Friday, September 30, 2011

God Says I Am

Today I took a big, huge, giant step.  Or what felt like a huge step to me.  I started a weekly project with the older girls at Del Norte.  All in spanish.  With the help of a great staff friend who doesn't speak any spanish.  Every Friday afternoon for the next 10 weeks we will be talking about who God says we are.  It's a project I've been thinking about for several months, and just this week felt like God gave me some direction and clarity for what to do.  Each week is a different thing that God made us, with a page to decorate or pictures to take, and at the end of the semester each girl will have made their own book all about who God says they are.  Today I took their pictures for their covers and then we did the first page which was titled "I Am Unique".  After talking about the Bible verse (Psalm 139:14) and how God made us unique and wonderful they filled in their full name, birthdate, talked about who was in their family, and answered what was one special thing about them.  Their only instructions were to keep things positive, and other than that I let them write whatever they wanted.  I want this to be about what they think, not what someone told them, so I'm letting them write whatever they think.  Week 1 went great, and the boys were only a little bit upset that they couldn't join us.  They found a mud puddle outside and got over it pretty fast.
 The girls working around the table with the help of Miss Laura
 Maria is unique because she likes to read
 Debanhi is unique because she fights a lot.  Maybe she didn't understand the positive part?
Rosa is unique because she has a lot of friends
 Paola is unique because she is tall and beautiful
 Kassandra is unique because she is very kind.
 Brenda is unique because she has a lot of brothers and sisters and a mom
 Sarahi is unique because...well, she got bored and left before she could tell me.
Nallely is unique because she's learning English

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Casa Hogar Del Norte Update

A post without pictures!  I wanted to share a little update on my favorite children's home, Casa Hogar Del Norte, since the summer ended.  After working there 3-4 days a week this summer I realized that one of the ways we can best care for these 42 abandoned kids is to take good care of their caregivers.  There are 6 caregivers and 1 cook at Del Norte who share shifts, so there are 4 caregivers during the day and 2 at night.  For 42 emotional, abandoned kids, ranging from 11 months to 13 years old.  Obviously these women are exhausted.  Combine the need for caregiver support, my work last year with the babies and toddlers, and my social work background with older kids and what do you get???  My new schedule!

I now go to Del Norte 2 or 3 mornings a week to do early intervention and developmental activities with the littlest ones.  This obviously really helps the little ones and frees up that caregiver to get "household" things done while all the older kids are gone at school.  On those days I arrive around 9:30, get the babies changed and take them to the play room until noon, feed them all lunch, and then settle them for naps.  Then for fun I hang around with the older kids for lunch just to spend time with them.  On Fridays I go in the afternoons around 2:30 to spend time with just the older kids while the little ones are asleep.  We are going to make "Who Am I" or "Quien Soy Yo" books this fall.  Each week we'll add a new page until the kids aren't into it anymore or we run out of pages.  I'm excited about the new projects, and it's keeping me very busy and speaking a lot of Spanish!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Independence Day

September 16th is Mexico's Independence Day.  The Del Norte preschool kids had a school program that I got to go to.  They said the pledge, sang the national hymn and the state song, and then each class had a song and dance.  My favorite part was that after the show there was a "parade" around the neighborhood.  The word parade is pretty loose, the kids sat in the back of pickup trucks with balloons and the adults walked around behind them.  It was a great time, and the kids were excited that I took pictures of their performances.  They all crowded around the camera afterwards to see what they looked like.  It was a really fun day, and I was really proud of myself for going without another American to a Mexican holiday celebration.  I'm getting a little braver and doing things that force me to speak only in spanish without anyone to help me out if I get stuck.  
The "parade" around the neighborhood

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Zoo Days

A few weeks ago I helped a group from New Life Garage Church take a few kids from Del Norte on a field trip to the zoo.  I had a blast taking Ramiro around and looking at the animals.  I don't think he's ever been to a zoo before, and he was a little freaked out.  We'd get to the new animal, I'd tell him what it was called in English and Spanish and he'd say, "si, VAMONOS!" or yeah, let's go!  I told him I thought the rhino smelled bad, and he wanted to know what smelled worse, the rhino or little Angel's diapers.  I told him it was a toss-up.  After the field trip we headed off to Carls Jr. for hamburgers, fries, and an ice cream.  It was quite an eventful day!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Summer Vacation

I apologize for the lack of blogs lately!  One of the reasons I've dropped off the blog-planet was because I went back to the States for 3 weeks to spend time with family, friends, and do some fundraising.  It was really fun, and I desperately needed to rest.  I slept so much while I was home that my mom asked if I had mono.  Nope, you're just that tired after a summer here at Back2Back!  Here are a few pictures from my time in the States.  I also went to Indiana to visit my friends, but of course forgot my camera.  
 I rode my bike, swam, and ran a lot with my family.  I miss my triathlon days so much!  While I was home my dad did a 102 mile bike race and my brother did a 2 day 150 mile race.
 I got to hang out with Angie, she joined the family for some swimming, cook outs, and a Reds game.
 Spent quality time with my "little" brother, since he was living with my mom and dad for a month before moving.
Mom accompanied me on a 3 day cross-country drive to Mexico.
During our cross country drive we stopped in San Antonio for the afternoon to take in the riverwalk and a family favorite, the Alamo Imax movie.