Sunday, July 22, 2007

Come to my house this Saturday

Originally uploaded by ccswaringen.
Ever since we've been here in Guatemala, Sonia, one of the home mothers, has been inviting us to come see her house. The plans never worked out until yesterday.

We were humbled and amazed as we walked through the "gate" to her house. She, her husband and four children rent a small piece of property in Villa Nueva. The house has a concrete floor and basically no walls (they use sheets hung over a rope to separate the rooms).

Even so, Sonia (and her family, pictured at left) was so excited to show us her home — everything from the chickens in the back to the bedroom that all 6 of the family shares. She even made coffee to go along with the oatmeal chocolate chip cookies we brought.

Her home, though it is meager, holds a lot of love. We were grateful to make the connection with Sonia and to see her family, but we also got a stark picture of what most of the kids at the home are coming from. For most of them, their previous lives were filled with abuse, neglect and pain. What a privilege to be part of God's gift of new life to them!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Where did you go on your honeymoon?

Originally uploaded by ccswaringen.
The other day we were playing cards with Sammy, an eight year-old here at the home, and he asked us about our honeymoon.

He was very interested about all of the details of where we went and what we did. We told him that we had gone to San Antonio, TX...which of course he had never heard of.

Then we asked him where he would go on his honeymoon when he got married. He thought for a good two seconds and confidently replied, "to the waterpark, of course," like there couldn't possibly be a better place in the world.

After about two more seconds he simply returned to our game of Uno Attack. If only all of life were so easy!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

SuperHero Party

Originally uploaded by ccswaringen.
From Superman to Catwoman...from the Hulk to Minnie Mouse...and everything in between made up our first ever SuperHero Party. The fiesta included dressing up in your favorite SuperHero costume (or any other costume for that matter), watching "The Incredibles", and eating a plethora of snacks and desserts.

We dubbed ourselves "Super Double C". For close-ups of our superhero uniforms and powers, as well as our fellow superhero colleagues, click on the above photo.


Originally uploaded by ccswaringen.
After last week's Intern relationship skit, the older kids decided it was their turn. They approached Caleb saying that they wanted to put on a hilarious drama-sensation for the next group of gringos that came.

Caleb didn't hesitate to jump on that train. So, this past week we practiced with the older kids during the nights on another funny relationship skit.

In short, there was a lot of laughter...during the practices, while putting on the costumes, and for the actual performance in front of their peers and the gringos.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Ready to get married...?

Originally uploaded by ccswaringen.
Though I've already got the ring, the Guatemalan cooks at the children's home now think I (Christy) am ready to get married...because I've had a breakthrough in tortilla-making.

I've been going in to help Minga and Patti in the kitchen a couple times a week, and I've been trying to perfect the art of making a tortilla. Patti is amazing; she told me she makes about 500 tortillas a day (that's right, a day!). So, I've been working and working, and I think I've finally figured it out.

Patti makes it look so easy, but it's really a complicated process. Getting the right amount of dough, having it not stick to your hands and actually having it come out in a shape somewhat close to a circle are only a few of the obstacle's I've overcome.

But I've made it. I know this because Patti told me I need to learn to flip the tortillas on the stove that they cook them on. I figure that if she thinks I need to learn that, then she thinks I can actually make them! What a sweet victory!

PS-Check out the flickr site for more on how to make tortillas.

Monday, July 9, 2007

1st Birthday!!!

Originally uploaded by ccswaringen.
On Sunday, we celebrated Javier's and Salomón's birthdays, complete with cakes, songs, and presents. Javier turned 11 years old and Salomón turned 14.

Javier only came to the Children's Home in April. He didn't even know when his birthday was, let alone ever celebrated it.

Caleb sat with Javier on the bus to church. Javier's face beamed the entire day as people wished him a happy birthday. He was so excited to tell Caleb that he was going to eat at McDonalds for his birthday....oh the simple and sweet things--it was beautiful!

Relationships, relationships

Originally uploaded by ccswaringen.
On Saturday night, we put on a Special Dinner for the older kids, complete with candlelit tables, falling stars, a lasagna dinner, and plenty of entertainment.

Everyone dressed up in their "Sunday-best" for the event. We had a photo-shoot-extravaganza before and after the dinner.

The team of interns served as waiters, as well as playing unforgettable roles in a crazy dating skit. We played a version of the Newlywed Game and shared from our personal stories about relationships.

Be sure to check out more pics from the Special Dinner by clicking on the one up above.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Another year of independence

Originally uploaded by ccswaringen.
The July 4th party went off without a hitch yesterday. The kids loved the games (three-legged race, dizzy-bat and wheelbarrow race), as well as the time in the pool and facepainting (see Javier and Giovani at right).

They also scarfed down the hamburgers and apple streudel and homemade ice cream. The carnival games were a great success, as well as the fireworks to end the night.

I must say that it was one of my most enjoyable, and definitely most memorable 4th of July's. One of the best parts was the thank you note left by our cleaning lady (who we invited to attend) thanking us for the day and congratulating us on another year of independence!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Independence Man

Originally uploaded by ccswaringen.
Since today is the 4th of July, we're having a huge party for the kids, home mothers and staff here at the home.

To promote the event, Caleb dressed up as "Independence Man" and surprised all the kids at lunch with an announcement about the party. His costume included a tablecloth-cape, shoestring-headband and professionally done face paint (by his wife...not so professional!).

More info and pics to come of the party.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

English Classes

Originally uploaded by ccswaringen.
Caleb has been teaching English classes to the younger children of the Home. This week we have been learning about the parts of the body and clothing.

From dramas and modeling to crafts with clay, the kids are enjoying the quite crazy English classes with Caleb. In this picture, Javier is working hard on his "My Body" Project.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Supermom in Guate

Originally uploaded by ccswaringen.
It's not a bird, it's not a's SUPERMOM in Guatemala!

We have really enjoyed having Christy's mom at the Children's Home this week. From day one, the kids latched on to my "suegra" (mother-in-law) and affectionately called her "Supermom" because that is what Caleb calls her.

We have played everything from "Big Mama" to foursquare, pushed swings several thousand times, and had sleepovers. It was also really special for her to be here during the STOMP Praise Night.

As you can see, we also had the chance to visit Antigua and see the beautiful sites.