Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Guess Who’s Coming for Dinner ~ or Lunch?

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I’m still learning!  I’m still getting great ideas from all over – directly from the Lord somedays as he plops an idea in my head, something I read online or see somewhere, or in this case, from a kind visitor!

We were chatting about the lack of good quality time with so many boys and she asked if I ever brought them in for a meal together in my house.  You know what?  I never have!  Plenty of meals with a room at a time (11 boys) but never just a meal at my table.  Abby was recalling how that was a priority in her family and the great conversations that developed at the table.

I said “I’m doing it!”

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So I will be inviting in the “brothers” – not REAL brothers, the brother groups that we created..  I started with big brother Felix and the two “little brothers” he chose, Lulu and Junior.  They came in for lunch.  Most of the time, I will simply bring the plate of whatever all the kids are eating from the kitchen.  Maybe sometimes I will make them something different.  The point is the eating together more than what we are eating.

Their highlight might have to be that they got to use forks instead of spoons.  Who am I kidding?  It was definitely the little chocolate I put out for dessert!

They were awfully quiet – I think they were a bit overawed by eating with my at my table!  Cutie pies!

Who wants to come join us???

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Just because . . .

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. . . he is gorgeous, thought you’d all like to enjoy this little cherub with his improvised Cap-i-tan America hat and shield as much as I do!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

It’s that time of year again!

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The Shoe Store is open for cute customers!

Although I’m a big believer in Christmas festivities starting after Thanksgiving, I don’t get that luxury here in Moz – with 34 munchkins to prepare for, I need to start early!

I have been collecting shoes since Children’s Day (june 1) and we’ve also received a huge donation from China recently so I had a lot of shoes to set up for the boys to try on.  I would prefer to surprise them but there’s no way I can estimate the size for 34 boys!  What you see here is about a third of the shoes, there were two more lines on the floor. 

Out of 34, I only didn’t have a pair to fit ONE boy!  Amazing!  I think there were others his size and they got it before him.  So I’ll be on the look out for a pair of shoes for Gil. 

In case you’re curious how I do it, I line up all the shoes in size order.  Then I start with the biggest boys and usually invite two or three in at a time but a couple extra slipped in when this photo was taken.  I compare the size of their feet and the boy with the biggest goes first.  They choose the ones they want to try on (while I pray they find something they like that fits!).

In the past I have bought almost all their shoes so they were new (and set aside the new ones from donations so they’d be equal).  But since we had a big donation, it seemed a waste to not use them even though they are used. 

Amazingly, every boy was happy with the pair he chose!  Sweetie pies!

Next up – arranging new outfits for 34 little pumpkins!

Thursday, October 09, 2014

X is for Xima!

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X is pronounced “ch” in Portuguese and there aren’t a whole lot of words that begin with it.  Xima does though!  And it’s pronounced “shee-ma”.

Xima is Mozambque’s variation of an African staple, known in other areas as pap or mealie-meal.  It’s corn based.  It can be served as a type of porridge but it almost never is.  Instead it is serves as a type of thick, solid mashed potato-y type side to go with anything with a sauce.  I served theirs with sardines in tomato sauce, yum!  It is thick and filling. Plain with no real taste but I like it. 

 

I invited the Tias of each room to come in and tell the boys about Xima, what it’s made from, how it’s made, etc. and then make it for the boys.  They loved it!  We used store-bought “Top Score” corn flour but many, many Mozambicans make it from scratch from the corn in their fields and that’s the process the Tias described for the boys.

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As much as the boys like Xima, watching the Tias make it does not constitute a program!  (The tia above is one of the sweetest ladies ever, I just captured a funny face on her, don’t think she’s mean!)

I had just ordered (and a nice visitor delivered for me) a set of peg boards for the boys so we tried them out and boy were they a hit! They never wanted to stop playing with them!

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First I asked them to make an X, then the first letter of their name.  Then various shapes as I held up our wooden shapes.  Then more intricate things like planes and houses.  Here’s a fun, blurry shot of us with our houses!

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They did finally break from the the peg boards to color in X-Men sheets, that my trusty helper alisha hand-drew!!  They pronounce it “sheeshi-man” – SO adorable. 

I don’t have too many photos because they always turn out blurry in my house if I use no flash and over-exposed and yucky if I use one. 

Speaking of, in case you’re wondering why I’m inconsistent with blogging about the letters of our Afternoon Program, it’s because I usually forget to take photos!

Monday, October 06, 2014

V is for Viola!

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Look, the Incredible Hulk dropped in for a jam session with my boys! 

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For the letter V in the Afternoon Program, our main activity was creating “violas” which is the Portuguese word for guitar.  See, if you read my blog, you will learn Portuguese in tiny, incremental bits!

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The boys love imitating our worship team on their guitars and these may have been one of the biggest hits we’ve ever made!  I love how in the one above, it looks like Armando, the littlie, is listening to tune his!  And in the one below, Ernesto, in bright green, has perfect form!

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Marley, on the left might follow his namesake, you never know!  And Julio on the right is putting on a proper performance.

Love these cutie pies that are so excited about everything!

Friday, October 03, 2014

We’ll Miss You Alfiado!

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This little cherub, Alfiado, left us recently to return to live with his mom and new little sister.

He arrived when he was Baby House age so I don’t know all the particulars of why he was here for a time.

But I do know his mom was a faithful visitor in the last year and asking regularly for her son to return home to live with her.

This is one of my favorite scenarios.  When we can provide care for children whose situations are volatile or desperate but the family is able to make a change and return for their children. 

And Alfiado was delighted to go home.  We miss him though, his little intense nod for a yes, his thoughtful questions, his unexpected grin . . .  he’s a treasure and now back being loved on by his mom.  Yay God!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Cap-i-tan America visits–with gifts!

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My wonderful co-worker, Alisha has her amazing parents visiting her and the boys.  They fell in love with the kids via skype long before they arrived.  The boys call them “Mae e Pai” – (mom and dad), so cute!

We suspect Alisha’s dad IS Cap-i-tan America (as the boys pronounce it!) and he loves everything about him.  So naturally the boys love him too.

They came with a surprise for the boys for every day of their visit, can you imagine?  So thoughtful and generous!  These are the best – new t-shirts.  Alisha prepared them well and they had all the right sizes, different color for each room!  I was impressed!

Are you seeing that Cap-i-tan America brought his own shield???

They also brought fun masks – adorable!

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Nothing wrong with a little mix-n-match superheroes is there?

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Our littlest Superhero!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Meet the Meninos ~ Lulu

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What is with the cheesy over-smile at this age?  Anyway, Lulu is short for Luis, very common even for grown men here, I had to get used to calling a man “Lulu!”

IMG_1994He is cute – obviously!  He is also earnest, trying hard at learning new things, which almost everything here is new to him, even coloring.  He is quiet and usually content with whatever happens.  He seems often uncertain, trying to see what’s expected or what the norm is or what this new crafty project is, and what in the world is the alphabet?

He’s also very proud of himself when he tries something new he was previously afraid if – like the swimming pool!  He must have told me at least 16 times after his most recent visit there that “I went in the water Mana Laura!”

He’s not overly affectionate or clingy but he does enjoy a good hug and kiss.  He seems to be finding his footing!

Love, Laura

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A Little Belated Birthday Post


The boys love a birthday – anyone’s birthday cuz they all get candy!  Of course, they love their own the best.  They get to wear the birthday hat (it’s now in tatters after so many uses!), sleep with Spiderman sheets, use the Spiderman towel and washcloth and wear the soccer slippers.  What more could a kid ask for, really?


 (they were pretty stoked when my feet fit in their slippers!)
For my birthday this year, way back in July, I wanted to provide them with cake.  Not because I’m more special than they are but cuz there’s one of me and 34 of them.  There’s lots of things I do for these cute-patoots but making 34 cakes a year, (enough for 40 people when you count our workers) isn’t one of them!
(I admit it – I didn’t make these either, I ran out of time and bought them and slathered them with jam!)

Bummer – I didn’t get a group shot with all of us.  That’s Room Three behind me, worried I’ll eat the whole cake and there won’t be enough for everyone!  Lucky I showed some self-restraint!



Sunday, September 14, 2014

Four Eyes are Better Than Two!

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Letter O in the Afternoon Program gave us a great Opportunity, get it?, for wearing Oculos!  That’s glasses in Portuguese.

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Dave and Josh of the Buttershaw Team brought up some giant pipe cleaners (how did I not know about those before?) and the idea was born!

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I had to jump in and show off my Oculos too!

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Looking very chic don’t you think?  Igor pushing up his glasses to see a little better, Jeremias chose his colors to match his shirt and Josh – what a great sport!  Thanks for sharing with them about prayer (oracao) as well Josh!

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(sorry for going backwards in my Letter posts – I had written this and lost it in”drafts” so here you go!)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Timber! And seriously, so grateful.

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Crash, bam, boom!  Nope, not an episode of Batman being filmed here in Zimpeto, but about  1/4 of our wonderful big tree in the middle of our playground came crashing to the ground this afternoon around 2pm!

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Amazingly, in a center of about 400 people at any given moment, 260 of them kids of all ages, workers, pastors, missionaries, visitors, community members . . . not one person was hurt or killed by this falling tree branch.  Praise God for his mercy in this situation.

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About an hour later, 35 or so little toddlers would be playing under this tree, primarily in front of that wall you see but many little ones toddle out and about under the tree.  Scary to think what might have happened.  And about a half hour later, 11 of my boys would have been walking right in that exact spot from tutoring back to my dorm, which you can see in the photo below. 

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My dorm is barely visible in the center of the photo, the edge of a roof and the fence is all you can see of it.  The noise was so loud from there!

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There was a little boy raking up leaves and such and putting them that bin when the tree broke, but he heard the noise and ran clear, thank God!  My friend was sitting on the little wall you see in the photo, a little to the right, and her son was playing under the tree, but in the clear space you can see in front of where the tree fell. 

SO much to be thankful for today!  This story could have had a very different ending.   We praise God for his mercy and protection today!

It makes me think of all things we are spared or protected from and have no idea.  In this case, we know it was miraculous that no one was injured and I am thankful!

Monday, September 08, 2014

Selfie self-improvement!

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Well, it took a little practice but I finally got a shot of me and Felizardo – much better when someone else steps in to help though!

At least Felizardo looks good in every shot!

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Q is for Quiosque, of Quorse!

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IMG_3933For the second week of school holidays, I was again on a quest to get the boys off the center to “passear” which is a great Portuguese word meaning something similar to “go out and about.”

I had a brainstorm when I realized that the little snack bars here are often called Quiosques (Portuguese for Kiosk if you didn’t gather that!).

(Here’s little Lulu, looking doubtful I was showing him the right stuff and then thrilled when we hit the pocket!)

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So three days in a row I took one room at a time to the somewhat local Quiosque for Quiejo (cheese) and crackers and a soda which doesn’t start with Q but is pretty much a sure thing at a Quiosque.

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While I didn’t get a photo in front of the Quiosque sign (it was too close to the busy road to risk it), I did get plenty of shots of the unexpected bonus – a pool table!

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I love playing pool!  Even more, I love surprising the boys who were certain that Mana Laura would NOT know how to play pool!

IMG_3922Manuel 2 was pretty excited for me when I made a shot!  The boys loved running around to the side to watch the ball fall into line.IMG_3951Basically the Tias and I played one another while giving the boys lots of chances to shoot.  Not one of the three Tias had ever played before, they were so cute to watch!

IMG_3923All the boys got to take a turn or two as well.  Here’s Felix getting ready!

IMG_3926I couldn’t convince them it wasn’t a good thing for the white ball to go in the pocket, they were just as thrilled!

IMG_3954Jan joined us and did a great job showing Manuelly-Belly how to shoot.

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I love, love, love this action shot when Mana Zaida, you can barely see her on the right, made a shot.  They were so excited!