Last Sunday was our first outing with the two children that we have sponsered since last winter. We have sponsered other children in the past through other amazing organizations but we wanted to sponser some kids that we would have the chance to meet this winter. Little Lluvia and her brother Cesar have had their sweet faces on our fridge for several months. We have corresponded and looked forward to meeting them in person.
We met them shortly after our arrival here but this was the first day to actually go on an outing to them. To la playa (the beach)!
This was the third beach we have visited since we arrived in Baja Norte. Another beautiful day with some beautiful kids.
Lluvia (her name is rain in english) worked her way into her 'Tio's" heart pretty quickly.
Roman met up with some fishermen returning to the beach. They let him check out their strange and colorful collection.
Cesar was one happy boy playing in the waves. He had been very stand-of-ish and shy towards us in the previous weeks but we saw a new side to him that afternoon.
After getting everyone dried off and changed the kids played at a nearby playground while we ordered supper at a beach side restaurant. Cesar rehearsed over and over again what he was planning to order. He practiced saying in a very grown up and polite way "I would like to order french fries and a strawberry soda please" (in spanish of course). He was over the moon excited about those french fries and his own soda.
This is what we had hoped was many outings with these two kids but the next morning we caught wind that they were unexpectadely leaving to return to mom. I'm so glad we had a chance to say goodbye and send them off with some photos and a couple little gifts from Tia and Tio.
With each closed door another one opens. We promptly marched ourselves over to the sponsership office and knew which children we were going to sponser next.
We are now the proud Tia and Tio (aunt and uncle) to Minerva and another little boy Alejandro.
They are both new to the orphanage and something about them has tugged at our hearts since we arrived. It was so much fun to go to Minerva (with the lady who does the sponsership) and tell her that we had picked her. That smile that beamed accross her face was priceless! She now proudly calls us Tia and Tio. All the little girls love Nathanael. He is like a big silly kid magnet. He sat in church the other day surrounded by 4 girls ages 8-11...all fighting over who would hold his hand. He walked back with them holding onto his hands and the back of his shirt. One of those girls was Minerva who can now proudly say "he's my tio". Aili admitted to feeling jealous sharing her daddy with her peers but she understands.
They are just craving healthy love and attention so much. We have a lot of background information on both of our new kids which is nice. I won't go into details but it would break your heart. No child should have to live through what these two kids have. Neither one even knows their birthday or how old they are. No one has ever loved them enough to keep track. They are from different "families" but have both experienced profound abuse and neglect. It makes me cry just to think about how they each came to be here. Minerva arrived after running away from a mother who was attempting to kill her, since then her mother has changed her mind and asked for her back so she can sell her. Just imagine what that does to a child emotionally.
Its been a LONG week of infirmity. I suspect it will be the first of many many strange and strong Mexican viruses that knock us out this winter. When we were here 4 years ago we had our share of illness. We have been fortunate to go for the first couple weeks here with no problems at all.
Nathanael was talking to the young dr. we have on staff at the mission and he was explaining that the kids that come from Canada and the States have the hardest time with the colds and flus here on the Baja. He said he had been reading that in Canada viruses get wiped out and stopped before they can mutate too many times and get super strong. For whatever reason..climate, environnment, population and knowledge about transmission. He told us in Mexico the viruses just keep building and mutating season after season. Not only do we have very little immunity to the variety of viruses here but they are stronger than the colds we are used to . I can attest to that!
At home we are rarely ever sick and if a cold does come around our immune systems wipe it out before it causes us much misery. Here we get colds that knock us out, fill us up and last for a long time. I'm pretty much in mucas misery right now.
I'm trying to keep our immune systems as strong as possible. Limiting sugar and trying to get lots of rest and nutrition. The nutrition is something we have to work at here. The basic food groups here in the cafeteria are hydrogenated vegi oil , starch and sugar.
Good stuff. There are a couple educated woman working here that are currently trying to retrain the cooks in healthier prep methods and using vegitables etc. We are grateful for the food provided us and it is very tasty but like my hubby said "It'll keep us alive another day but it will slowly kill us". :) I planted a tiny garden in our plot but it will take a while.
The whole H1N1 virus thing thats going around like wild fire all over North America has everyone a little jumpy. What's likely just a bad cold has me attempting to isolate our family from mainstream activities here. There are many babies and children here in frail health and I would hate to transmit something yucky to them.
The hardest hit this week was Roman. He is still sick. His fever has gone down a bit today but his breathing was getting very bad (very loud and wheezy and he was looking a little blue around the gills) so we called over the doc. Its so nice to have one on staff full time here now. He serves the orphanage, the staff, as well as the surrounding community. He found Roman a nebulizer and we'll give that a try. I would say that Roman is my healthiest kid back home. He never so much as catches colds. He does have the weakest lungs though.
After days of being cooped up in a 30 ft trailer with sick kids I'm ready to drug us up and re integrate ourselves into life here...at least once the fevers are gone. So far we're just waiting on Roman.