Day 4 – (3/17/09)

Breakfast was at 7 with the kids, but nobody was able to get up that early, although Hannah says she was awake, and so was I, but the rest of the girls would not have it. So we just had food around the house, and it was good. I’m surprised at how little I am eating, but I am also not running. But I’m also staying active, more than normal, so that probably replaces running. Hannah opened up a pop tart, and it had all been smashed into dust, so I busted out some of my Nature Valley granola bars. We hung around the house for a while. I was working on this journal for a long time – I’ve been a whole day behind on writing it, but I hope to catch up today. It was not until nearly 10:30 that we went out and started working on the farm, we were waiting for Raul – he is in charge of the farming – but he did not come till nearly 11, so we started without him.

Farming & Playing

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So we headed down to the farm an did all the chores –swept bunny poop – fed bunnies – captured loose hens – picked hens eggs – fed hens –picked chicken eggs – fed chickens – picked duck eggs – fed ducks – brought all the eggs back to the kitchen. After that we had some real work to do, Raul wanted us to ‘clean the yard’ – which meant getting hoes and beating the hell out of the long grass and brush to clear the area back by the greenhouses. We worked on that for nearly an hour, and that was tough work, most of us got some real good blisters. It’s been good though, we got a real variety of work, and in the afternoons we always have the kids. It’s a great site to be at, great variety. So after we got done sweating balls we headed to lunch. I got with my normal crew of guys, Carlos, Francisco, Haciendo, etc… They called me over and set me up with a chair. We had a meatball soup with vegetables and, of course – tortillas – we have some with every meal.

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Talking with John and Mary this morning – she asked me if someone on the plane asked us if we were going to La Granja Hogar. It so happened that their really good friend David was on our flight to El Paso. When we got on the plane, he asked if we were a sports team, Victoria told him we were a church mission group going to Chihuahua, and he asked if we were going to La Granja Hogar, and Victoria said “I think so.” So he emailed Mary, and sure enough. What a crazy meeting, small world. Also, this morning, Luis walked in after breakfast and John asked how the kids were, and Luis just gave a deep laugh. The kids are pretty wild in the morning, but that’s your standard kid. Then in the afternoon we headed down to play with the kids, but we didn’t head down there until almost 3:30, everyone was really tired and most of the girls took a nap except Kerry and me.

Down at the playground, I met some little guys, Edwardo, Ariel, Juan, and they all want me to lift them up and twirl them around, and they wanted it non-stop. “Otra vez, un mas!!,” and all I could respond with was “si, un mas,” or ”ultima,” but they only kept coming. They were so cute, they were so happy, it’s so fun to listen to them laugh – it’s no different with any other kids, but I feel like we are making a difference since these kids don’t have a family.

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Then Luis came and needed my help moving some TV’s and other appliances. An electronics store had donated used electronics to La Granja Hogar; the equipment still worked and was in good shape – so very generous of them. So we drove across town in our truck and spent about 45 minutes loading 2 trucks up. I got to work with Raul again, and he called me Raul too, it was funny and cool at the same time. I tried to tell him my American name was too hard to say – “Mi nombre en Ingles es defacil, mi otro nombre in Espanol es Raul.” We drove back to the house and unloaded all the stuff at the bazaar. Then John and I moved a big bookcase out of storage and into Madre Ana’s office. After that it was dinner time. We headed back to the house and washed up, then down to the cafeteria. At dinner, we all stood at the front of the room and introduced ourselves. Then little kids came up to us, and tugged on us to come and sit with them – or they told Janiene or Mary to come get us. So that was fun that the kids wanted to sit with us, it was nice for them to reach out to us, even though we can hardly communicate with each other. I sat with the little guys today, and they were so cute, they talked so much to me, but I could only understand parts of it. They loved the ‘soul patch’, they kept feeling it and asking about it, and all I could say was “pello naturales.” We had crackers and some sort of milk and hazelnut drink that was somewhat warm – probably the first meal I did not really like – and I don’t think any of the girls did either. So they sent us back with a salad.

An Evening Out

We got back to the house, and talked for a while, and then we went out to eat. We were going to go to a roadside shop that was an Econoline van that was been converted into a shop, but that was closed. So we went to a nice sit down restaurant, and I had a hamburger and fries, so did Kerry and Jennifer. Hannah and Carmen were doing work on the waiter, well at least talking about him. They wanted a picture with him, but didn’t ask. The waiter spoke English, so he probably heard everything. It was a fun dinner, and we were all now making the ‘uh, uhhhh uhhhhhh’ noises from watching grape stomp lady earlier that day. We laughed a lot (big surprise) and stayed there for quite a while. Then we hopped in the van and headed back, it was 10:00 until we got back home.

I thought everyone was going to be tired and not do reflection, but Jennifer came in and said “let’s do it.” So we got going about 10:30, everyone else was already sleeping. Our reflection was called “My Mission,” and talked about how we are making a difference, and what drives us to make a difference. I said just helping the people that are forgotten about, that nobody else wants to help. For me it’s such a joy to see someone happy, especially someone who thinks that nobody remembers them. Then Hannah shared that she lived in an orphanage in Poland until she was 4, and the conditions there were pretty bad. She was adopted by her mother here in the states, along with her 2 siblings. It brought Hannah to tears to tell of the love of her mother for adopting all 3 of them – what a true example of Christian love. Then Hannah’s aunt adopted her other siblings from Poland too. Her beautiful story prompted Carmen to share about her family misfortune, and moving in with a new family. By this time almost everyone was crying, and we continued to share stories until 11:30, then we closed with a nice prayer for us and the kids. I guess this was my first official “girls night,” hanging out with girls and crying (well, I didn’t cry, I upheld my position as a man), but it was a big step for our group. I’m sure that we are going to become closer now (like we aren’t already). Certainly a lot of examples of love tonight, and I think it’s so beautiful that sharing these stories of love can bring people to tears – to have people weep because love is so great! Off to bed for another good night of sleep, very happy with the reflection, and I hope it continues – but maybe not all the crying.