15 kids!

This Saturday we house-sat for Casa 5. The tally of children included 10 kids from the orphanage, 2 kids that belong to the house mother, and our 3. For a whopping total of 15!
Our hopes of a day spent outside running around at the playground and playing soccer was foiled by heavy rains and a lot of mud. So we watched movies. I think about three of them over the course of the day. We were there for about 9 hours. Ironically the favorite movie that we brought was Annie. I wasn't sure if it was insensitive or funny to show Little Orphan Annie to a group of kids living at an orphanage. Ironic maybe. We brought a book full of movies and thats what they picked. They loved it. I know for a fact that there aren't any Ms. Hannigans here but I think every kid dreams of a Daddy Warbucks. I don't know if I spelled those names right ...but you know who I'm talking about. I'll be singing "manana, manana..." (Tomorrow, Tomorrow) for days to come :)

My hubby testing out his house parenting skills for a day. He did very well considering he was exhausted from a crazy busy weeks work, and considering his limited Spanish skills. Timeouts and the 'I mean business' eyes tend to cross all language barriers. We didn't have too many problems though, nothing more than a few meltdowns and little boy fights to break up. They were all really good...surprisingly good even.
The girls pooled their Barbie supply and had a good time playing and making houses.

What else can you do on a rainy day with 15 kids? Make a yummy chocolate mess!

My new bakers apprentice Arnoldo. I had so much fun showing him how to dump in ingredients and stir it all together. He wanted to do it all!

Little Tino enjoying the finished product. Brownies fresh from the oven. People here don't do a lot of baking, probably because most people don't have ovens . When they do they aren't really accustomed to using it to bake. Tortillas are the bread of choice here and they are cooked on top of the stove. Baking brownies was a pretty new experience I think. If I looked after all those little ones day in and day out I certainly wouldn't have time for home baking but since I was a house mom for just one day I could have some fun with them.

Victoria had a turn at stirring the batter too.


I just realized this is the exact same pose and the same clothes as I was wearing in the other picture in a previous post. I don't make it into very many pictures...you would think I could at least be more creative :)

Lunch time with that many kids is a major event. We even had to cook since the cafeteria was closed. The house mom, God bless her, got up very early to prepare and cook a chicken so all we had to do was some vegi's. We had kids sitting all over the place. The actual living area/table kitchen area in this Casa is pretty small. The rest of the house is bedrooms...which don't usually double as play rooms. It's a bit of a constrast to the huge houses with whole basements and bedrooms full of toys that kids have at home....usually with only a couple kids. It works for the most part though....when its not raining :)

We had a really good day over all. I am wondering, actually, why we didn't do this with each of the Casa's earlier in our trip. Maybe because my Spanish is only now decent enough to parent with. Not good enough for deep conversation and couselling kids through troubles but I can get them doing what they need to do and warn them to keep out of the mud with not too much linguistic trouble.
It was a crazy busy, exhausting day trying to keep track of, entertain, and keep that many kids out of the mud and rain but it was so memorable too. I was a "good tired" at the end of the day. It felt great to be of use, to give the substitute housemother a much needed break (the usual houseparents are on break this week). I can't imagine how she does it all week alone. It was crazy busy with two of us there parenting!
It was nice to be useful for a change anyway and to do the one thing I know how to do...be a mom :)
I have such a huge respect for the houseparents and the substitute house mothers here. What an enourmous responsibility and task to love and parent this many kids. They are all kids with difficult histories, issues and often backgrounds of abuse and neglect. Not unlike the kids in the foster system back home in Canada. They are not only providing all the normal things parents do but they are dealing with kids who have attachment disorders, food issues, hording issues, displaced anger and emotions, and all the symptoms of a childhood thats been interupted.
Pray for our houseparents here. They are called by and used of God to work miracles in these kids lives. All the houseparents love these kids and work to make as normal and healthy an atmosphere here for them as possible. It's a challenging, selfless, stressful and often lonely task.

1 comment:

Valen and Carol said...

I think "Annie" would be a wonderfully ironic movie to watch but still lots of fun. Nathanael looks so large next to those tiny kids, I bet they love him. (we do!).