One day children were brought to Jesus in the hope that he would lay hands on them and pray over them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus intervened: “Let the children alone, don’t prevent them from coming to me. God’s kingdom is made up of people like these.” Matthew 19:13-15 (The Message)
I am exhausted, but cannot let this day end without recording the events of today. Another incredible day in Guatemala! Many exciting things happened today. At the Malnutrition Center, one little girl, Veronica, got to go home. Her mother and father arrived early because they were so excited that their daughter could come home again. But, they waited until after lunch to take her so sat with her little sister in the lobby and walked around the center taking in all the activity. Her father’s face glowed with joy and happiness. The family will take with them enough food for the entire family for 15 days. They are asked to bring Veronica back every fifteen days and each time, will receive enough food for another 15 days. They also got clothes for Veronica and her little sister. Even though Veronica is now healthy, there are always more children needing care. Two month old Daniel and his mother arrived today. Please pray for Daniel’s mother, it is a heart wrenching thought that she will have to leave him. She loves him so much and is so proud of him. She is a single mom with no family to support her. No one knows exactly where she has been living, but she has no home. Now, that her breast milk is no longer nutritious enough to support Daniel, she came to the center for help. The director took compassion upon her and will allow her to stay at the center for a while and work as a volunteer. It is hoped that during this time, she will learn about nutrition, proper hygiene and baby care. Our small, but valiant group of five women was challenged today as the staff had a meeting and left us in charge of ALL the children! We spread out throughout the building and managed to keep everyone alive and relatively safe during that time, but it was a long meeting and we were very glad to see the workers come back. It was a good lesson in how much work they do and we made sure to tell them how much we admire them. I had 24 children in my room ranging in age from 2-12. Fortunately, the interpreter, Alexandra, kept checking in on me. After telling the story of Moses, I gave the children Play-Doh and asked them to make a basket like the one that Moses was in. Carolina made a basket as I instructed and then, a tiny baby to go in the basket. It thrilled me to know she was listening to the story, but even more to see how she enjoyed the play. I will however, try to find a craft for tomorrow that will not cause havoc. Yesterday it was markers all over their bodies. Today, some of them ate Play Doh. The night nurses may find some interesting things in some of the diapers. When the story and craft was over, I did what all American moms do, put a video on the TV! It was funny and horrifying to see how mesmerized they were by it. At one point, the volume was too loud, so I tried to turn it down, but changed the channel instead. The screen went black, but they all just sat there waiting for me to turn it back on even though it took me more than five minutes and I finally had to get Alexandra to help me. The whole morning, I had Marta on my hip. She was cranky and only seemed to be consoled by me and since I had to leave my adopted daughter in the toddler room alone with 14 of them during the meeting, I took Marta with me. My back is killing me, but it was worth it because I finally got her to smile! After feeding the toddlers and getting our own lunch (at 2:30), we went back to the nursery to help feed the babies and change the babies for an hour before we went home. I changed a dozen or more diapers before settling into a rocking chair with Manual. Some of my favorite memories of today include: realizing that many of the children remembered us from yesterday, watching Garson and his twin race each other in the walkers, playing ball with Manuel, seeing Marta finally smile, having a worker thank us for bathing a baby when she bathed three in the time it took us to do one, hearing the children sing along to a video, more of Hugo’s High Fives, and laughing with the workers at the children’s antics even though we can’t speak each other’s language, the laughter is the same. And after telling a worker that I admired her so much and did not know how she was able to do all she did, she smiled and said, “When I first started, I was like you. I couldn’t bend over either. “ Nice. So, this fat lady who can’t bend over celebrated the end of another great day to be in Guatemala with a trip to McDonalds for ice cream and sharing stories among the teams. We’ll be back at it tomorrow. Please keep praying, especially for Olivia whose mother was buried today and Daniel’s mother who is making the hardest, but best decision she can make for her son.