Me and my Alonso in love! hehe

Leticia´s team cheering her on during the pageant.

Leti in her fantasy dress. Everyone went "wow"!

After her presentation, everyone wanted a photo with her!

Finally, Leti won! As she walked in her gown, she was flowing on the stage.

An after winning shot!

The next day, she presented as the new Miss NPH Perú 2010.

Cutest Samanta.

Lemar´t eating watermelon ... he even ate the white part!

Julio eating watermelon too!

Pachamanca, a Peruvian cooking method, which cooks food in heated rocks in a hole.

Angela enjoying the food of Pachamanca.

Afterwards, we all had banana split! Alonso loved it so much!

The kids performed an ad-lib dance.

The tios danced and performed as well!

Finally there is some free time to breathe and write again! Last week was crazy because we had full force of events for NPH Peru´s sixth anniversary. We started off with a sports day on Wednesday which the kids were playing football, volleyball and some other sport activities like hula hoops and jumping. Thursday we had a talent show, where various kids performed gags like reciting poetry, telling jokes, singing, etc. Also, there was a recycled craft competition which various kids of different age groups participated and created arts and crafts such as a hat made by weaved newspapers, a paper helicopter with wires that can be operated by an AA battery, a house with garden and paintings made by actual leaves, flowers and paper and a piggy bank made by newspapers. I was invited to be one of the judges, and it was really tough as a lot of pieces were worth a prize. My favorite was, though, the battery operated paper helicopter created by Elvis. It was really cool, and it showed that he has a really good sense of science. I mean, I could have never done that!

Friday was kind of a big day for me, as it was the election and coronation of Miss NPH Perú 2010. It was kind of weird to me at first, but at the same time I quite like the idea as it can boost confidence, give opportunities to be creative and work as a team. Indeed, pageants are a real deal in Latin America. As a pageant guru, it was definitely my gag! And the system was actually quite fun, as there were five candidates, and each was guided and supported by a tío and a group of kids which defined as a team. Therefore, it´s not just the girls competing, but rather the whole house was participating. As soon as I came back from my holiday in Colombia, Tío Roger asked me if I could teach his candidate, Ayita, to catwalk. Also, Tía Flor asked me for help with the fantasy dress for her candidate. Leticia, one of my favorite girls in the house, was also competing, so I helped her with her modeling, her evening gown and fantasy dress as well. I also taught another candidate, Rosa, to model. The biggest project was the dresses. Leticia has a purple cocktail dress, but it wasn´t glamorous enough to be an evening gown. So I spent my free weekend shopping for fabric and other items to modify the dress. I added a fish tail with train and some details with beads on the dress. It turned out really amazing and it looked very elegant on her. The fantasy dress was another challenge, as I had to make it all from scratch. Fortunately Tío John agreed to help and so we both worked really hard on it for a few days. It turned out to be really amazing, and we were hoping that it would make Leti shine on stage. The night before the pageant, Tía Berta, Leticia´s team leader, and I finished hemming the dress together. It was a really nice time even though we worked for a long time, as she and I talked and shared our thoughts and experiences. We also talked about our mothers, and I realized that her mother also passed away. We kind of got a bit emotional, but it was really nice to get to know her a bit better.

The final started in the afternoon, and everyone was cheering their candidates while the girls and some of their team members got busy getting them dressed and groomed. There were some funny moments like during the opening some of the candidates were chewing gums while dancing, or some girls adjusted their dresses in front of the judges. When Leti put on her new age butterfly costume, everyone was amazed and gasped as it looked amazing on her. Our house doctor, who came to work just about a month ago and don´t know the kids all that well yet, asked for a photo with Leti after she finished her walk. It was evening gown time, the gown worked magnificently on her. The satin fish tail with train flowed and flew while she walked, and she looked so elegant. The doctor whispered, "She is the queen." Although I wanted Leti to win, I wasn´t sure how the result would turn out as other girls performed quite well as well. Ayita walked amazingly in the sportswear round and everyone gave her huge applause. Anita had a team that was the loudest and made most effort to cheer her on. She also performed well in talent. Rosa was very poise and collected. The verdict finally came. Second runner-up was Rosa, first runner-up was Anita, and Miss NPH Peru 2010 was Leticia! I was so pleased as she really carried the dresses well, and she won over the hearts of the judges.

Saturday was our main celebration as the kids didn´t have to go to school. We played a lot of fun games like walking through a plastic sheet full of soap and bubbles, obstacle courses, picked up an apple from a bucket full of water, jumping, etc. I was holding Julio´s hand when playing the soapy run, and he had so much fun although he kept slipping and falling. Samanta was in my team as well, and she loved playing so much although she was really wobbly at times. I had a lot of fun too with the kids. Although we lost at the end, the most important is that we had fun and it was a good reunion for the whole family. For lunch, we had pachamanca, which is cooking everything with heated rocks in a hole dug in the ground. It was a feast! We had meat, corn, potatoes and sweet potatoes. For dessert, we had banana float. Everyone was so full, but happy. We finished the evening with a few performances such as modeling knitwear knitted by the kids or the tías, dances and presentation of prizes for the events in the past few days. Dinner was a cup of light oatmeal, as everyone was still quite full. We then had a bonfire and we roasted marshmallows together while we had dance music on, and Franklin and I were dancing until we were tired and ready to rest after a long but fun day.


Me and Claudio ... he has grown a lot by the way!

Aldair eating cheese tris.

Julio saying ´hi´!

Lemar´t playing the doctor set.

Cheeky smirk who wanted to have a lollipop.

After my 3-week long ´loving Colombia´ journey, I´m gladly back to see my kids. When I stood outside of the home, it felt just like when I went back to Hong Kong when I finished my studies in Canada, even though it has only been three weeks. The first kid who saw me was Yoanka who screamed my name loudly from afar. After I settled down with my luggage, I went straight to kinder where they were having dinner. When I walked toward the room, Franklin already came up and gave me a hug. Lemar´t was taken by Tía Laly out. He looked at me as if there was an aftershock, but a few seconds later he ran towards me and gave me a big hug. Since then, his hand never let go of mine. The other kids came to hug me one by one. Lemar´t forced me to sit next to him at dinner, and he jumped up to me and kissed my chin like a hundred times. I almost burst into tears to see them. It was such a warm welcoming. Then I gave them the treats I got in Colombia, and they were so excited. When I was in Medellín, I lost one of my wallets. I almost couldn´t buy anything else for them. But thank God somehow I managed to do that. It makes it all worthwhile to see them so happy.

This week has been really crazy, as there were many things going on. First, Cristina was leaving, and she planned to have a meeting with t he management which didn´t work out at the end. Also, NPH Perú will celebrate its 6th anniversary this coming weekend, and everyone is preparing for different events. There is a beauty pageant during the celebration (can you believe that there is actually a beauty pageant even within an orphanage! No wonder Latin culture is so crazy about it.). There are five candidates, and each of them is supported and guided by a tío or a tía and a group of kids. Tío Roger asked me if I could teach his candidate, Ayita, to catwalk. I was surprised that he asked but I guess they know that I studied fashion design before. I also initiated to help another candidate, Leticia, who is one of my favorite girls in the orphanage. When she heard that I can help her, she was so excited. I am currently helping her with her evening gown, fantasy costume and catwalk. Hopefully it will turn out alright.

This weekend is supposed to be my weekend off, but I chose to stay here before I don´t feel like moving after my holiday. And I could spend more time with the kids. On Saturday after I made breakfast, the tías at babies asked me if I could help taking the kids out with them. So I went out with them, had a walk and showed them all the flowers and fruits that have been growing during this springtime. Then we stopped by a shop and we had juice and chips. Sunday morning, I planned to make pancakes and eggs as usual. As soon as I walk down the stairs, Mr. Lemar´t called my name and ran to me. He wouldn´t let go, so I took him with me when I made breakfast. He was so happy to be around me, even though I was busy cooking and he just had to entertain himself. While I was cooking, he sometimes ran up to the stove, so I had to stop him and tell him that it´s dangerous to run around the stove. Then I told him he could stay behind my leg, and he stayed there for a little while before he ran outside to play. I made some extra pancakes and some milo drink for him, and we had breakfast together. At first, he wanted to eat it all! But I told him that he needed to share with me before I hadn´t had breakfast yet. He was so funny, and yet still has a lot to learn about life. Even though he was a handful, it felt quite alright and I felt exactly like his daddy spending a morning with him and making breakfast together. It´s a pity that I didn´t have my camera with me at the time, but this will stick with me in my memory for the rest of my life.


26-11-2010: Cali, Valle de Cauca, Colombia

Situated in the valley of Cauca, the outskirt of Santiago de Cali is green and picturesque.

Commenced in 2008, the Mio bus system is new and efficient. Coming from Hong Kong, this might seem nothing, but for Latin America, it´s a great advancement.

The beautiful Iglesia de la Ermita.

Plaza de Cayzedo in the centre of Cali filled with palm trees.

An interesting building at night in the historical centre. The most memorable experience in Cali was the salsa class. Cali is considered as the salsa capital of the world, and it is a lot funner than I thought! Now I wish I would spend more days here to learn more salsa.


25-11-2010: Salento, Quindío, Colombia

Waking up in the morning in Salento.

Salento´s main centre with the church.

The main street of Salento with colorful houses with a path walking up to Alto de la cruz.

On the top of the hill Alto de la cruz overlooking the entire Salento.

One of the most wonderful things about Salento is that there are thousands of colorful butterflies flying surrounding you.

Beautiful evening plaza of Salento.
Breathtakingly beautiful sunset in Salento.

24-11-2010: Valle de Cocora, Quindío, Colombia

Palma de cera, national tree of Colombia.

These wax palms are so statuesque over the verdant hills.

Beautiful valley with various shades of greens.

The hike involved a pass through many beautiful waterfalls.

And crossed through a few log bridges over the running waterfalls. Scary but super fun!

Another beautiful waterfalls.

Mystic rainforest after the rain.

Another steep hill with these strange palms.

A beautiful valley with the most types of greens I have ever seen!

Another gorgeous view of the valley.

These palms stands over 100m tall!

The grand view of Cocora Valley.

Am I too dark? haha

Many milk cow lazing in the valley.

A milk cow against the strange palms.

23-11-2010: Eje cafetero, Salento, Quindío, Colombia

The lush coffee bushes.

Beautiful coffee beans.

One of the many coffee plantations.

The machine used to peel the coffee berries.

Me making my first pot of fresh coffee from the farm.

Me enjoying the Colombian coffee, right from the source.

After months of torture by Peruvian dogs, here at the farm I met some lovely pups! I realize I still love dogs. LOL