The kids who call me "Tia" (Auntie)

We were glad to see their "house" was still standing in one piece. It wasn't much worse for wear and because they are on the side of a hill the water had mostly drained away leaving little river ruts throughout their yard and the dirt floor of their house.
As I looked up at the ceiling in their home I saw expanses of daylight where the roof and the walls should normally meet. In those gaps muddy clothing was haphardarzly stuffed in an attept to keep out the driving rain. The roof itself is little more than a patch work of boards , carboard and scrap plastic. My kids were safe and smiling but the soggy mattress and the little dry water ruts through the floor of their tiny shack told a story of the very cold wet days they had survived.
Only a few more weeks kids. A new house is on its way. I wish it had been built before the storm but there may be more rain on its way this winter being that it is an "El Nino" year.
Please pray that the road will be opened and the house building plans and material supply would not be effected by the flood.

I love Ramiro's smile! He's got the biggest smile I've ever seen. He has the mischeivous eyes to match.
Sadly he reminds me of a little stray puppy, learning to survive a cruel world any way he can. My heart breaks for the future that this world holds for a boy like him. So many cycles to overcome. I hope and pray that with Gods help he can break those dark cycles of poverty, uneducation, desperation and substance abuse. He was created for so much more. That boundless energy and those sparkly eyes shouldn't be wasted.

The children's mom and Minerva were both away somewhere so it was just the four little ones. Our own kids (and us) had a good time playing with them and running up and down the street in front of the house. 7 year old Carmela ran up and down the street driving a pair of old bike handle bars. Next best thing to a bike is an imagination I guess.
We brought a few food items and a jar of soup but it was apparent they needed some more basics. Tio (Uncle) drove down to the nearby store and brought back a couple bags of staples. Pinto beans of course. The biggest hit, other than the little package of cookies (whats an uncle for?), was the bottle of "chili". I've never seen kids so excited about a bottle of hot sauce! It had never occurred to me that a much loved condiment like "chili" is a luxerious extra. The three year old girl actually squirted it into her mouth! I wish I had a picture of that. :)

Sweet shy little Lousia is slowly warming up to her big white Auntie and Uncle. This time she came running out to the car along with the others with a big smile on her face. She usually stays hiding in the house or behind someones leg throughout our visits. I haven't lured any snuggles from her yet but she got close enough for some gentle tickles and smiles. Ramiro and Carmela keep my arms and lap full anyway.

Isn't she a gorgeous little girl?

I am going to miss these kids! I wish I could bring all five of them home with me. I look forward to our weekend visits with them all week.

Ramiro enjoying a cookie.

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