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 :)