Saturday, June 29, 2013

A Visit “Home”

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These gorgeous children all came to us from a government orphanage called “Premeiro de Maio” in the city.  Felizardo, in the center in Spiderman, had been asking me for ages if he could visit his “home”, the center he grew up in. 

So we loaded up the kids that we knew of that came form there and went for a visit.  I forgot to take any photos inside the center.  But the kids enjoyed the visit and the staff enjoyed seeing them. 

Especially Felizardo, boy was he the star!  The staff came running to find him, brought other staff to see him, took him to see other staff, etc.  Cries of “Felizardo!” could be heard ringing throughout the place.  I felt badly for the rest of the kids. 

But they explained he was there from an infant and they had watched him grow up til almost six when he came to live with us so he was special to them.

As he is to me. 

So these six children have no known family.  They arrived at the government center for one reason or another and there is no record of family.  They were either lost or abandoned or their mom died at birth or myriad other reasons they ended up in the center with no family connections.  But miracles happen and children are reunited or sometimes adopted as was one boy who would have been in this photo. 

Please pray for these kids to find a home – their own or the loving arms of a new family. 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Look what I found . . . .

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“It’s M’m M’m  Good!”

Sold in a teeny-tiny shop, the kind you stand at the counter and point to what you want on the shelves. 

And there it was, in all it’s glory! 

I was so excited, I think I freaked the guy out when I was asking why he chose to sell it, I think he thought I was interrogating him, I was just so surprised to see it! 

Friday, June 21, 2013

They never cease to entertain me!

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We got a big donation from a friend who used to live here in Maputo, she sent all kinds of clothes, including some for a fairly large man.  This “pair” of gorgeous shoes was included – unfortunately, it wasn’t a real pair, it was two very different black shoes.  So, there was no use for them but to play.  I think it’s the favorite “toy” the boys have got in ages, they absolutely love clunking around in these huge shoes, like Bozo the Clown!  I laugh (yes, out loud) every time I see them!  Paulito is working them like a pro!

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These two gems, Antonio and Vernazio, used to live in this dorm but have moved up.  They’ve been enjoying coming back to play in the garden in the afternoon lately.  Vernazio wanted me to take a photo of him with this “estera” mat on his head but it wouldn’t get in the photo!

IMG_6042Hercules, otherwise known as Felizardo, was getting a little help from Gerson to lift this tire on his shoulder and carry it around the garden to show how strong he is!  “I get by with a little help from my friends . . . “

IMG_6039Cleaning up after play time in the garden does involve raking the sand – this is a twice daily occupation for most Mozambicans.  All I know is it sends a lot of dust in my house every day! Smile

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Ah, Sugar Sugar

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Precious Vovo de Shelton, in other words, Shelton’s Grandmother, brought me some sugar cane yesterday!  People love it here, you can buy it on the streets and in the city you can buy a cup of it fresh squeezed through a grinder contraption.  But in ten years, I have never tried it.

Now I’m not sure my teeth will forgive me for trying it!

Here’s how you eat it:  you bite into the outer peel and strip it off, all the way around (that’s what I’m doing in the photo).  Then you try and bite off about an inch long piece of it – ow! Then you chew it and suck on it and get all the sugary goodness out of it and spit out the fibers. 

The ladies had a good laugh at my amateur attempts – I’m always up for entertaining them!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Happy Birthday Delton!

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The boys love a birthday celebration, simple as it may be.  They get so excited, all of them!  The birthday boy gets overloaded with Spiderman goodies – PJs, sheets, towel and washcloth to use on their special day and the boys favorite part – a Spidey bucket of candy to give out to everyone!  My favorite part is that silly hat I found for .50 cents at a yard sale.  They love it and look so cute in it. 

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Pai giving some birthday love to Delton – cutie pies!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Reunited!

DSC_0020Sweet little Ernesto left us last week to be reunited with his mother in their new home- yay!  Ernesto and his brother Moises came here to Iris a few years ago.  Moises was first in my dorm (and moved up to the next dorm two years ago) and Ernesto was in the Baby House. 

We’ve loved having him the last two years, he is a pumpkin!  Adorable!  With a scrunchy face smile that just melts your heart.

Moises and Ernesto came because their father had abandoned the family, their mother had no work and their home conditions were desperately bad. 

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My boys are praying for Ernesto as his little farewell.

We have been able to help the mother build a new home, it has taken some time but it is now done!  She has often visited and had the boys for weekends on occasion so they have maintained their relationship.

The boys were both thrilled to go home to live with mom!  We love that! 

Sunday, June 09, 2013

New PJs

IMG_6004I waited WAY too long to replace the boys PJs from last year!  They were looking pretty raggedy, especially the ones with buttons which had long since gone the way of  all things!  IMG_6003

Six year olds with their shirts unbuttoned don’t look macho!  Come to think of it, neither do 26 year olds!  IMG_6007

The boys were thrilled to get new ones.  Pai and Felix the Cat, the biggest boys, required a different set altogether.  And Julio, our newest, chose the Spiderman set over the matching ones – who could blame him? IMG_6008

CUTIE PIES!

Thursday, June 06, 2013

D Day and my visit to Normandy

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In 2010, I had the honor of visiting Normandy, France.  I had always wanted to visit there on the anniversary of D Day and see the WWII sites and especially, the beaches of D Day.

I arrived on July 4th, (the next best date) on an overnight ferry from England, which made it extra special. I walked to the Peace Museum and  got the last seat on an eight person guided tour of the beaches (they are very spread out and not very accessible without a car).

5159448437_0514b425de_bIt was such a humbling experience to visit those beaches and see what the men faced.  My limited imagination was helped by having watched The Longest Day in preparation of my visit.  It was sobering indeed.

My visit to Normandy was very special for a number of other reasons as well.  I certainly have never felt as proud to be an American when in a foreign country as I was there in Normandy, France.  I was surprised by that, given the reputation the French have for not liking Americans (sorry my French friends!).

5160054646_8d581da6c8_bPart of my guided tour included a visit to the American Cemetery right above one of the beaches.  We were greeted by this lovely French couple who had a large basket of roses.  They were giving them to Americans along with a small paper identifying an American serviceman’s grave for us to lay a rose at their grave in honor of Fourth of July.  They actually had tears in their eyes as they thanked me for the sacrifice of my country to help liberate France decades ago.  If you can read the man’s t-shirt, it says, ""Thank You America – France Will Never Forget”  Whew, who had tears in their eyes after talking with them!

5160056244_6512a99a19_bThis is the rose that I placed.  It made it very personal. 

Another special encounter I had was while in Caen, the city nearest Normandy beaches, and was looking at a bombed shell of a church, very near the Abbeye aux Hommes, built by William the Conqueror in the 11th Century.  I was standing in the circle you see in the photo below, taking photos of the church.

A woman who appeared to be in her 40s approached me, she looked like  a New York business commuter – skirt and suit coat and tennis shoes!  She asked if I was American and was determined to communicate with me.  With her French, my Portuguese a little English and lots of hand motions, I believe I understood what she was saying.  She was trying to turn my attention from the bombed church above to the “castle” below.

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She told me the story of how the Allies had bombed much of the area in the beginning of liberating France but the French had marked special buildings with larges Xs on the top so they wouldn’t bomb them.  The church that was bombed is only about 100 yards from the grounds of this historical Abbey where William the Conqueror’s’ remains were laid.  Amazing. 

But then she took my hand and shook it vigorously and said many times, “Thank you, God bless America for your help in our war, thank you!”  Now this woman wasn’t even alive during the war!  And yet the sense of gratitude for America seemed genuine and she wasn’t trying to sell me souvenirs!  She hugged me and jog-walked away while I went on to visit the Abbey. 

I met many people who expressed appreciation toward America during my visit to Normandy.  I was so touched.  And, as I already said, proud to be an American.

5159452367_1156149167_bAnd proud of our World War II veterans and the great sacrifices they all made.

It makes me proud of our military, all of the branches and all of the troops from before WWII until today.

“Thank you for your service.” 

It hardly seems enough.

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Children's Day, 2013

IMG_5949Whew, what a day!  Especially after having just traveled 44 hours back from the US to arrive the day before our second most exciting (in other words, busy) day of the year!

But it’s all worth it to see the joy on these darling boys’ faces as they are blessed with a new outfit, a gift bag full of fun presents and a yummy chicken dinner with far too much on the plate to finish!

DSC_0335Wonderfully, all their clothes fit except for Pai’s trousers – oh dear!  I know skinny jeans are in for boys too but this was a bit much.  I called another missionary who works with the older boys and she bailed me out with a bigger pair of jeans.  Pai is my biggest boy and although these jeans fit ok when I bought them, they were definitely not ok now! Sweet thing, he didn’t even complain but he sure was relieved when I gave him a different pair.

Ros told me a litte story about our special lunch for the children who live in the vicinity of the garbage dump, the bocaria, often whose families make their living picking through the garbage.  Each Children’s Day and Christmas, we bring about 100 of them here for a special meal and a gift bag.  Two of the sweetpeas arrived yesterday wearing their best – pajamas!  She said you could tell they were fairly DSC_0337pleased with their nice clothes (they were in good condition) but the other kids began to touch their clothes and the kids became self-conscious.  Ros sweetly complimented their clothes and asked if they might want another outfit for special things like church and took them to our clothing room for a new outfit which they were well pleased with.  Makes you think, doesn’t it?

While I was in the US, our VCR was stolen while everyone was at church.  Fortunately, I had bought a new DVD player (our old one had broken six months or so ago) so I had a replacement of sorts and the boys were able to settle in for the end of a long day with a new DVD – Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, very cute! 

DSC_0352They were zonked out in bed at 8pm and I won’t be far behind!

It’s a privilege to bless these wonderful little boys with some things that make them happy!  Thank you for partnering with me to help make this possible!

It’s not too early to start making plans to celebrate next Children’s Day here with us – it’s always June 1st!  Everyone is welcome Smile

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