So I realized yesterday how hard it is to put my feelings and emotions into words, but I am going to try…J Yesterday was AMAZING. After breakfast I went to a daycare/preschool with Chelsea, Alicia T., Sara Beth, Russ, and Maryella. Here we gave out medicine to the children to keep them from getting parasites from the water. When we first showed up the kids watched our every move. Every one of them was precious. Some even came up to us to get us to talk and play and play with them. I felt an instant connection with some of the 4 year old boys. We played around and made faces until it was time to start. Starting with the 4 year olds, we called them up one by one. The person in charge explained what the pill was, what it was for, and how to take it. I then gave them the pill and they would drink water to wash it down then move on to the other girls to get their weight and height. This group was pretty easy. Moving on to the three year olds, we did the same. Most of them did pretty well except for a few. The taste started getting to them, but we got it done and moved on to the 2 and under group. Here is where the trouble started. First was a little girl, Mary. She was a pudgy little thing. As soon as the scale was laid on the floor she wanted on it. After she was done the next one came, but Mary continued to want on the scale so I grabbed her and sat her in my lap and she sat there the rest of the time. A couple of them did not get the medicine because they could not get it down. It was hard to get them to do it because they were so young. After we were finished, Mary got up turned to me, held out her arms, and ran to me for a hug. I knew when this started I was in trouble. She continued to do this and after awhile she laid her head on my chest. This small pudgy child with curly hair quickly stole my heart. After awhile we went outside with all the children, Mary tagged along. While I was trying to talk to the other children (with Erica’s help), Mary continued to hold my hand. When I would let go of her hand she would quickly return it. It was very hard to leave because this was my first interaction with children this week and it was a great one.
After lunch I went to Madaguapa with Colette, Alicia T., Chelsea, Claire, Mike, and 3 translators. It is about 45 minutes away from Jinotega. In Madaguapa is a place where children are taken when they are malnourished or have a health problem. When we walked in this beautiful little girl around two years old met us. As we walked in, she touched each one of our hands like she was the greeter. Most of the children are babies so we got to hold them and love on them. The first child I held was a boy, but apparently he was very sick and I could not get him to stop so I gave him back to the nurses. The next baby I held was a very round little girl with big brown eyes. She was precious! After sitting there for awhile, she fell asleep. It was the sweetest thing and it was so rewarding. I really felt like I got to see God working when we were here when I saw Mike take a child and put her in his lap. For someone who is so orderly to get on a child’s level to make her smile and for him to have such a big smile on his face really touched me. After having to part with these great kids, we had to head back to the Mision.
When we got back to the Mision, it was time for Maryella’s birthday party. While we were waiting on the party to start some people that had gone to Casa Materna that day (the place we had been the day before to wash the pregnant women manicures) told me that 7 out of the eleven that were there the day had gone to the hospital to have their babies! The room was all decorated with balloons and streamers. After awhile everyone started showing up, and there ended up being around 125 people were present. While the kids were playing games, most of us were just sitting around. As I am sitting there talking to some people, this beautiful little girl comes up to me out of nowhere and grabs my hands and tells me her name. Her name was Johanna so I told her my name and she continued to just stand there holding my hands and smiling. I thought that maybe she was from the preschool from earlier that day because I recognized the name but she wasn’t. So why she came up to me, I do not know. I tried to communicate but that did not go very far. Claire noticed that I was struggling so she came over to try to help but she wouldn’t talk to her. Throughout the party she would come up to me and kiss me on the cheek and smile and then go back to her seat. After we served all the guests’ dinner, we cut the massive cake. The piñata was so much fun to watch. It was a huge Minnie Mouse bigger than Maryella. When the candy fell those kids would run frantically to get it. During the party, Johanna came up to me and spoke English! I mean she just said “Hello Holly.” and “How Are You?”, but it made me really excited. After the party she came up and kissed my cheek and told me bye. All week I have felt discouraged because I felt like I could not approach children because of the language barrier, but I really feel that God worked through this precious little girl to show me that it was ok.
After the party we had our meeting like we do every night, but last night it was different. One difference was that we sang a lot, which I enjoyed very much. There was a sense of peace with us all sitting in a circle singing these songs that mean so much to us. Another difference was that we didn’t split up in groups to talk about our day, we shared them to everyone. I loved this because it seemed like everyone had had a really good day and had seen God work in many ways like I had that day.
Today I had the chance to go to the Special School for special needs children after breakfast. I was really excited because everyone else, who had already been, came back talking about how rewarding it was. When we got there, Alicia T., Maryella, and I were put into a classroom with about 6 children. Meg, Laura, and Erica went to another classroom. I was a bit worried/frustrated because I knew I would not be able to communicate with the teacher or the students. So I did the best I could by playing with them. At one point a teacher came into the room and a child, Fernando, ran out. There is a gate all around the school but I still did not want him to get hurt. So I chased after him with no help from the teachers so when I saw Erica I got her to help me because of my lack Spanish speaking skills. Of course he thought it was a game, but we finally got him back to the classroom it was time for break. At this point I was frustrated. All the kids came to play outside. One group that came out were precious. As soon as they saw us, they came up to hug and kiss us. Because there was only one slide the kids were fighting and arguing constantly so we had to referee, which is not easy when you don’t know Spanish. I latched on to a few of the smaller children but again conversation was limited and they soon had to leave. Flor seemed to have a real connection with the deaf children. They all loved her and she seemed to love getting to learn more sign language. Since school dismisses at twelve, we headed back to the Mision for lunch. When we left, I was very discouraged because I felt that I had not received the same experience as everyone else had. I don’t know if I had my expectations too high or if I was overly concerned about the children getting hurt or what. Now some of the children we amazing and so sweet, but I didn’t get that special feeling like I had the day before at the preschool.
During lunch Alicia T., Alicia M., Jessica and I went down the street to the clothing store to look around. After lunch I headed back to the pharmacy at the clinic. I was not assigned a translator which means it was a very quiet afternoonJ. Bless his heart he tried very hard to make some conversation but it was not enough for me to understand and to answer back. The clinic closed at for so I headed back to the Mision to get ready for dinner and church. Dinner was amazing!!! We had fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and corn. Just like homeJ. Church was all in Spanish tonight so it was very hard for me to pay attention since I had no idea what we were talking about or what was being said. After church we had the teenagers stay so Alicia T., Colette, and I could have them fill out the surveys we made.
At the Mision I got on skype so I could to my dad this time even though it was not for long. Tonight we met in a circle for the last time all togetherL. It was sad but very good at the same time. It seemed like everyone had had good experiences today and saw God in many ways and through many people. After the meeting we had pineapple upside down cake that Ann made and it was amazing! We all sat around and talked while the ones of us who are leaving tomorrow went one by one to talk in front of a camera to reflect on our week. We stayed up and talked for a long time and I am so glad I did. I had some great conversations with some people who I might not have. After awhile I came downstairs to pack some and to get some sleep for travel tomorrow.