Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Independence day from Spain - 1821

Today is the last holiday in a month of holidays. If you want to learn more about Panama´s two independence days check out

We had a fun time this morning - I taught the girls to fold paper and cut a star. We started using magazine pages so as not to waste paper and then moved on to paper, glitter and glue. Raquel, who is in 8th grade also showed them some nice Kirigami she learned from one of my books. I am dreaming of having a christmas tree decorated only with things the girls have made! School is about over - so there will be more time to do arts and crafts and I have a number ready.

This evening 10 or 12 of the girls, the ones 12 and older, are going to a dance recitle. (My English spelling is getting worse and worse.) I am going with the Sr. Pancho, our driver is driving. It starts at 7:30, lasts quite a while and then we are going out for Ice Cream.

The younger kids will watch TV!

Tia Sue

Monday, November 26, 2007

Graduation is coming

Yes, graduation is coming but this first picture is Sinilda, who has jsut learned to read this year with our two kindergarten kids. She was reading to them but I didn't get a picture of that as Evelia wanted to be the center of attention. Karla and Evelia are holding their babies. Sinilda and her sister Maria are the first woman to learn to read in their family.
Graduation from 9th grade here includes each student painting a picture an a school uniform shirt and then getting autographs. This is Leonela with hers.
Yeri showing off her shirt. Yeri has lived at the home for almost all her life. She is 15 and graduating from 9th grade. I have the reading book she learned from in 1st. grade.
Leo with the autographs. She said there was not enough room to fit all of them.
Estefani, Maria Isabel, Evelia and Guiselle (Estefani's older sister) and others waiting to go to see a movie last Saturday.

School is over on the 14th of December and the graduation at 7AM on the 21. We have two big events before that - a quincenera next Saturday (watch for pictures here) and a concert on the 19th. There will also be Christmas parties, our Christmas party and more.

Tia Sue

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Thanksgiving Sunday

This is a busy weekend for me. It was Thanksgiving at St. Pauls and we had traditional decorations of harvest time: Palm trees, papaya, pineapple, granadilla, banana, platino, suger cane and some corn. All of this bounty will be picked up by the girls' home tomorrow - that is where I live and work.

We will have a wonderful abundence of food for in additon to this food from St. Pauls' we will receive Thanksgiving Sunday Decorations from several other churches. You can see pictures of the decorations at

Tia Sue

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Maybe this is why I am blogging less!

Apologies for being a slow blogger - but we have had a very busy and tiring last few weeks and with 25 girls this year and the average age lower things are much busier.

I have three girls who I have taken the responsibiity for see to their health/mental health. One is Graciela the young woman (15) who is on dialysis, one is a a 13 year old who has some mental health issues and the third is 8 and has some skin problems that have to be cleared up before she can have some sores in her mouth cauterized - a day surgery proceedure. Graciela has a monthly appointment and we have to be there at 6:30 so she can have blood drawn and the doc can see the results before we leve - 8 or 9 hours later. She usually has a cpiple of other appointments on the same day as we have to prepare a special diet and she has a lot of warts on her hands and wrists which are getting treated now. I am always worn out on the day we have to get up at 5 to be there on time. The mental health appointments are usally set for 8 or 9 - but any blood tests that have to be drawn while the child is fasting are early. I have not had a lot of success getting any of the girls appointments all on the same day - and in some cases that might turn out hard to manage because of the size of the hospital.

We also have more kids who have missed out on a year or seveal years of school - and most - maybe all of them need extra help - especially in math and often in Spanish. Right now I am working with 4th graders on correct use or the regular verbs (ar, er, ir amor, comer, vivir for example) in the present , past and future. In math subtraction when there are 0s in the number being subtracted from are a challenge. By third grade (the end) the kids are expected to know the multiplication tables thru 9 and be able to do multiplication with two diget numbers. And then there is short and long division, decimels, fractions (adding, subtracting etc.), and basic geometry. So I am busy.

I'm busy at St. Paul's as well. We have a good, enthusiastic and talented priest in charge - and this year many things have changed - not to the liking of all. We started feeding hungry people at the start of the year and that has grown. It is so nice to come down from the service and find 4 youth making the tuna sandwiches to feed the hungry. I put all the stuff to make them with out before the service. Some of them help me give it out. I started haveing a group prayer today. We started out using two cans of tuna a week and making 12 sandwiches - next week we will have to go to 5 cans of tuna and three loaves of bread! They also get a package of four cookies and a juice box. There are three families included, a number of people who are homeless and some others who are living on the edge financially. It has been a year since we first statred considering this and I have to write a report for the vestry meeting next week. We also give out bags of basics to these same people on the 4th Sunday. We also give 6 bags of basics to 6 others in the congregation. We prepare them and someone who knows who needs them gives them out. The bags for the people who have no place to live are the most challenging because it is hard to find food that doesn't need to be cooked, that they can open, and that is nutricious.

School will be over for the year in about 4 weeks - December 14th. We have one girl (Eveliana) finishing 6th grade. She has done well this year and is studying independently. This is the youngster who I taught to read 4 years ago. We have three who will graduate from 9th grade. Yeribeth (who has grown up at the home from age about ), Yanitcia (also with us a long time - all her school life) and Leonela ( she has been with us for Jr. High). We have a concert later in December, our Christmas Party and others and then all of the girls will go somewhere for the holidays and the first part of January. January will bring the Diocesian Youth Camps as well.

No photos today because I am using a MAC and my memory stick won't fit!

Tia Sue

Friday, November 2, 2007

News from the Home

Here are some of the girls jumping rope in our patio. You can see that they have worn a bald spot in the lawn.

Now that I have learned again how to do this there will be more news. This month of November is the month of patriotoc celebrations such as indipendence day, flag day. All of the girls are visiting someone for the log weekend. They are returning Monday evening.

School is almost over / there are only 6 or 7 weeks left. All three of the first graders are reading and doing addition and subtraction.

Love, Tia Sue