Published: December 17th 2006December 17th 2006
2 Little Princesses
the 6 and 7 month old babies
I think I´ve mentioned this before, but I´ve found me in a Venezuelan orphanage for Christmas and I couldn’t be happier. I´m in Valencia, the 3rd largest city in Venezuela, in a 32 child home located at the base of a mountain. The house has some beautiful property that was donated to the organization in 1988. There are 2 houses here, one the ´lower´ house where the older girls sleep and the ´upper´ house where everyone else is. I´ve got all of my personal belongings in the lower house but I sleep in the upper (I can´t keep my stuff in the upper or the little ones would just rip it all apart and spread it all over the place, so I have it behind closed doors in a safe place). I get to sleep in the busiest room of them all, the baby room; at night we have 11 babies (all under 4 1/2) who stay in the same room. The youngest is a month old, and we have a 1 1/2 month old, a 6 month old, a 7 1/2 month old, and a little girl who’s just over a year old. After that we have
Little Girls love to pose for pictures
When I bring out the camera the girls go CRAZY and want pictures taken in EVERY pose... good thing I have a few memory cards!
a 2 year old, a 3 year old, a 4 year old with cerebral palsy, one of the 4 1/2 year old twins (the other has to sleep in the lower house ´cause the two of them together are a horrible combination of terror) and the 2 children of the director, 3 and 4 1/2. Needless to say, I´m up to my chin in poop spit-up and pee!
I actually got peed on the first day I was here (was that a little foreshadowing?), and just this morning the littlest guy went ahead and pooped alllll over my arm. It was just what I needed at 4am! Oh yea, did I mention that I get to wake up with the hungry little monsters at 2, 3 and 4am, depending on who´s hungry and when? I do… and I´m surprisingly getting quite used to it. (Maybe it’s all the practice from waking up with Mike when he has to go to work for 3am. Then again, I never really woke up with him; I kinda just rolled over and went back to sleep… but it´s baby steps, right honey?!)
But like I said, even with all the bodily fluids, the severe
I think this is a match made in Heaven
lack of sleep and the crying babies, I love it here. At different times of the day I have my favourite little ones… in the morning it´s the 2 year old boy who loves to give big hugs and kisses and cuddle with me… he can’t wait for his bath (we give each of them a quick cold-water bath in the morning. You can imagine how long that takes for all 11 of them!), and loves to play peek-a-boo with the towel. Unfortunately during the day he morphs into a little monster and wreaks havoc on the house - it´s literally like night and day!
Right before bed my favourite is one of the twins. In Spanish, morocho means twins that aren’t identical, and everyone just calls both of them Morocho. They are the most terrible little creatures imaginable; they bite, pull hair, kick, scream and hit the other kids… they are a lean, mean tag-teaming machine that can drive anyone mad. Even with all this, I´m winning them over with love. All of the kids call the women who work here ¨Tía¨ (aunty), and the men ¨Tío¨ (uncle), so to the little ones I´m Tía, and to the ones
two of the little guys who sleep in my room and one of the girls from the lower house. they love to play together during the day... as long as they dont beat each other up we´re ok!
who are old enough to remember, I´m Tía Callie. Anyway, the Morochos are notorious for running away from anyone with the ability to discipline them and don´t really respond well to adults. They each have been assigned to one of the older boys here who takes care of them; making sure they´re changed, trying to keep them in line and protecting the other kids from their wrath. I don’t know why, but they actually really love me. They can´t get enough of playing ´Monito¨ (little monkey), where they get to climb all over me and I indulge them by giggling when they tickle me and I only have to remind them a few times a minute to be ´sauve´ (gentle!). They have taken to running to me with their arms wiiiide open, massive toothless grins on their dirty little faces, yelling ´Tiaaaaa¨ with slobber streaming out behind them for me to give them big hugs and kisses. The little terrors are quite amazing… and just before bed my Morocho likes to play with his trucks… on me. We have a game where he gets to run his truck all over my arms, back and head, and then I return the
one of the varones (older boys) with their cow, Canella.
favour. He just thinks it´s the funniest thing! It´s good to get him away from the other kids so he doesn´t disrupt them while we´re trying to get them to sleep.
I´ve been helping the director with his applications for donations from numerous American organizations. He speaks English, but not well enough to be able to answer some of these questions that the forms require. It´s been a great learning experience and good practice for grant applications if I ever decide to do something like this (which, from seeing how much work it is, is quite unlikely, but I´d love to do some more volunteer work in the same field, and nothing beats being able to convince people to give you free money!).
I haven´t been asked to pay for anything here, but I´m making a donation of $250 to the home to cover the costs of me eating here for 17 days and then some extra I´m donating to put towards the cost of buying a new-to-them car. It´s a miracle that the van they have is still running… it´s the most dilapidated and wrecked thing I´ve ever set my eyes on. It´s a good thing that gas is
Swing Set Shot
Minutes after taking this picture ALL hell broke loose and kids were flying all over the place. But don´t they look cute?!?!
3cents a liter because I´m sure that thing burns it like nobody´s business! They need a smaller car that´s safer and more reliable to transport the kids in… and one that won´t break down on a sudden whim!
Alright, the babies have woken up… it´s time for their feeding (this happens every 3-4 hours!)… wish me luck and I´ll add some pictures tonight! (hopefully).
There are more photos below