Day 6 – (3/19/09)

Raul came to the house, and got us so we could do work on the farm. Raul was there this morning to direct us and be with us. Janiene told us he felt bad that he had not spent any time with us this week, but he really appreciated that when he came into work, all the work was done. Luis used to do it, but he got assigned to other work that needed to be done.

Last Day on the Farm – Painting

So we went down to the farm, and we started with the rabbits. Raul had heads of lettuce to feed them today, so that was a nice change of pace, you could tell the rabbits liked that better than the usual pellet feed. As we were working, Raul would teach us words in Spanish and in Tarumari. Like many of the people here, this man has so much love in his heart, you can just see it in the way he carries himself. Mary told us that Raul is the one that really made her feel at home here when she and John were here for a year. Mary told Raul that she would not cry when she left – and Raul said he knew better, he said “I’ve seen you with the kids Mary, I’ve seen your love, and I love you Mary.” Right there Mary started crying and Raul embraced her with his big arms.

After the rabbits we went on to the hens and did the normal stuff, but Raul also showed us eggs hatching, so we got to watch little hens come out of the egg. It was exciting because there were like 6 eggs hatching at once. The newborns were very cute, and Raul knew we would love to see them.

Then we moved on to the chickens, and we did the normal routine there, but after we cleaned we then laid down fresh sawdust over the whole floor. The place looked clean already from the calcium we painted yesterday, but after we got the sawdust down, it looked great and smelled 100 times better. Hannah and I were digging the hen coups – where they laid their eggs – we cleaned it all out and they put fresh sawdust in. Cleaning it out involved scraping caked-on poop off and it smelled horrible – Hannah gagged a few times, and so did I.

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The funniest part of that was when I took a chicken that had gotten loose and threw him over the chicken wire back into his cage. Raul said “No te gustas”, and I looked around and all the chickens had gone silent. Just funny how all of them were scared from seeing another chicken go flying over the wire.

We moved on to the ducks, and cleaned that out and in the meantime Raul went to get more calcium ready for painting. We got the ducks done, and then laid new sawdust down. Then began the painting – but before we began we told Raul we needed better brushes, or else it would take forever. So Margie gave him some money and he bought some real nice brushes, much better than yesterday, and some were nice and long. But just as we started painting, the sisters needed some help moving blankets into storage at the bazaar. So me, Hannah, and Victoria went over to help. It was lots of blankets, heavy too, but we got it all done. We got back to the painting and the girls were really far on the painting already. They finished the duck building, and already had a good start on the main barn. I got to work on the compuesta – compost area. There was a big wall to paint, and I went solo on that while the girls continued on the barn. By the time I finished, the girls had gotten the whole front done, but not with out a little conflict.

But we nearly got the barn done, and Raul said that we could stop at 1:00, and the kids would finish it tomorrow. This is what everyone wanted because nobody wanted to work tomorrow since we want to see the city.

Raul then offered to take us to a part of the Sierra Madres that was extremely beautiful, he wanted to repay us for our help. Most people seemed excited for that, but I could tell a few people were less than thrilled. But probably rightfully so, maybe trying to cram too much into a day. But we got back to our house about 1:15, and lunch was at 1:30, Kerry had already showered because she started getting a rash, so she left a few minutes before us. So I showered, but nobody else had time.

So we went to lunch, I sat with a different crew today, and I still feel bad because I can’t talk much Spanish, so pretty much eat in silence. But the meal was good, cut-up hot dogs and little noodles, although it didn’t sound like anyone else liked it. But we also volunteered to clean up the kitchen after lunch, so that took a half hour at least. We did the same routine the kids do every day – swept the floor, then mopped, and in the meantime some of the girls started on washing dishes. Some of the kids started helping us too, which was very nice of them. After we finished cleaning, we had to set it all back up again for dinner. Great thing about our group is how autonomous we all are, everyone just jumped right in and did work, and nobody needed to be told what to do, we all just found work.

We got that all done, and went back and most people took naps. We started planning our “tournament day” as well. Today we did a bunch of activities with the kids, although the older ones were not there.

Tournament Day

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We got out there about 4, and we told Margie what we wanted, then she told Paco. Paco is the man, and the kids listen to him. First thing we did was 200 meter dash, we had 4 races – Boys – Girls, 9 and under, and 10 and over. The races went pretty well; we timed them all so we can make them a record board with the stadium records. Then I said whoever wants to do 2 laps, I will race and lots of kids came out, but I think only about 4 of us ended up finished the race.

La Granja Hogar Estadio Mejores

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Then we did banana relays, which took a little while to explain – but we got it all explained and we had two races, each with four teams. We did an example first to show them, and that helped. The whole relay was 4 legs, just running down the home stretch of the track, then passing it off. The race went excellent, and it ended with one of the kids stuffing the whole banana in his mouth all at once – it was hilarious, the look on his face, like he wanted to puke.

After that, we did a game of plato plato gonzo – duck duck goose. The kids really liked that one, and we played for probably a half hour. Then after that we just went loose, and did whatever. We brought out the jump ropes, and that was a good time. I went through a few times, then I went through the jump ropes with kids on my back, and that was pretty intense, but they really liked it – nearly all the kids wanted to do it.

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Then I was “cabellito” for the next 30 minutes until dinner time. Dinner was pretty basic, not much food. I sat with a different crew – Domingo and his little brother. They were very nice, giving me food first and asking if I wanted more. Then we handed out candy to all the kids on the way out of dinner, and they were happy, many of them trying to sneak back in a get a few pieces.

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Then we went back to our house and decided to go to the hamburger stand we went to a few days earlier. We hung around for a bit, and Janiene talked to Maryimar, and we found out we had to choose between a trip with Raul and a trip to the city Centro. Maryimar wanted us to spend more time with the children since they loved us so much. So we choose to do the Centro in the morning, and then play with the kids in the afternoon. Everyone wanted to go into town too, we didn’t want to miss out and going out into the heart of Chihuahua.

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More Food & Reflection

Then we walked over to the hamburger stand, and most of us got hamburger and potatoes, I got the same as before, doble con queso y papas especial. The guy working there remembered us, and his wife was very nice, and she said ‘God bless you all” – she was very kind to us. We then walked on home and ate it all up – nom nom nom!

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Went into the reflection for the night, which was on compassion – a subject I was looking forward to, but it turned out hard to discuss. The reflection started with a verse from Romans that essentially defined compassion. Jennifer shared a story about her grandma being really compassionate and Jennifer felt like she had big shoes to fill – and I guess I feel the same. Grandma Margaret has been such an influence and such a good example for all of us grandchildren. She has spoiled us, and shown great respect for other people who may be different or do things differently.

My interpretation was just to “give yourself away,” and what gives me strength to be compassionate is seeing the indifference in the world, seeing people not care. I closed in prayer again, and we went to bed.

-Nate