In Mexico school uniforms are as essential for school attendance as pencils and notebooks. Without the appropriate uniform children cannot attend school.
Since leaving the Children's Home Minerva and Alvaro have began attending a school in their own neighborhood. At 11 and 13 they are both in 2nd grade. They had never, before being interned at Hogar Para Ninos, attended school. They were unable to pay the fees, buy the needed supplies and they were expected to watch the younger siblings.
They have been attending school without uniforms (because it is a very poor neighborhood they make acceptions temporarily) but they had a deadline to have the appropriate attire.
These two are loving going to school but I can't imagine how humiliating it must be for them to be dressed in rags when every other child has matching school uniforms. No child wants to stand out that way.
Some money was raised (by a Sunday school class I think) and given to a friend of ours , who helped to dig the foundation for the new house, to help these kids. We decided to spend the money on something that would have the most impact on their lives.
The key to bring their generation out of extreme poverty.
So many doors open up for them if they can manage to graduate highschool.
This morning we had the privaledge of taking Minerva and Alvaro out shopping at "globos" in San Quintin. It was such a fun little outing that included snacking on churros and bags of fresh fruit pieces (with chili and lime of course). After leaving the market we went for lunch at a taco stand. It was amusing to watch skinny little Alvaro wolf down a huge torta. It was fun to treat them in such a small way (each meal was less than $3) before we go home. I know they were hungry, fruit is a luxery, and a whole pile of beef on a bun (a torta) is more meat than that boy has seen ....well probably since the last time we took him out. It was kind of like old times. Us and our two extra kids. They are such sweet kids, so gracious and appreciative.
I can't even describe how thrilled they were about these new outfits. Can you see it on their faces?
Just watching them look themselves over with pride was so entertaining.
I was amazed at the transformation myself. They are such gorgeous kids.
Here is Alvaro trying on shoes at "globos". I had such a fun time helping him find just the right shoes. He needed black shoes for school but finding the right size was tricky.
The little stores that set up only on Saturday don't typically have a lot of sizes in stock.
The handsome black leather shoes were such a contrast to the too-small worn out sandals he was wearing. I don't think I have ever seen ,or may ever see again, a boy so proud of a pair of shoes.
They are so proud of their new head to toe outfits. We made sure to get them with plenty of room so they can use them next fall too.
Little brother and sister are proudly sporting some "new" hand-me-downs as well.
I am starting to sort through and purge the clothes that we have worn all winter. Our cupboards will be pretty bare once I weed out all the worn out, too small and very sun faded clothing.
Did you notice the flowers they have planted in the little flower box? And the little Canadian flag?
Its nice to see them take responsiblity for, pride in and make improvements on what they were given. I think they must have gotten the little flag from one of the people who built the house. The funny thing was that the flag was upside down origionally. It makes sense , a leaf hangs down from a tree not up. A Canadian friend made sure to fix it before the picture was taken. I kind of thought it was cute.
Louisa has ,what looks like, her own little school uniform. Actually, she is the fourth little person to wear this outfit. It was given to Roman (last time we lived in Mexico), by some American friends who were leaving some clothes at the Children's Home. Then, a few years later, it was passed onto Silas...and from there this little girl with a huge smile. It was such a good quality little outfit that it was still in good shape!
I was glad to see Louisa healthy and smiling again. She was really sick last time we visited. She is such a little doll. I miss them already. I am going to miss them so much when we go back to Canada!
Next week here at the orphanage is a "Fiesta de Te" a giant tea party put on for all the little girls and their dolls. The cafeteria will be beautifully decorated and the little girls dressed in special dresses saved and made for the occasion. There will even be tables set specifically for their dolls (so I have heard anyway). Aili and I have have made arrangements to bring both Carmela (the girl standing behind Louisa in the striped shirt) and Minerva. I am SO excited to take these two girls, who have never in their lives had a birthday party, dressed like a princess, or even had a tea party ...to the giant princess themed fiesta.
I wish I could have captured for you the look on Carmela's face when I told her about it. I can't even describe the look of sheer awe and ecstacy on her face. I told her to bring her princess Belle doll (the one she recieved for Christmas). Now I just need to find some dresses for them.
I am filled right up to the brim with warm fuzzies right now. Sometimes giving and compassion here is a tricky thing and often leaves the giver feeling less than good about the situation. Often I feel even more helpless or sometimes even taken advantage of. There are all kinds of issues with and a very delicate balance between helping meet peoples most basic needs and creating attitudes of entitlement and dependancy. It's not all warm fuzzies. Sometimes there is compassion that in the long run is not all that compassionate.
It was fun to do something with someone and have it be just fun....and at the same time know that it's pouring love into their life.