It was funny to see that pretty much every “sport” costume involved soccer.
Sports category entrant
It was impossible to resist the little ones all dressed up, but it was also neat to see the older kids having a ball. The dress code was quite tame according to our standards (this is a Catholic school after all!) – no kids in skimpy swimsuits, for instance, but it was nice to have the more innocent air about the whole contest.
Casa Suyapa in the sports category
I ended up sitting with Betsy and Picklebee next to the aisle while DaddyFrog and Monkeywrench sat with the Hermanas de Jesus, the girls dorm that has taken Alice under their wing. A handicapped girl in a wheelchair was sitting next to Picklebee, and partway through the show, she took out a little bag, that you could tell was quite precious to her, and pulled out a mini candy cane and handed it to Picklebee. Picklebee’s eyes lit up, and she said “gracias.” I split the candy cane so that she and the other girl could share it. Once again, the generosity here is amazing.
The generous candy-cane sharer
The show was obviously going to last for a while, so Picklebee and I lit out early to go to bed at 10 PM. I don’t know how these kids manage to stay up so late! Even the wee ones were there at the show. Most of the kids have to get up at 5, too, to do their chores before breakfast at 7 AM. Maybe that schedule is relaxed over the holidays.
In the morning we all had breakfast of a banana, sweet cookie/bun, and sweetened milk from the Rancho kitchen. We supplemented it with a bit of granola and some fried eggs from the Rancho chickens. Yum! I even had a hot shower afterwards – I’ve finally figured out how to get the hot water down to where we are. I even had to add some cold water to make it comfortable! It’s amazing how attached we are to our creature comforts.
The Honduras NPH school
Marcia, a visiting volunteer from Minnesota, had invited us to go with her to Casa Suyapa, the house for boys and girls about 8 and under. She had several crafts all ready to go – foam snowmen, a foam Noah’s Ark scene, and pages to color on with crayons. Marcia is so open-hearted but is also amazingly organized – she and her husband Dale brought several suitcases of stuff like this down with them to share with the kids. We hadn’t been over to Casa Suyapa yet, so I was eager to go, since the kids there would be the ones who are MonkeyWrench and Picklebee’s age. When we got there, we talked to the house leader, and she told us that in just a bit they were going to go down to the school, and we could do the craft there.
Bathrooms at Casa Suyapa - nice tile!
Bunkbeds in the small girls dorm room
Little Sarai gave us a tour of where she lived – the room with the bunkbeds and cribs, the bathroom, the laundry room, and the playground, all set around a beautiful courtyard garden. MonkeyWrench and Picklebee loved seeing everything, and immediately joined in the fun going on in the playground. When the time came to walk down to the school (about a half mile walk from their dorm), a maybe 7ish year old boy with autism, launched himself into my arms. Alice held hands much of the way with Sarai and another boy, and Muriel and I walked ahead with the autistic boy, carrying him for much of the way. He’s so lucky to be in a place like the Rancho, but it was still heart-wrenching to see – the kids as a whole just need so much attention, and so does he.
Sarai helping Picklebee up the stairs at the playground
Fun on the merry go round
The craft went over very well – the kids were well behaved and enjoyed putting together the foam pieces of the snowmen and Noah’s ark, some fun Christmas stickers, as well as coloring with new crayons. (Don’t you remember the joy of opening a new box of sharp crayons? Ahhh…). It was windy, and the little paper garbage pieces got blown all around. It reminded me that importing our first world culture definitely has its dark sides. Marcia had thoughtfully also brought along little bags of m+m’s for the kids afterwards, and you could hear the sounds of “chocolate!” reverberate throughout the covered gym we were in.
Picklebee doing coloring with a new friend
I have to have my proud Mama moment and add that I was really proud of Monkeywrench in one instance. She had done her craft and had been given an extra line of stickers that she came over to show me. I looked at her and commented that kids here didn’t get stickers very often. She looked back at me and went over to Sarai and gave her her stickers with a smile. I was quite proud of her, and glad she is learning a bit of the kids’ generosity.
Picklebee and Sarai sharing m+m's
The guys have been working on the bridge most of the day, stopping for lunch. The big poles for the bridge were delivered by truck, and then came the difficult part of figuring out how to get them across the bridge.
The logs arrive for the bridge
But with two engineers heading up the project (DaddyFrog and Carl), they figured out some nifty rope and pulley systems, and with the aid of the tractor from the farm, they got them across. They had to head back into Tegucigalpa to pick up some more building supplies. As you can imagine from the tiny hardware store I showed in an earlier post, some supplies can be difficult to find.
DaddyFrog figuring out how to get the logs across the bridge
On the docket for the Rancho kids this afternoon and early evening is the soccer games for the older kids – a big deal here, as you can imagine. We’ll probably join watching in the stands about dinner time, after Picklebee’s nap. The Rancho kids are having a good time on their Christmas vacation, and so are we. Hasta luego!