Monday, July 29, 2013

Callie´s Visit- Day 1

For the next three days, I get to have my first visitor! Callie, the youth director at my church, is visiting Cochabamba with a group from her graduate school, but she´s coming to Cochabamba a few days early. She´s staying with me at the baby home. I´m excited to show her where I´ve been living and working these past 2 months!

Early Monday morning, three of the babies and I loaded up in a taxi and headed to the airport to pick up Callie. I wasn´t exactly sure how long it´d take to get there, and we needed some extra time to eat breakfast while waiting, but we got there extremely early (like almost an hour early...)! With all of the waiting, the kids really did great!

Speaking of the waiting we did, here´s a funny story! Right before Callie´s flight was to land, we went over to the waiting area where the two toddlers quickly made friends with everyone around us. I had several people comment about my ¨daughters¨ and ask if the toddlers are twins. One lady was very chatty and seemed especially confused when I said that the toddlers aren´t twins, but just sisters that both happen to be two years old. She then asked if the 3 drive me crazy. Right as I said ¨no,¨ toddler M. took off running away from me. She probably didn´t believe me, but they really don´t drive me crazy!

Hopefully I´ll be able to blog about our adventures every day!

The welcoming crew at the airport!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Thankful Thursday

Today I'm thankful for...

  • the ability to stay in Cochabamba longer than planned!

Yes, that's right... I will NOT be coming home on August 2nd. Instead, I'll be here until early December. The plan is to then return home for Christmas and get all the paperwork together to return to Cochabamba on a long-term visa in January. I'm so excited to see all that will happen over the next few months! Thank you for following along!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Chau for Now!

Today was moving day for this brother and sister! S. and Baby A. moved in to House 4 with the Boohers. It´s a great move for both of them, and I´m excited to see the progress they´ll make in a smaller, family environment. 

It´s pretty well-known among the tías that Baby A. is my favorite, and several of them tell me she´s my ¨hijita¨ (daughter). She´s a really easy baby, and she was a great one to take on errands with me. She spent many nights in my room, too, so I was especially sad to see her go. However, if she does have to leave, I´m happy she´s going with the Boohers. They are an amazing family, and I´ll still get to visit!

S. usually cried screamed at the mere sight of me. However, today he was pretty happy with me and although he´s pretty serious in this picture, he smiled quite a bit this morning!

 We were all sad to see Baby A. go!

I think the Boohers may have a better version of this picture, but this one will have to do for now. I couldn´t let them leave without first getting a picture of all of us together!

 S. and Baby A. with Tío Rudi and Tía Carla Booher

 We took some of the toddlers out into the street to see them off!

The feeling in the house is so different with two gone. Throughout the day we´ve all commented on how they´re ¨missing.¨ I went into the little babies´ room tonight, and it was weird to see Baby A.´s empty crib.

We´ll miss these two, that´s for sure!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Busy Afternoon!

Saturdays always go by so fast! I don´t technically have a Saturday shift, so although I usually end up working part of the day, it´s nice to be able to sleep in a bit and do whatever I want when I wake up.

We don´t eat a lot in the way of desserts or sweets here, and my sweet tooth is suffering! I don´t cook... like ever... but ever since making Tia Yovana´s cake, I´ve been craving sweets. Last night, I found a recipe for cream cheese chocolate chip cookies and it seemed easy enough, so I decided to give it a go this afternoon.

I go to the grocery store way too frequently for someone who doesn´t cook, but I needed to buy a few of the ingredients. The store is really close to the baby home, so it´s pretty easy to bring a baby or two with me. This morning it was Ruth´s turn for an outing! Her behavior, as expected, was fabulous! We arrived home just in time for lunch, and after lunch, I got to work on baking.

I had a cookie baking assitant, but I think it proved to be too much work for her!

 The cookies didn´t look so nice and were pretty flat when they came out of the oven, but the taste made up for it! 

Every Saturday afternoon at the Boohers´house, there is a program called ¨La Horita Feliz¨ (¨Happy Hour¨). It´s basically like a big Sunday school class. The older boys and girls from Casa de Amor attend and so do many other kids from the neighborhood. The past few weeks, I´ve brought one or two kids from the baby home. La Horita Feliz is really a little above their level, but it´s always nice to get them out of the house. I take the kids out of the house with me a lot, but other than La Horita Feliz, they never get to go to places with other kids. That´s one of the reasons why I really like taking them there. It´s taken a bit of time for them to warm up to the program, but once it gets going, they seem to really enjoy it... especially the music! I really like all of the Spanish children´s church songs, too!

Although it was tempting to take F. to La Horita Feliz with that hairstyle, I did fix her hair before leaving the house!

 I had planned on taking the toddlers with me, but my favorite baby, Baby A., was a last minute addition to our outing!

La Horita Feliz takes place during dinner at the baby home, so I usually ask the tias to save some food for the kids who go with me. Tonight we went out to eat, after dropping off the baby back at home. The girls did great!

 M., on the left, was just giddy the whole time! She had a huge smile and said ¨Mmmm¨after every. single. bite. The little girl on the right, F., was pretty excited too and also had a great big smile while eating!

I am SO proud of these two, but especially this one! She used to hate leaving the house, but now she loves to be on the go. While getting ready to leave, she tells everyone ¨Chau!¨and while walking down the street, she tells everyone she passes ¨Hola!¨ It´s quite a change from the screaming and crying she used to do!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Playing at the Park

One of the many things that I love about working at Casa de Amor is the freedom I have to take the kids out of the house. I take kids on walks around the neighborhood, to the park, to the grocery store, to visit the other houses, and to other random places that I need to go. Yes, it´s a lot of work taking babies and toddlers out (just collecting all the stuff we might possibly need can take awhile!), but it´s fun, too! We all enjoy getting out of the house for a little while, and it really helps with the socialization of the kids.

Wednesday night after dinner, I took two of our toddlers to the park! So far, I´ve found 3 parks within walking distance of our house. The park we went to was the farthest away (which made for a long and slow walk with two toddlers), but I chose it because it also has a large grassy area. They needed some space to burn off some excess energy!

Unfortunately most of the playground equipment was too big for them, but they did enjoy the swings for a few minutes, and they both loved the smaller of the two slides! The rest of our time was spent running around, just enjoying being outside.

She really liked the swings!

 He was more interested in the dogs that kept wandering up.

 The big slide... that was as far up as he made it!

 He´s a pro at climbing up anything and everything!

 I thought I got some pictures of her actually sliding, but this is the only one I have!

He LOVED the slide!

Waiting her turn to go up!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Cristo de la Concordia

What a day it has been! The older kids have been on winter break from school the past two weeks, so Carlee and Danyelle have planned activities for them every day. With Sunday being the last day of the break, they wanted to plan something extra fun... and since we all agree it´s important to get the kids out and about to see their city... so we visited the Cristo de la Concordia!

Carlee and Danyelle have both been before, and I think several of the kids have also visited the Cristo in the past, but it was my first time. The Cristo can be seen from all parts of the city, so I was really excited to be able to visit.

We ended up taking the four oldest boys and the four oldest girls. We had to wait in line for hours before going up to the Cristo, but there was a huge park where the kids could play while we waited in line. Bringing the older kids was great because we didn´t have to worry about them wandering off while they were playing. We did constant head counts, but there was no reason to worry; the kids behaved well during our outing!

For some reason, our big group was separated before getting in the cable cars to go up. I ended up in a cable car with one of the other volunteers, and S., one of the girls. When we got up to the Cristo, we couldn´t find the other kids or Carlee and Danyelle anywhere! We assumed they went up inside the Cristo, so that´s what we did. However, when we made it up, we never saw them. There´s only one way up and one way down, so had they been inside, we would´ve had to pass them. Well, it turns out, they didn´t realize you could go inside, so they were waiting for us at a little restaurant at the bottom of the Cristo. I´m so happy we were able to go up! There were lots of little spiral staircases, and at each landing, there are holes in the wall where you can look out and see the city. The views are incredible! I think S. really enjoyed being able to go inside the Cristo, as well. It was pretty dark and the staircases were really narrow, but she did great!

The other kids didn´t realize what they missed out on, and they seemed to enjoy their visit just as much!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Thankful Thursday

I´m thankful for...

  • the opportunity to be volunteering here at Casa de Amor
  • all of our kids... the little ones and the big ones!
  • all of the tias... they work so hard and love the kids so very much (and they do a pretty good job of taking care of us, too!)
  • my fellow CDA volunteers, Carlee and Danyelle (and Madison, a friend from church who also volunteers at CDA once a week!)... it´s hard to imagine being here and working with anyone else. I´m so thankful for the support and friendship I have in them!
  • the ability to speak Spanish
  • Tia Silvia´s cooking... I never have to go hungry or make myself a meal
  • being able to go to the internet cafe even when I don´t have internet at home
  • my health here in Bolivia
  • the freedom I have to take kids out and about with me around Cochabamba
  • kids who are finally feeling better
  • daily emails from my mom
  • the constant kisses I get from Mindy
  • my church here in Cochabamba and how they haven´t yet kicked me out for bringing such loud, wild children with me every week
  • frequent messages from friends back home
  • great weather
  • sleepovers with the girls
  • the Booher family and all of the help they give not just me, but the other volunteers as well
  • the ways the girls try to watch out for and help Jhosie
  • a good night´s sleep last night
  • late night talks with the tias
  • yummy breakfasts every morning
  • my Spanish classes
  • all of you who read my blog :)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Feliz Cumple!

It´s no secret that I´m not much of a chef. My list of what I can cook is pretty short. The tias are forever telling me that I can learn how to cook, and I´ve told them that when they want to teach me, I´ll be a willing participant.

Bolivians aren´t really into super sweet foods, and my sweet tooth has been suffering here! When I found out that one of the baby home tias was having a birthday this past Monday, I decided that I needed to conquer my fear of the kitchen and make her a birthday cake. 

I think we were all a little nervous to see how the cake was going to turn out! However, it was delicious! So delicious that we (the tias) may have eaten the entire cake in one day...  
 So far so good!

 Out of the oven, and it looks like a real cake!

 My first attempt at baking in Bolivia was a success!

 I really did try to get her to smile... :)

So thankful for all of the tias, but especially this one!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Sick Kids

We´ve unfortunately had some sort of contagious sickness going around the baby home. It was especially bad last week. I think 8 of our 15 babies were sick at some point. Most of the toddlers managed to avoid whatever it was, but the one year olds and our littlest babies were hit especially hard.

After talking to the doctor, it was decided that rather than bring all of the kids in for an appointment, we needed to keep doing what we were doing at home. The tias stayed on top of giving out medicine and making sure the kids stayed hydrated. I don´t know how many outfit changes a day most of them went through, but we did laundry all day long. It was a long week to say the least... and we did it all with 2 substitute tias!

When the tiniest babies started getting sick at the end of the week, it became serious pretty fast. Baby V. (4 months) was taken to the hospital on Thursday and was discharged on Saturday. Baby A. (3 months) was admitted Saturday morning and discharged this past Tuesday morning. 

I spent Saturday at the hospital with our two sick girls. Someone doesn´t have to stay with them, but we obviously didn´t want them there alone. They both proved to be model patients. Baby V. was happiest when she was being held and all the nurses seemed to love her! Baby A. spent most of her hospital stay asleep, so the nurses loved her, too!

I went back on Sunday to visit Baby A. for a few hours, and the doctor told me several times how much better she was doing! She was finally allowed to drink a little milk on Sunday, and it was the first time she was able to keep anything down. Her color had returned to normal, and she just looked so much better!

On Monday, I had planned to go back to visit her before she was going to be discharged. However, our plans changed a bit... Apparently it is hospital policy that if a patient needs blood, someone related to/associated with the patient must donate blood before the patient can be discharged. Well, Baby A. needed a blood transfusion when she arrived at the hospital, so someone needed to donate before she could be discharged. I don´t know exactly how I was the chosen one, but I was told that before visiting Baby A., I would be going with one of the other tias to the blood bank to donate blood for her. To make a long story short, after making it through the finger prick, I wasn´t allowed to donate. Luckily, Danyelle came to the rescue and donated blood! This policy seems a little odd to me, but it´s one way to make sure that there´s always some blood available!

I´ll be the first to admit that I was a little nervous to see the hospital where the girls were staying... but I was pleasantly surprised! It seems like a really nice hospital. It was very clean and all of the doctors and nurses were very kind and professional. Both of the girls received great care!

Before being given entrance to the girls´floor, I had to give them an i.d. in exchange for my visitor pass. Each patient can have one visitor at a time.

Baby V. in her hospital room. There were 3 beds in her room, but she was the only patient in her room at the time.

Baby A. in her hospital bed. She looked even tinier in that big bed!

 Baby V.´s face when we told her she was being discharged! We were all happy to see her back at home!

Baby A. drinking a rehydration drink.

Baby A. relaxing! Can you tell she´s feeling much better?!