Today was "visitation day" at the orphanage, which means many of the children have family members or parents who come to visit them for the afternoon. Because there are a good number of children here to who do not have anyone who visits them, the staff here steps in. We are all encouraged to make the day special for the children without visitors. An outing to the park, a trip to a taco stand ,or an afternoon at the beach are all common occurances on visitor Sunday.
This happens once a month.


We grabbed 3 extra kids this afternoon and went to a nearby beach. This is what we found there. The whole beach is covered in branches, debris and even whole trees with the roots. It is a true testament to the force and power of water during a flood. Every street became a river that flowed down to the ocean.
It is now a giant stock pile of firewood! Since wood here is often in short supply people were loading up their cars, trucks and backs will all the wood they could carry.


This is Alejandro, the boy we sponsor, and Javier who is new to the childrens home. He and his 3 siblings were brought here out of neccesity. Their mother is 9 months and 10 days pregnant and their home was washed completely away in the flood. It was fun to be able to take him out for some fun in the ocean.

The weather was cool today...a high of about 15 degrees and windy. Not exactly swimming weather. Of course we began by teling the boys that they could play on the sticks and get their toes in the water but not their clothes.

As you can see....they got a little more than their toes wet.

They started by getting the bottoms of their roled up jeans wet and then in an effort to "not get their clothes wet", stripped into their underwear. The funny part about that was Javier actually had brought swim trunks along in a bag. Which in itself is unusual...since swimwear is an uneccesary luxery. Also, because appropriate beach wear for the people here often includes a parka and toque.

Javier asked to go back to the car so I went back with him and unlocked the door. The next thing I knew he was stripping and putting on swim trunks...with his underwear still on thankfully. He went running down to the water to meet Alejandro and without hesitation pulled off his trunks and jumped into the water in his undies.

It was really a very funny thing to watch. The trunks (which I'm sure he's never owned or worn before) made it home without getting wet.

Getting everyone back to the car was a bit of an adventure as well. The big boys changed back into their slightly wet jeans and since stripping seemed to be the activity of choice.... Silas decided to join in the fun. After a sprint down the populated beach to catch a very white, very naked little boy (who had a head start) we all made it into the car, pride intact. My wet, naked, casper colored boy sprinting along the waters edge may make for some good dinner time laughter around many a pot of beans tonight. It definately brought some pointing, giggling and gasps of horror (he may have caught his death!) among the crowds of firewood gatherers.


This little girl was still giggling!
There were so many people and children with unbelievable loads tied to their backs. I didn't take any pictures because I didn't want to look like a dorky tourist. Ahem.... because we were blending in so well at that point. I did get one of the little girl. I figured since she kept smiling at me and pointing and giggling at Silas it wouldn't be too rude to snap a picture :)
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..we all scream for icecream!

I love this picture of Arnoldo so I had to post it first.


...but first we had to get to the park. Mexican style. 15 people in our SUV! Its amazing how space efficient it is when you fold down all the seats.


Who wants icecream?!

Tino enjoying his strawberry cone.


After we ate icecream we made use of the playground at the same park. The kids (and grown ups) played, mostly on the spinning puke machine, for about an hour. And yes, there was vomit invovled. Enough said.

We did have fun though!
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Family bike ride...finally!.

Family bike rides are something that we enjoy doing together as a family, at least in the summer. The rest of the year the snowdrifts and frigid cold keep us in family movie nights.

The kids have been thoroughly enjoying thier rides since we got here but Nathanael's and my bikes were disassembled for transport. Two weekends ago we finally got them put back together and this weekend enough was dry enough to get out and use them. I won't tell you how much nagging was involved in getting the tires back on my bike...because of course I don't nag.


It was nice to get out for some excercise and some exploring the side streets of town.


I think Silas enjoyed his ride too.

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Silas and his new pets....they didn't last too long.


Roman likes doing strange things with his "crystals".


A Mexican birthday party.
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Prayers for Ronel

I came accross Ronel's story this morning. Ronel is an orphan in Haiti who was rescued, nursed back to health (was 28lbs and about 7 years old) and has been waiting for a year to go home to his forever family. His bags were packed, they lengthy thorough process was finished and he waited at the airport to fly to his new home. Then UNICEF stepped in......

Just one face and one story of the many many orphans being affected by people with good intentions,bad procedure and too much politcal influence.

Ronel's Story


Seal beach part 2




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Seal Beach

Last month we took a drive down to "seal beach" with some friends. We had heard about it but really didn't know what to expect. We didn't come away dissapointed. We were able to watch seals, climb on wierd sand dunes and explore the beautifully strange coastline.

It was a little hard on my nerves as I envisioned all the ways my children could plummet into the surging depths below but we managed to all survive our afternoon of exploring.




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Agua de vida




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After our morning outing it was decided we would return to that same community in a few hours with pots of soup and loaves of bread that were already being prepared. I convinced my husband to keep up the role swap at home so I could go out in the afternoon and help with the makeshift soup kitchen. At 2pm we packed a couple vehicles full of people, blankets and food and set out for a return trip.





We had plenty of food and we even had bread left over to send home with people. The elderly lady holding the garbage bag kindly offered to gather up the bowls and spoons for us.

It was such a joy to work along side other staff providing encouragment,hope and a hot meal.
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Yesterday, I had the opportunity to go out with a few others from "Alcance" (our outreach ministry)while my husband held down the fort at home. It was a much needed break from my normal routine and it was SO nice to be involved in some of the post-flood efforts. I rode along with Olga, Pancho and Isreal in the morning as they visited different homes and looked for the worst hit communities. The highway is open now and we are able to venture out further. The trip was good practice for my struggling spanish skills.

I was shocked at one low lying community that we found. There were still big lakes of water and the mud was everywhere, including inside peoples houses. Lines on the walls of the homes showed how high the water had risen during last weeks flooding. One mother explained how the water in her house had been up to her waist. She had to hold her kids up out of the water as she tried to find a way out.

This same mother had been meticulously washing all the filthy mud drenched blankets and clothes when we arrived. She had been hard at work scrubbing each item by hand until she had run out of water.

In Vicente Guerrero the towns water supply has been cut off because the wells were all in the dry river bed along with the pumps and pipes. Those have all been destroyed and will need to be replaced. Most people don't have running water but pay a truck to fill their water barrels. In the community we visited clean usable water was also scarce.

Food and animals were also been washed away or destroyed leaving people without even basic neccessities.




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