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Published: August 17th 2008
This is the view you typically have when you first walk into the baby orphanage.
We’re coming into the homestretch of the trip. This morning as I was getting ready the lady who cleans the place mentioned that it was her last day. I said yep. She said she had a favor to ask. I said what. She said he son doesn’t have shoes and could I give her some. I thought that was a little forward but of course it’s impossible to say no under the circumstances. And she’s a nice, poor lady. So I said sure, and gave her the choice between my sandals and my running shoes. She took the sandals. I also took her picture and printed it out for her. She really liked that, and I told her that if she comes back tomorrow, I’ll take one of her whole family. She also said, you know, if you guys are leaving what are you going to do with all that leftover perishable food? I said, I ain’t the boss, ask him when he gets home. But I’m pretty sure she’s going to come out quite nicely on the deal. The plan is to dump everything when we go home.
The cleaning lady also asked about my family. I showed
Grub's ready at the baby orphanage.
her my family picture. She recognized Tucker and asked if he was my brother. I said no, he’s my son. She said, What? That guy in the living room over there?! I said yeah. She said, He’s your son and not your brother?! She was really amazed. When I told her that I was 41, she also couldn’t believe it. I think that people age here a lot faster because their lives are just a lot harder. She also asked how old Micah was and marveled when I told her that he’s four. She thought he was older.
I traded those two white dress shirts I brought (the ones with the neck that is too small for me or Tucker) to a Mozambican guy for a t-shirt with some Portuguese writing on it. It’s one that many locals have here—the phone company gives them out free. But I was going to leave those white shirts here anyway, so why not get a free local t-shirt out of the deal? It’s not like there’s any tourist shops here where you can buy stuff like that.
Remember last week when we took all those photos in the village and couldn’t
give them out to the kids because they weren’t done printing? Well, we went back to that village and took the photos with us. There was much rejoicing as we handed them out.
We also taught the kids carpentry skills today. We brought big long boards and had contests to see who could nail a nail all the way into the board fastest, and who could saw the end off a board fastest. It was funny to watch. We were using some of that super-hard wood from yesterday, so it took the kids a while to do their sawing. They had a good time and stayed with it, though.
Among the pictures I took today were some photos of several of the women of the village. One of them had absolutely the worst front teeth ever. She had maybe a third of one of them left, and the other was down to the gumline. Yikes. I took a little video of them waving to the camera, and of course they were thrilled to see themselves in the viewer.
Tonight was our last night at the baby orphanage, and it was picture night. Suddenly the director was around,
holding and hugging the babies. The nurses were nicer too. Interesting. Maybe it’s just a coincidence. It was bittersweet to think of never seeing the little buggers again. I got quite a few pictures and videos, and it was nice. I did feel a little guilty that I was mostly taking pictures and hardly holding babies at all. Afterward, we went out to the pizza place for pizza. Though it was at the nicest hotel in town, it was pretty affordable—about $100 for all 14 of us. The bummer of the evening was that I left my watch sitting on the sink in the bathroom after washing my hands. By the time I went back half an hour later, it was gone and was never turned in at the front desk. Dangit.
I’m getting pretty darn excited to come home. Tomorrow morning we assemble bunk beds, take a few final photos out at Dondo, and then spend the afternoon getting ready to go home. Our flight leaves Sunday mid-day.
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