Friday, December 21, 2007

Another picture of Santa

And a mix of staff kids and our girls.

Our Christmas Party - Thursday

All morning has been preparation for this party - our party at the home. There were lots of gifts for the girls as several churches collected gifts as well we received gifts from a couple of other groups that work with us and the First Lady's program sent a gift for each. While we prepared in the kitchen were roasting a turkey and a ham (donated), special rice, salad with apples and some other things. Just as we were ready to eat it rained very hard. Here to of the child care workers are covering the gifts.
We had 6 tables as all of the staff were there and their kids under 12. The flowers were saved from the 15th birthday celebration! The youngster mugging from the end of the table is Mariela's almost 5 year old. We used disposable plates left over from the 15th birthday [arty - a good idea, although this day we had water from the taps so cleanup was easy. (Today, Friday, we are without running water. Water is only available from one tap. We also collect rain water to flush the toilets.) After we ate the main course we got potato chips and other burandanga.
Here I am as Santa with Pati (Mariela's daughter) and Evelia. Esther, grinning at the left was my helper. Every girl received 5 or 6 gifts - a nice mix between clothes and toys.
Here I am without my cap. It was very hot with it. Behind us is the chapel, TV space and study space for the oldest who can study independently.
Here they are with their gifts and gaft certificated for $10 each that they can spend in Titan, a store where it is possible to buy a lot for a little. This morning after the graduation I took 4 to Titan to shop. It was a first for Rosa Mari. Her sister Yani helped her and she was able to sign her name with just a little help from me.

More to come over the weekend.

Graduation today

This is Yanitcias Graduation today. She graduated from 9th grade. I am 99% sure that she is the first person in her family to graduate from 9th. Maybe her father graduated from 6th but I am not sure. He can read and write. We arrive a few minutes late for her to march in but were there for the important parts - the most important the certificates (I think the word Diplomas is for graduation from High School and College.
Here some kids are receiving deplomas and as they come down friends and relatives are taking pictures and giving gifts.
Here Yani is receiving her certificate. Her sister Raquel and friend Leonela from the home have roses and flowers to give her.

Here we are after the ceremony. Each of us had a raspado (shaved ice with sweet flavored syrup and condensed milk - 25 cents each. Yani has two sister at the home with her. They have been with us for more than 9 years. The only family members who attended were those sisters. Even though her family lives not far away they all said they couldn't come. At the right is Rosa Mari, her younger sister at the home and next to her in green is Raquel, also her sister. Claro, the one with the 'diploma' and in uniform is Yani. She has 4 siblings older and 4 or 5 younger than Rosa Mari (11).

Tia Sue

Thursday, December 13, 2007


Here are Evelia and Sini. Notice how we made Evelias too big shirt fit better.
In the background Evelia is conversing with the bear. She couldn't carry on a conversation in March.This could be her fist Christmas Party. Santa gave everone a big hug after giving out the gifts. The clown is there animating the entire party
Clown is checking to be sure that Graciela had behaved well this year.
Every girls also got a bag of personal care items.
Some of the girls put together a coreografi to one of the traditional Panamanian carols. We have a lot of these red T-shirts (sueters here) that say Telethon 20-30. Each year the 20 club raises money for an important social service (building a new maternay hospital, installing a 911 system) and we received these as a donation.

What a great party!


Just as the people from Phizer started arriving I had to take cookies to Sinildas school since her school party was today. By the time I got back face painting had started. This is Estefani. This party, which they give every year , is especially nice as each girl is invited to write a letter asking for three different things and also what she she would choose to ear from Pizza to MacDonalds.
Here is Dona showing off her face painting. The wite ribbon around the banister is a leftover from the 15th birthday party.
Daliana, Dona's sister.
There were lots of traditional Panamanian Party games with loud music and a lot of yelling and screaming. Santa was there and you can see the Clown in the background. The people from Phizer bring their own children. A few years ago one of the children had such fun that she asked to have her birthday party at the home instead of McDonalds and we did.
Slight blurry photo of the girls eating. For all of our staff and the staff and kids of Phizer we had a turkey and ham dinner with a delicious salad and special rice and semi-traditional potato salad.
I say semi-traditional because what I think of as traditional potato salad here is rosy pink with beets.

More pictures in another entry.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

English Teachers give us a Christmas Party

The English Tachers of the San Miguelito school area gave us a Christmas Party last Thursday. Several of the teachers had taught some of our girls. Various teachers played games with the group - in English- such as fruit salad, head and shoulders. They had ampel snacks and a cake and soda and each girl received two gifts. There was also distribution of clothing.
Here is the gift table. The girls are in the background choosing clothes.
Here is Maria Isabel with her gifts. She always looks very serious when I take a picture.
This is the entire group. That is Karla posing in the front. Evelia was with her dad - because it was almost mothers day weekend. He came to visit with her because her mother isn-t in the picture.

Our Christmas Tree

Here are Carla and Maria Isabel helping choose the tree - a small tree from Canada - at a local Super Market - El Rey - the KING. We are outside and the young man behind is one of the store helpers. The smell of the needles is wonderful. I have a small branch near my bed.
We arrive at the home with the tree. The dog is Manchita - which means something like spotty. Her English name is Blackears. She is very attached to me and always greets the car when I drive up. While we were getting the tree Evelia and Estefany came home from school early. After setting it up we began to make decorations. The first project was paper chains.
As you can see the paper chains are not in evedence. I heared that they were damaged when the tree was moved. Maybe Evelia and Karla had a tug of war with them. Click on the picture to see the decorations more in detail. Many were made by the girls yesterday. The two young women are Rosalia and Eveliana. They asked me to take two pictures so they could each have one. They don-t know a lot about digital cameras!

Tomorrow we will have our second Christmas Party, given by the staff of Phizer here in Panama. One wonderful thing they do is ask each girl to write a letter naming three gifts they want and also what they would like for lunch from MacDonalds or another place. I will tell you tomorrow.

School is over for the year on Friday. Summer is coming but we still will have a bit more rain before then.

Blessings, Tia Sue

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Mothers' Day

Yesterday was mothers'Day in Panama. It coincides with the fast of the immaculate conception and is a big holiday and also an official national holiday. All of our girls went to vist their families or friends of the home. I spent Friday night at the home and it is very quiet and peaceful there. The two dogs are always very happy to see someone. I think that Canella is too old to jump on me but manchita (spotty) just wiggles all over and jumps. We have had our first Christmas party - given by the public school English Teachers of San Migelito (the educational district we are in). Several of the teachers played games (in English). One was familiar Head and shoulders - to a different tune. Another was Fruit Salad with a peppy song about cut cut cut the apples etc. then FRUIT SALAD of 4 (where the players get into groups of the indicated number). The teachers gave out clothes and each girls got a gift. I have some pictures which I will post durig the week.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Childrens´Hospital Visit

Last night I read in the Miami Herold that Childrens´Hospital here is almost completely shut down so since Graciela had her appointment today I called her doc.

This is the 30th day of a medical doctors and dentists strike - the ones who work for the government and the ones we use for the kids. Graciels's doc is on strike but he saw her on the ward because she has to have her blood chemestry checked once a month. She is high in Phosporus which is the hardest to control. To help control it she has to take 3 calcium tablets immediately before she eats. These combine with phoporus (to make calcumphosphate I guess) and thus it doesn't get into her system. These appointments are long because we have to wait for the results of the test and have to be there early (6:30) to draw the blood. I learned a lot more about the treatment of kidney failure today!

Today was the last day of her mother's visit and after the appointment we took her mom to the National Bus Terminal so she could start her long trip back to Bocas del Toro.

Tomorrow all of the girls go home or visit a friend of the home for Mothers' Day which is a BIG holiday here on December 8th. We will then have 3 days off - if everything works as hoped.

I am off to bed.

Tia Sue

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Suspension from school

One of our younger girls arrived home yesterday with a note from her teacher saying that she scratched a classmatesfacejust under her eye with a pencil. It caused a scratch and didnotdamage her eye - but it was close. The teacher asked that we take proper measures. After a talk with her and deciding that she was not going to have any pink cake for dessert I though and thought. I knew that if an older girl did this she would get a suspension. So, the girl got ready for school and I told her ¨I don't know if the school will let you stay today". We went in and I requested to talk to the principal. Before the girl came in I told him what happened and I asked for an official suspension of one day. He wrote one out stamped it and told her not to hurt classments. I told her that she couldn't goto school. As we were leaving she asked me " who is going to eat my snack?" I said " I don't know".

Usually at the home someone who is suspended has to work all afternoon. When we got back I announced that she was suspended. Everyone reacted appropriately and we sent her off to work with woman who cleans. Being very concrete and firm has worked well with her before.

I wonder if I am the first missionary to ask for a suspension for of her kids.

Tia Sue

Sunday, December 2, 2007


Here are Graciela and her mother - whom she hasn't seen since April. She is one of the 5 girls from the home who celebrated their 15th birthday this year. Here in Panama the 15th birthday is the BIG one and we had a fabulous quinceañera party last night. There were a lot of people there and these are just some of the pictures that I will post eventually. All 5 of the girls were dressed alike for the start of the celebration which was a mass.
Here is Daliana and her escort entering the home after they changed into their party dresses. Each choose the color of her dress. They were made for them by a modista (dressmaker).
In this picture are Yanitcia (green), daliana, Graciela and Leonela with their escorts. Two of the escorts are sons of the cook and one of our child care workers, secundina.
Another view of the same five girls. The guys' ties match the dresses. This is a really authentic Panamanian 15th birthday celebration.
Yeribeth is in orange on the far right. She has spent almost all of her life with us (since 18 months) and she does have contact with her brothers and sisters and her mom.


I have some pictures of the girls getting the home ready for the ig party we had last night! We will see what comes up - but tomorrow or tuesday there will be more picts. In the top pic some of the girls are painting. Below, our two youngest are helping unload the 'legs' of the table. The one in front is Carla.