Yesterday we had the kids over for a play day again. Nathanael went and picked them up at lunch time while I prepared chorizo and eggs, refried beans, hot off the grill tortillas, cheddar cheese brought from the U.S, and a variety of local produce and spicy condiments. I can't help but love these kids with food. A full belly and a tasty meal with friends crosses all languages and cultures. It is especially satisfying knowing that these kids typical diet is extremely basic and often lacking in fresh fruit and vegi's. It's fun to treat them too some "rico" extras like avocados, cheese, and cookies.
Every bit of it was gone in no time.
We pulled out the toys and "plasticina".
The big kids worked hard on a puzzle (games and puzzles happened to come with the house)
Silas was sweet with Gabriella. Little girls bring out a soft and gentle side to this boy, he enjoys his big brother role...even when it's not his own little sister.
Gabriella sure came out of her shell on the second visit. She has a very outgoing, confident, funny personality. Such a difference from older sister Louisa who is still timid and quiet.
She chattered all afternoon...she has quite a vocabulary.
Part way through the afternoon when things started to get a bit nutty we turned on Shrek 3.
Movie time is good for snuggles too.
Louisa playing with some of our Spanish flash cards. I sat and did a numbers 1-12 puzzle thing (matching numbers to the amount of objects) with Ramiro...oh boy. I suspect he's about 7 or 8 yrs (they don't seem to know their ages or birthdays) old and he has no concept of counting and number symbols. I wish I could have him over here everyday and teach him some basics! (The home school mom in me was all over that) In just the time spent at the table he could get most of the numbers from 1-10 right and was drawing them on a |Doodle Pro magnetic board (I'm sure his cooperation was due to the novelty of the tablet he was using). I wish he would go to school. He tried it for a few days and said it was boring and hasn't gone back. Seriously what boy that age would go to school entirely on their own ambition? Especially if they are going to a poor rancho school...and are already feeling behind the other kids. It's frustrating.
I have resolved myself to the reality that I have no way to get these kids in school (considering we're only here for a month of the year)....but I wish I could think of some way to motivate him....and a couple others. I've come to realize that my "job" as "Tia" (Auntie) to them isn't to fix them, make decisions for them, or mother them...it's to provide encouragement, unconditional love, a bit of fun and respite from the tough things of life...and a little bit of spoiling.
Alvaro is still in school and appears to be the golden boy of the family...the one Mama is putting her hopes in. It kind of makes sense because he is intelligent, ambitious, and responsible. As long as one is able to get an education and a decent job someday she may not be destitute when she is too old to work in the fields. It will be a hard climb for him though. There are so many practical, social, cultural and financial obstacles ahead of him. The native Triqui (migrated north from Oaxaca) culture is quite a bit different than much of mainstream Mexican culture. Even here in Mexico there is an underlying unspoken class system laced with bigotry. ugg...I wish the others could at least go for long enough to gain literacy which would open up so much more of the world to them.
It appeared that Alvaro was still wearing the uniform he got 3 years ago when he started school, so it was a huge privilege to be able to encourage his efforts with a new uniform. Tio went out and bought it this morning took it to him (it's a holiday here). He was so grateful and excited over something as simple as a $30 uniform. Nathanael got lot's of hugs and "muchas gracias Tio" over and over.
Even though I'm a little disappointed that Minerva has stopped her schooling only 3 years in, at the age of 16...I can't help but feel really proud of her too. Unlike most drop outs at home, she quit school to provide for her family...something she's been itching to do for a while now. She says she would rather work than go to school. I think part of it is that she doesn't feel like a school age kid anymore, in her culture she is a woman (and of marrying age as her mother has expressed). She wants to join the world of adults....while I can't help but feel sad that she missed much of just being a child. Kids grow up quickly here, many don't get to be kids at all. 9 year old Carmela has been the main childcare provider alone at home for the past 3 years. It's a bit mind boggling when you see 6 and 7 year old's mothering toddlers and babies. I can't change much of the way circumstances and culture is...but it is fun to give them a day of just being kids again.
We finished off our play day with pancake mix pancakes, yogurt, and a big bowl of fresh papaya and pineapple. Yup...loving them with food again.