Lemar´t was waiting for me and making funny face while I was cooking.

Lemar´t made his face so messy while eating sopa seca.

Jhon Carlos and the tías were eating pancakes that I made.
And of course, Lemar´t had some too!

Afterwards, he helped me tidy up.

Today was Visitor´s Day when all the families were invited to come to the home and visit their kids (while NPH paid for the transportation cost). Lemar´t´s mom didn´t come because her condition is at risk right now. So I, encouraged by the tías, took Lemar´t out the whole day to be his ¨visitor¨. He was very happy to know that I took him out today. Jhon Carlos, a teenage whose has lost contact with his family for a few years, asked me if I could make pancakes, so I made them for him, Lemar´t and myself. We went to the shop and got some ingredients together. We got some soda pops too as it was a hot sunny day. There was a dog in the shop, and Lemar´t was so scared that I had to carry him the whole time! As we went back to make pancakes, some of the tías also made ¨sopa seca¨, a traditional Peruvian dish with flavored noodles and chicken, for those who don´t have families. They shared some with me too! So imagine, we had breakfast, a bowl of sopa seca and some pancakes just before lunch time. Lemar´t showed me his big belly after he ate all of those things! It was so funny. He´s very good at listening to instruction now. Whenever he´s near the stove, I would tell him that it´s hot and not to be near. He would immediately go behind me and hold on to my tee shirt, as I taught him months ago. It´s very sweet. In the afternoon, I needed to attend a couple meetings regarding behaviors of some of the kids, so I sent him back to the tías for a while. After I was done, I went to pick him up again, and we played and I bought snacks for the both of us. Francesco´s family didn´t come as well, so I bought him some snacks too. It could be a tough day, but I hope that our presence had made it all easier for them.



Claudio has grown so much! He´s so animated now, and literally too as he has a cartoon voice!

Julio loves to drink water from my bottle!

Jenny always carries the sweetest smile.

Lemar´t holding a bunch of newspapers.

A group of American students came and spent a week with the kids. We went water rafting together.

Francesco showed me his drawing proudly.

Kevin and me, and Carlos Torres without his head. LOL

Lemar´t and Francesco played doctor at therapy.

It´s Francesco´s turn to be the doctor.

Jhosmelyr and Jenny played tea party at therapy. They were so loud! haha

Now I´m like running towards the finish line. Everything seems to work very well, and looking back it has been such a valuable experience. It is almost like we fought and worked so hard last year, and things got paid off now. The new volunteers arrived last weekend, and I happened to be in Lima and so I came back with them. They are adapting so well as everything is so much more organized this year, and so many things have changed in a positive way that they are really getting into the home and their work. I really hope they would enjoy this coming year.

Although it would be nice to go home and resume some normality in life, I will have a hard time leaving here. Things are so much better now, I adapted and integrated quite well here and everything seems running like a well-oiled machine. But the most difficult part was to leave behind the kids. I just couldn´t imagine myself leaving right now. The day when I came back from my weekend off with the new volunteers, while everyone went to the dining room for dinner immediately after receiving them, I went to my room and dropped off my bags. I passed by kínder´s room, and I heard someone crying inside and so I immediately went in to see what happened. It was Lemar´t who cried and I figured that he had a bad dream. So I comforted him and hugged him tightly. I then took him to the bathroom as he wanted to pee. We saw different types of insects in the bathroom and he started to feel more relaxed. Tía Laly came in shortly, and I told her what happened, but she told me that Lemar´t had been looking for me all weekend, and he had had bad dreams when I was away. It really broke my heart and I almost burst into tears everything I thought about it.

Francesco has always been very special to me as I spent quite a bit of time with him when he first arrived. He is really sweet to me, and he acts like a baby when he´s around me. Last week we had our last party for the holiday season, and they got more candies and treats like that. I was sitting next to him, and suddenly he fed me with his biscuits and candies. It was so sweet, and he is indeed a very wonderful kid that I will always treasure in my heart. Yesterday he did some drawing, and he ran to me after he´s done and showed me what he drew. I encouraged him and told him that his drawing was very beautiful. He giggled and ran to do another drawing. His voice is almost cartoon like when he giggles, and I feel so good when I see him building positive habits and higher self-esteem. It will be super hard to leave him too!



For New Year´s dinner I was sitting with Julio who has been really attached to me recently.

But most of the youngest kids couldn´t stay for the whole dinner, like Alondra.

And Julio too.

Héctor and Marcos danced freely after midnight.

2011! Wow, it has been a quick year, and now it´s coming to the end of my work here. The funny thing is that it hasn´t been too long ago that I felt I have had a grip of what I can do in here. It took so long to fight for what I can do, to figure out the system, the culture and to get to know all the kids profoundly enough to know what exactly they need. I feel that I have built a strong relationship not only with the younger kids, but the older ones as well through interaction in many events. I have also built a good rapport with my colleagues, and we get along so much better than before.

We celebrated New Year Peruvian way of course. First, we had a relatively nice dinner, with a chunk of meat, salads, rice and soft drinks. We all dressed up relatively nicely. I put some fragrance on the kids in kinder, and they loved it! They kept saying it smelled "Ah, muy rico!" Afterwards, we had a dance party at the dining hall. Some of the kids were dancing but they lined up in two lines and didn´t move very much, while all the adults sat down in woods. So I got up and danced wildly with the kids, and they all were screaming and started to loosen up. Everyone who knows me knows that I am not good at dancing, but I really wanted them to open up and feel secure about themselves and who they are. Soon, they started following the rhythm and moved their bodies as they should. And some of the older kids who were a bit timid in the beginning hit the dance floor as well later. It was fun to see them loosen up and have a good time. At midnight, we stopped dancing and went to burn a few stuffed mannequins, which is a Peruvian tradition that represents getting rid of all the bads in the past year. Then we had some fireworks while we hugged all the kids and tíos and wished each other happy new year. After all that, we went back to the dance floor and danced til 3 a.m.!


Jenny holding her new toy in Christmas Eve.

Alonso received his gift for Christmas and played with Silvia.

Alonso blowing bubbles.

Tía Rosa helped Héctor squeezed zits while Kevin messed around with him.

A new kid, Pedro Paolo, arrived on the first day and was already welcomed by the other kids.

This time of year is so busy that I hardly have time writing a blog entry! The kids are off school, so there are a lot more time to do things with them, and it involves a lot of planning and implementing. At the same time, there´s more time to play with them, which is tiring but a whole lot of fun. Also, it´s Christmas and New Year time, so we have a lot of events as well.

On Christmas Eve, I was playing with the kids in kinder, and I put on English Christmas music (Peruvian Christmas music is kinda … you know …) and danced with them. We had so much fun! They had dinner at around 8pm, which was 2 hours later than normal. The older kids and we went to the church at 10pm and had dinner at 12am on Christmas day! The church service was a bit dull with the most horrific Christmas music ever. Everyone was hungry, bored and tired, but it felt quite nice to be around everyone. We went back home at around midnight, and when the clock ticked at 12:00am, everyone gave hugs to each other, and it was really nice. The Christmas dinner was a big piece of chicken, some rice and some salads. We also had fruit salad for dessert. Although it couldn´t compare to what we would have at home, it was still much better than normal.

The next day, Christmas day, was rather a normal day, as in Peru they only celebrate on Christmas Eve. I wanted to share at least a little bit of what we would have for Christmas with them, but it is impossible to make everything I normal made due to shortage of ingredients, labor and time. So I prepared to make mashed yams with marshmallows for the kids Leticia, Liz and Rosa helped me peel and mash the yams. It turned out really beautiful, and the kids were so excited to see it as it looked really cool. They loved it as well, and kept telling me that it was really tasty.

I have also been doing exercises with the kids. A lot of them were interested in the beginning, but only a handful could endure to the end! Leticia and Liz were the two girls who kept coming for the class. Kevin and I did a tough workout together, and he pushed really hard. It was really funny as we started with six kids, and they left one by one and just left with Kevin. I was so proud of him that he could stick til the end because endurance and perseverance are great virtues. I shared some Milo with fresh milk with him, which is my current favorite drink and told him how proud I was of him.

It has been quite hard lately because the kids realize that I will be leaving soon. There are a couple that already hurt! Milagros was very sad that I will be leaving soon. She told me that next year she will graduate from high school, and she wanted me to be here in her graduation. Héctor, who could be seen as a handful but in reality he is a very intelligent and good kid, thought that I was joking. But then when he realized that it was true, he seriously asked me not to leave. He kept hugging me as we walked back to our rooms after dinner, and he kept saying "No se vaya, tío!" (Don´t leave, uncle). It was really hard, and I told him that I will definitely come back and visit them.


One of the groups who came to the home and brought gifts to the kids.

Franklin, Yoanka and Alonso all looked different in formal wear.

Franklin was so excited and kept making funny face.

Alonso looked really smart in suit.

Right after the celebration of NPH Perú sixth anniversary, we have a series of events all along December. First, the kids finished school, and for those who finished kindergarten, 6th and 11th grades had graduation ceremonies and proms. It´s funny that a poor country like Peru would organize such extravagant, if not a little excessive, events for even the smaller kids. Our kids also participated, with a price of tickets of course, but somehow it was a good experience for them too. And they all dressed up for it, which made them feel quite special as seldom do they dress up like that.

Then, a series of visitors came to the orphanage and organized some Christmas parties called "chocolatada" for the kids. Chocolatada means there´s chocolates or chocolate drinks, but they also gave the kids gifts and some played games with them. It had been a lot of fun for the kids, and they received new clothes, toys and treats. They also arranged a Santa Claus to come and give them the gifts. Some of the younger kids were really scared of Santa and wouldn´t want to go near him nor sat on his lap!

The rest of the time, since they had finished their school year last week, they get to have a bit of free time and play, which is very rare and a good thing for them. I also got to do more stuff with them, such as playing games and do exercises for those who are interested. It will maintain this way for the next couple of weeks before we start our summer programs in mid January. Couldn´t believe it´s been almost a year now since I came here and it´s coming to an end. Sometimes when I look at the kids, and when they told me they love me or when they hug me so tight, somehow I don´t know how I could leave.