Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The New Boy

This little boy joined us in the home. His name is Eduardo, but we call him Eddy. He is two years old, 11 pounds, and in 3 month old clothing. He is malnourished, has cerebral palsy, blind, and has a seizure disorder. Please pray for him as he has a long road ahead.

While holding him the song "Kings and Queens" by Audio Adrenaline kept playing in my head. "Little hands, shoeless feet, lowly eyes looking back at me. Will we leave behind the innocent to grieve?" "If not us, who will be, like Jesus to the least of these?" It just breaks my heart to see this little guy. He nearly gave me a heart attack the first time I held him though. He stopped breathing for a bit and his lips turned blue. I felt so helpless in that moment, but after I handed him off to Wanda, he let out a cry and started breathing again. They said he was having a seizure. I didn't want to hold him after that, afraid that it would happen again. But he is just too darn cute, I couldn't help it. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Saturday

On Saturday, Daryl barbecued hot dogs and hamburgers, and we all ate outside. It was so much fun, and the weather was great!




Somebody asked me how my Spanish was doing. Here at the home, I use Spanish with the kids, and caretakers, but with the other interns and family here I use English. I took three years of it in high school, and am far from fluent, but I'm able to practice it everyday and already have picked up so much. If anybody has any other questions, please feel free to ask. :)

Monday, June 27, 2016

The Catholic Procession

This Sunday I was looking forward to going to church, but we weren't able to because of the catholic procession. The streets to the church were closed. Here are some pics I took from the roof. 


Sunday, June 26, 2016

Happy Birthday Brayan!!!

Tomorrow is Brayan's 14th birthday. He has school tomorrow, so I asked if I could take him out to ice cream today. He was so excited, and ran all the way to the store, I could barely keep up. After looking at all the different kinds for a good while, he finally chose a strawberry cheesecake ice cream sandwich. Thankfully, we walked at a nice pace all the way home eating it. :) It was a lot of fun, and I'm glad I was able to share this moment with him. 


What would you call this?

Everyday the cook, Marcilena, is here, Wanda will either give her a specific meal to make, or give her ingredients and ask her to make something with them. The other day Wanda gave her groundbeef. She was able to use whatever else was is in the kitchen. That includes all the vegetables, rice, beans, etc. Well, you remember the big bag of carrots I posted earlier? Not only was it a big bag, but also huge carrots. Marcilena decided to hollow out the carrots, and stuff them with hard boiled eggs. Then, she wrapped the carrrot around with seasoned groundbeef. She then wrapped the whole thing in foil, and placed it in boiling water. Not just boiling water. But boiling water with some soy sauce in it. Hmm. When opening it up, the meat didn't stay on. The kids loved it, but none of the adults did. It was the strangest meal I've had here so far. 

Saturday, June 25, 2016

More Volcano Pics

Yesterday morning. The smaller one is the active volcano.

This morning

Last night

A Walk with Kimmie

This is the entrance to the home. There is a sign right above the door that says "Hogar de la Esperanza."

A couple days ago during free time I took Kimmie for a walk and I treated her to an ice cream. Yesterday, she asked if I could take her out again and she would treat me to a strawberry smoothie. She said that she knew a good place that had them. What she didn't tell me though was that it was about 3/4 of a mile away almost all uphill. I had to push her all the way there. What made things worse, was that she forgot where the place was and made me pass it quite a bit. We then turned around and started heading back downhill when she thankfully saw it. Here's a pic inside the little shop. It was quite an exhausting adventure, but a lot of fun. And the smoothies were great! But I don't think we'll be going there again anytime soon.

The lady inside was really sweet, and brought me out this little chair to sit on instead of the ground.

While walking we saw this bird chilling inside the wall.

Luckily, the Beyer's (another missionary family living here), saw us and gave us a ride home. I got to ride in the back of the pickup. :)

My Typical Weekday

Each day here is different, but the routine that pretty much stays the same is this.

8:00- start getting kids up. On some days, I help bathe the kids (boys and girls rotate days), other days I just help get them up, change them, and get them dressed.
8:30- Kids eat breakfast. During breakfast I help supervise, feed, and clean up the kids. Afterwards, we brush teeth and administer medicine to those who need it. We also do the girls' hair.
9:30-11:30ish- we split into our groups and begin "therapy". On Mondays I'm with the older kids Checha, Yeni, Bryan, and Humberto. Each kid gets 1/2 an hour of one on one time. I do stretches I learned with the kids with CP (Humberto and Checha). With Yeni and Bryan, I do some PE with them: push ups, jumping jacks, crab walk, etc. I also do interactive things to help their minds because they are both very delayed like coloring pages, puzzles, games, sorting things, etc. The other days I'm with Ruavis, Olympia, and Alison. Because they are so young, most of the time it's just playing with them one on one. Ruavis (has CP) needs stretches and hand braces put on. With Olympia (who has DS along with Alison) we are working on how to play with toys, and walking (she is sooo close). Alison does tummy time, and we are working with her on bearing weight, using her hands to grasp things, and feeding therapy.
11:30-12:30- all the groups are back in the living room, and we all just hang out with the kids until lunch. Everyday, they get read a bible story before lunch.
12;30- lunch time. Again I just help supervise, feed, and clean up the kids afterwards. After lunch, we check diapers, and than majority of the kids go down for a nap at 1:30.
1:30-5 (-4 on Fridays)- The interns get free time. There are two nannies in the home who watch the kids during this time. During the free time, I can nap, use my laptop, watch a movie, go for a walk, ride the bus to Antigua (I want to do this more often, but still haven't learned the route yet so can only go with other people), help around the house, etc. It is really a nice time since the mornings and evenings are so crazy. I normally play games with Josh and Jonathan, or go on walks with them and their sister Kimmie.
5- The interns watch/play with the kids again until dinner between 5:30 and 6.
After dinner we clean up, do dishes, and help watch the kids again.
7:30- we begin bedtime routine and brush teeth, administer medicine, and change diapers.
8- all the kids go to bed, and the rest of the evening is free time.

Again, this is just an outline of the day. So many other things often take place, and the days just seem crazy! But it's all good. :)


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Two Weeks

So today makes two weeks, actually fifteen days, but still. Two weeks since I left my family, friends, and home behind to come to Guatemala. Honestly, it hasn't been easy. In fact, the first week was VERY overwhelming, and I thought "oh no, what did I get myself into?" Since coming here, I can say that I've probably changed 100 diapers (some were pretty big messes), learned individual therapy for 13 kids, gotten thrown up on, given many bathes, and so much more. I've also felt very homesick at times, and have just wanted to cry. With all this, you're probably wondering why I'm still here. Why would someone like me want to come here to help in a special needs orphanage? It's because the pros absolutely outweigh the cons. When I make these kids smile or laugh, it makes it all worth it. When Yeni finally can call me by name (she pronounces it hoonya), I can't describe the feeling that comes over me.  It's because during the tough times, I know I can depend on God and He gives me the strength, energy, and patience to keep going.  It's because God tells us that whatever we do for the least of these, we are doing it for Him. 

Matthew 25:40 "The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'"

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I am definitely not a photographer. I wish I could truly capture the beauty of this place. When I go on walks and look up at the mountains, I feel like I'm at Disneyland where the backdrops look so real, but are fake. I hope you get what I mean. I'm also not that good of a writer, so I'm sorry if I don't always make sense. Here's a few pics from my most recent walk. 





Tonight, Wanda said that she saw the volcano erupt again. I went up to the roof, and stayed out there for a good half hour. During that time, we would occasionally see it burst, and flow. It was so amazing. Up on the roof, I was just able to feel God's presence and power. The breeze, stars shining so bright, the mountains, and volcano, it was just a really special moment and I felt very close to God. I'm looking forward to going up there more. These are two pictures I took but again, they don't do what I saw justice at all. 


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I want to thank everyone so much for keeping me in your prayers, and again thank you all who donated to help make this trip happen. I wouldn't be able to experience any of this without you guys. Some specific prayer requests would just be to help ease the home sickness I'm feeling. Also, if you could please pray that the bugs find someone else to bite. Even with bugspray I seem to be one of the only ones that are getting bit multiple times. Thank you!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Best Laugh Ever!


Random Pictures

I looked out the window this morning, and saw the cook come in with this huge bag of carrots on her head. It's so heavy, I don't know how she did it.  It only cost 30 quetzales, about 4 USD. 

This room serves as the therapy room and the play room. I love all the different things on the walls. 


Yeni is probably the most random person I know. She will sometimes decide to come up and sit on my lap. She will grab my hands and clap them together. She will pull off my socks and try to smell them. Yesterday, I was sitting by her on the couch, and she kept calling for the dog Daisy. The way she pronounces it is so cute. Once the dog came, she licked Yeni's hand, and she immediately wiped it on my leg. You never know what she is going to do.

This is where I hang my clothes on the roof to dry every Friday. 

If anybody has any questions about what I'm doing, or about any of the kids, feel free to ask them, and I'll try and answer them the best I can. :)


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

A trip to Antigua

This is Alejandra. She is 14 years old and has cerebral palsy. She can communicate well with her ipad, and loves to smile and laugh. I have not seen her down at all. The other day I was working on a puzzle with her, which she loves. She got so excited after every piece she put in. 

This is Yeni. She has extreme cognitive delays and is on the autistic spectrum. She is super loving and loud at times. She loves to color and wear her sandals. They are the first thing she grabs when she wakes up in the morning. 

The other day, I got to go into Antigua with 2 of the other girls here. We got to ride what they call a "chicken bus". The ride was absolutely crazy. You would literally be inches away from the other cars going at pretty fast speeds. The way to Antigua wasn't crowded, but on the way back the bus was absolutely full. People were sitting 3 to a seat and the aisles were crammed. Fun, fun fun! (I say sarcastically)

They showed me the Mcdonalds in town. It had indoor sitting along with this beautiful courtyard where people can eat. Can you see Ronald McDonald on the bench? 

One night Josh called me outside and said he heard a toad, but couldn't see it. We got flashlights and started looking for it. Sure enough, there was this huge one sitting under a tree. I was too scared to grab it at first so Jonathan did and then handed it to me. 

It was huge!

That same night Wanda said that you could see lava on the volcano. Most nights you can't because it's too cloudy. I quickly grabbed my camera and ran to the roof. They say that some nights you can see a lot more of it, but I was happy to at least get a glimpse of it. The picture does not do it justice at all. 


Monday, June 13, 2016

The weekend

The weekend here is very lax compared to the rest of the week. The kids don't go to school, and we don't have a strict schedule. It was a nice break from the craziness of the week. This place is very much run like a home instead of the typical orphanage. Everybody was just together either watching movies, working on a puzzle, or chilling outside. I made chocolate chip cookies too. They have a gas oven so they cooked differently, but still turned out good. 

On Sundays, they do rotations. Every Sunday half of the kids go to church with half of the helpers. The ones that stay home watch a video and have a discussion afterwards. I stayed home this week and the video we watched was part of the Brand New series by Andy Stanley. It was really good and focused a lot on Matthew 22:37-40 and 25:31-46.

Also, to make things easier, the people that go to church, which is about 20min away, bring home pizza. What kind of pizza? Little Caesar's pizza! Let me just, it tastes way better here than in the states. :) 

Sunday, June 12, 2016

More of the kids

This is Humberto. He's four years old and has cerebral palsy. His smile and laugh are so sweet. Feeding him though is a challenge, and can take up to an hour. 


This is Cesar. He has severe cognitive delays. If you heard about his past before coming to this home, you would just want to cry. I'm not allowed to share it though. He is almost always carrying around a ball, but doesn't really understand the concept of rolling it or throwing it to play. We're working on that, along with so many other things a kid of his age should know. 

This is Checha. He is seventeen and has cerebral palsy. He is every polite, and loves hanging out with Josh and Jonathan. He recently got his electric wheelchair, and is getting the hang of it, but still will occasionally bump into things. 

This is Ruavis. He is two and has cerebral palsy, microcephaly, and is blind. He is one of the kids that I do therapy with. He has such a sweet nature, and his smile is the best!

This is the outside area where the kids get wheeled for fresh air. The purple hanger has a bunch of washcloths on it. Each kid has their own color. I know about 5 so far, so still a bit I need to learn. 

Merlyn and Olympia are such great cuddlers!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

These Boys

Today I went on a walk with these three boys. The one on the left is part of the home. His name is Bryan and he has extreme cognitive delays. He is super helpful and sweet. I kicked a soccer ball around with his today, and every time he kicked he would say "goal". It was so cute. Now the other two boys are named Jonathan and Josh. They are absolutely crazy, but super polite. I say crazy because Jonathan (the one standing) will ride on the back of his brother's wheelchair through the streets at pretty good speeds. They say they've fallen a few times, but they still do it. It scares me every time. The parents that run the home adopted them both while they still lived in the states. I've played quelf, chess, mastermind, and Egyptian war with them during free time. Josh (the boy in the chair) loves to pull pranks on me though, He's scared me a couple times, almost got me to eat something that wasn't edible, and pretended to be sick when he wasn't. It's all been good though, and I love having them around. However, I finally got him back today. I brought with me some gumballs, but before I gave them to him, I got them a little wet and rolled them in salt. I told him they were sour gumballs. When he put one in his mouth, his reaction was priceless. The war has official started. If anyone has ideas how to prank middle school boys, feel free to let me know. :) 


Friday, June 10, 2016

Hermano Pedro

I am in awe of how beautiful God's creation is. It is just so lush and green, the complete opposite of where I live. I'm currently in a town called San Antonio Aguas Calientes. It is nicknamed the bowl and just surrounded by mountains and trees. Sorry it's not that great of a picture. 



This is me in front of the streets of Antigua. We drove here the other day to visit an institute called Hermano Pedro that has a lot of people with special needs, especially cerebral palsy. It has different wards with all the ages from kids, to adults in their 30's and 40's. Let me just say, it was really really hard to walk through it. The condition of the people there was just heartbreaking. I wasn't able to take pictures inside of it, but majority of the "residents" were in metal cribs cages. It is cribs when you are sleeping in it, cages when you live in it. And most of them were not big enough for the person inside of it. It was just so sad seeing the condition of the people. Most of their bodies were deformed and twisted, and they were just laying there with no stimulation. We would walk by and talk to them and touch them, and they would smile, and hold your hand and not let go. That's all they want. Love and attention. Sadly there just isn't enough workers/volunteers to meet the needs that each of the residents so desperately need. The workers do enough to keep them alive, but there just isn't enough time or man power or money to do everything from laundry, changes, feeding, therapy, playing, and so much more. I'm looking forward to going again while I'm here. 

This is my mom and me in front of the entrance to it. 

This is the van that the ministry has. If you look close enough, you can see me sitting behind the driver, Wanda. 

Aside from all that, things have been going well. There was an earthquake here the other day that woke me up in the middle of the night. They say it is quite common, and they rarely are very serious. The food has been great. There is a cook here in the home named Maria and she is one of the sweetest ladies I've ever met. The parents of the home have two sons, ages 11 and 13, that are pretty great. I've been hanging out with them a lot, and they've shown me so much. I'll share more about them later in a separate post.