Monday, December 30, 2013

Birthday Boy ~ and Cat!


Julio’s birthday was actually the 27th, poor thing, but with all the fuss of Christmas and me just returning, I hadn’t yet looked at the calendar.  So we’re celebrating today!  He didn’t know his birthday so he’s not at all fussed!

It’s a rainy day – couple of days really – so the boys ate inside which means we celebrated inside!  “Celebrating” just involves the birthday boy giving out candy to everyone, which they love!  Then the birthday boy sleeps with Spiderman sheets and pjs, and uses the Spiderman towel and washcloth during showers.  They love their special Spiderman day!


Today is also a precious boy named Elidio’s birthday.  He moved up to the next dorm two days ago so he’ll be celebrating with them.  But a year ago, we “discovered” that Elidio shared his birthday with one of my cats, Gato Antonio! 

So Antonio got to celebrate today too!  I got the boys really, really quiet, then led her out with a bowl of tuna, her birthday pressie, since she doesn’t eat candy!

The boys loved it!

(and yes, her name is Antonio – hey, the boys told me “here’s a cat Mana Laura, it’s a boy and his name is Antonio – and I never looked!)

Friday, December 27, 2013

Movin’ On Up

IMG_2138It’s that time of year again, a little earlier this year, when my oldest bunch move up to the next dorm.  Sad day for me!  (I’m also a little sad how the lady cut my bangs last week but that’s not really germaine, I’m just self-conscious about them!). 

IMG_2096IMG_2099  First, I took my boys to a yummy farewell lunch at Mimmos – chicken and chips for everyone!  Three wonderful visitors joined us, two ladies from Reunion Island (extra points if anyone knows where that is without asking our friend Google!) and Graham, a return visitor from England about whom my boys said “Mano Graham works really hard” because he is always helping!  Too my surprise, Maria asked to treat us all to lunch, that was so sweet of her!


IMG_2121Once we got home, we had a little farewell with the rest of the boys, including praying for the ones moving up, and popcorn and soda, without which, no party by Mana Laura would be complete!  Their last time using the Spider and Super Man cups!


IMG_2134IMG_2136They carried over their things to their new home in their new dorm, where they were warmly welcomed!  They are so excited to each have their own new bed!

IMG_2139And finally, here we are all crying for them having to leave.  Ok, so I’m the only one crying.  And in fact, although I held it together in front of them, only a little watery eyes, I did cry myself home without them.  Yes, they are nearby and no, it is not the same at all.  I know from experience.  And it breaks my heart every time.

I will miss these boys!  They are precious to me and include my absolute favorite, Felizardo.  And I realize that I really enjoy my mix of ages and love having these older boys to actually converse with, who get ideas and concepts, who aren’t so clingy but still so loving.  It’s hard to lose all the oldest and have almost all younguns now. 

But, they are growing up, and they are excited for this evidence of it!

Pray for my babies! Smile

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Smiles, Smiles Everywhere! It’s Christmas in Mozambique!


(Alternative Title:  The Boys are Really Happy – I am Really Tired!)

Look at those cutie pies, all kitted out in their new outfits!  Looking so darling (only took about 20 photos to get them looking that way, let’s be honest!).  They always love their new clothes and feel so smart in them.


But what they really love are . . . presents!  In the photo above, you see two of the three rooms looking at this . . .


The Tias carrying in their new Dorm Gifts! (minus the trampoline which I didn’t have time to arrange but still will!).  They love Tonka trucks (and thank you to Doris, Pat and Kathy for carrying those beasts in your luggage for me!), skateboards and scooters (which everyone marvels that I carry in mine) and of course, soccer balls (thanks again Cesaer!)> 


Looks pretty good there under our teeny, tiny tree doesn’t it?



IMG_1934Listening to Papa Steve, aka Pai Natal, talk about Christmas!


Hey, I’m in a photo!  I really am here for Christmas, honest!


Some happy, silly boys – and one almost teenager who went straight for the handheld game!  Things aren’t much different all around the world, are they?


My goodness they loved these glasses, a last minute find at Party City!


New shoes!  Wahoo!  And socks too!  Not that you could pay me to wear socks in this heat, but they love ‘em!


The Three Amigos – sad, all of them are moving up in two days.


Latifo, The Thinker!  And Lulu, who just arrived last week and doesn’t know what hit him!  I’m quite sure he’s only ever had a present or two in his whole life, and not a bag full and not with new clothes and new shoes at the same time! 


The center eating together (my table is the first one you can only see a teeny bit of).


That’s a lot of boys!


Two cute-patoots, Horacio and Junior!

A special thank you to all those who sponsored my boys for their gifts and clothes, what a blessing!  And to those of you who give all the year thru, enabling me to be here and love on these precious boys!

The boys wanna say:

“Come see us this year, we’d love to meet you!

And now, we’re tired of looking at the camera, we’re just gonna look at our new stuff! 

Merry Christmas!  Feliz Natal!”


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Getting ready for Christmas!

IMG_1817Afonso didn’t blow up all those balloons by himself but he sure enjoyed his part!  He was taking his time and was the last boy left, the rest had gone off to lunch!  This is for our second strand.

IMG_1816Balloons are a big part of our Christmas decorating scheme, which we always do the day before Christmas.  It’s chaotic and crazy and I’m ready to pull my hair out by the end of it but the boys love it!  I couldn’t not let them be a part of it.

Adilson is so proud of himself – he learned to tie his balloon shut by himself for the first time!  Look at that concentration!  My left pointer finger thanks him!


After lunch, the decorating carried on.  For the first time ever, thanks to a friend (Wendy’s) suggestion, we are going to have our festivities in the “refretorio” which is our outdoor dining area, instead of in our “sala” which is the main room.  It’s got much better light so hopefully some better photos, much more room and much more fresh air – an important plus, seeing as it’s meant to be about 100 degrees tomorrow!  It was also much easier – and more fun – to decorate!  Who doesn’t like climbing on top of the fence and up to the rafters?


The gift bags are all packed, this is the last of them, waiting to have every single thing in the bag labeled with the right boys’ name on it.  It saves a lot of tears and possibly a large headache on my part, on Christmas morning to have the boys names on all the toys before they start pulling everything out in a mad frenzy!


We ended tonight with our traditional Christmas Eve church service.  Lots of groups do dramas or songs (we sang a Portuguese song about Jesus our Savior being born, set to the tune of “Deck the Halls, complete with waving tinsel during the “fa la la la las”!) and we always end with the kids favorite part – the candles! 

In my first years, it was a free-for-all and the kids ran around with their candles, trying to burn each other or blow each other’s candles out and I would cower in the corner hoping my polyester skirt wouldn’t go up in flames! 

Now we’re much more civilized and make them sit down the whole time!  More boring for them but safer for all!IMG_1869

Look at that mug?  Gorgeous Afonso, having a great time.  Doesn’t he just make you want to come for Christmas next year?  (if you forget I mentioned the 100 degrees???)

Merry Christmas friends and family around the world!

Christ the Savior is born – hallelujah!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Fire! But We’re All Ok!


Last night about 7:45ish, I was returning from my walk down on the soccer field (yes, it was almost 90 degrees and yes I’m desperate to lose the US weight I found!) and saw quite a bit of smoke in the back of our property behind my house.  But I didn’t think anything of it because it was right near our property wall and people in the community burn their trash regularly back there.

I didn’t think anything of it until I heard one our youth talking about a hose and two minutes later, Steve our director, saying the word fire (it’s amazing what  I can hear from my house!).  I went out back to discover one of our containers had caught fire!  (In the photo below, the fence along the right is around my garden)IMG_1774

Sadly, just last week we had filled it with a shipment of shoes, a donation that had cost us thousands of dollars to get out of the port.  Quick thinking workers and youth were able to save many of the boxes of shoes while the fire was still only smoldering in the back.  But many were lost as well.IMG_1797

IMG_1791Thankfully, no one was injured and that’s always the most important thing.

On the plus side, there was great excitement when the fire trucks and personnel arrived.  There is only one station, in the city, so they came quite a ways but they came quickly. 

At one point the first truck ran out of water and a second one arrived.  We were left to surmise what they were doing in this photo and could only guess they were moving the water from the second truck to the first truck to then use on the smoldering remains!IMG_1804

You might be interested to note that most Mozambicans believe that drinking milk after “dirty” work, firefighting included, but also dumping garbage, extensive yard work, etc, can minimize the negative effects on the lungs!  So they asked for a liter of milk each!  Do I have any firefighting readers – what do you say?IMG_1798

We’re not sure the cause of the fire, a few theories have floated around, mostly having to do with a fire in the community that moved through a gap in our wall right next to the container.  Thank God it didn’t spread any further in our center full of kinesu fencing!  The two closest buildings are our nursery/clinic and the Baby House!