Thursday, February 28, 2013

New Things

So I'm hoping the cuteness of my subject matter will compensate for the poor quality of the photos... maybe I can get a new camera for my birthday next month :-) (This is a test to see if anyone is still reading this neglected, abandoned blog!) 

 Yesterday the kids had their first school excursion, to a farm the school owns just outside the city. I had to send them off with their special-ordered sweatsuits, complete with the school logo and embroidered with their names on the pockets. I also had to buy them rain boots, rain ponchos, and pack it all up with a change of clothes and shoes in a backpack.
 There was some ambivalence about all the newness, sort of dread mixed with excitement.
 Valerie asked me never-ending streams of questions the two or three days leading up to the outing.
They both cried when I dropped them off that day, but I think they ended up having a really fun time. They came home exhausted, full of stories about a sandbox and a white cow and a llama and how the farm was dry, and it didn't rain!

I think next time it will be easier to get them into their outfits than it was this time. I hope! New things are hard, the second time is usually easier.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Lluvia, Shiu, Rain

I spoke to soon - as soon as I remarked on the sunny weather we've been having, the rains began. It's been raining almost every afternoon and one day I had no idea what to wear because all my shoes were wet from walking home in the rain for three days in a row. I need to get some rain boots!

The kids have been settling in to school. One of the teachers told us they seem to be understanding more and more Spanish. Gabriel says he likes "the music place" and Valerie loves the jungle gym. I'm looking forward to being able to sit down with the teachers at some point and hear more.

Today and tomorrow I'm in Cali to talk over budgets and MOUs and worker evaluations with one of our partner organizations here. It's not as boring as it sounds :-). The part of this job I've enjoyed the most has been supporting personnel, even working through some really difficult situations - for some reason it energizes me. I feel like this context, this work, this organization brings out the best in me and makes me a better person, and that's been incredibly encouraging.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Parque Simon Bolivar

One place we've enjoyed exploring here is a huge park called Simon Bolivar. There's a lake with ducks and fish, playgrounds, walking paths, a little "train" that goes around, lots of food vendors. 

I have to say again, we've been pleasantly surprised by the weather here - we didn't realize there was a sunny season, we thought we were in for five years of cloudy drizzle! A taxi driver told me that this is coffee-drying season right now. We have had a little rain, but I'm still really surprised by how green everything is given how little it has rained in the last three months. Another person told me "Colombia is a very wet country." 

Here Terry is buying some corn-cakes stuffed with cheese and guava fruit paste - yum! Guava fruit paste, which in Guyana they called "fruit cheese," is a very popular snack/dessert food here. I love it. It's usually sold in little blocks, sometimes with cheese, sometimes with blancmange, called "arequipe" here ("Manjar blanco" in Peru).

Friday, February 01, 2013


 The first two days of school, parents and other caregivers were instructed to come with the kids in order to get them acclimated. My mom was able to come with the the first day, too!

There are lots of murals painted all over the building. We liked this one a lot. (The photos where Valerie is wearing a blue shirt and Gabe has green stripes are from the first day. Pink shirt and grey hoodie are from the second day.)

The blocks are in the workshop area where the kids also help sand boards to refurbish their own little chairs.

The indoor jungle gym is Valerie's #1 favorite room in the whole place! Behind it is a toy room that they both like.

Facing the slide is this carpeted area where they played Bowling.

Snack time!  The school has a no-sugar policy. Gabriel liked the fresh fruit juice. V wouldn't touch it!

 Drawing room upstairs. The mural on this wall depicts the school's farm where they go on field trips once or twice a month.
More soon - someone needs me!