Monday, January 7, 2008


We had a wonderful Epithany service at St. Pauls. It included the confirmation of 22 or maybe 24 kids who have been having classes with Walter Smith and others for a long time. Many of them know me by name and call me Tia Sue because I have been sitting with various groups of them on Sundays and helping them follow the service and learn to be quieter - especially during the eucharist. Many (most) of the kids are from the neighborhood of the church - which is really great.
Each kid needed to have a god parent from the congegation. On the 30th one of the boys came up to me, greeted me, kissed me on both cheeks and asked me to be his godmother. At practice on Saturday we were sitting together and he asked me if I would 'look pretty' the next day. After explaiing that I am 'a little like a nun' (because I dress simply and don't use lipstick) I assured him yes. I borrowed earrings from Jo Ellen and a necklace. I think I passed. His sister who was his community godmother was dressed in jeans and a T-shirt with firworks on it!

The service lasted for 3 hours. Bishop Julio was his old self (he has been sick). After the service there was a ligt lunch planned but the food never arrived this time! (At a December event it arrived 3 hours late.) We had something for everyone however. Yasuri (one of the neighbort hood young women who was confirmed 2 years ago and I made the sandwiches for our feed the hungry project and we gave them out after the service discretely in small bags. They get a sandwhich, juice box and cookies.

Today is a holiday (on a Monday instead of Wednesday). They call it una dia feriada puente when they celebrate a day on other than the date and it is close to the weekend. January 9th is Dia de los materes - when a number of students was killed while raising a panamanian flag in the then canal zone.

Tomorrow I am going to youth camp for one day to get Graciela set up with her dialysis machine and her diet (no salt, no phosforus, little liquids).

Tia Sue

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Our next to last Christmas Party - part I

Each year, Sandy Vasque, who grew up in the home a while back and is now retired from working for Copa Airlines, gives a wonderful fiesta for the girls at her home. This is fiesta 2007 the Saturday before Christmas. (The last Christmas Fiesta for all of the girls together was the next day at church.) Here they all are in her patio getting the party off to a flying start. The girl in red with braids is Pati, the daughter of Mariela Martinez, who grew up in the home and who works for us now while she is finishing the University at night. (When she came to the home at age 10 she had not been in school enough to learn to read!) Mariela is one of the adults there with a black and light blue shirt. The woman in green near Pati is Judith Hernandez, one of our child care workers. At the end in red is Sandy.
Maria Isabel, her sister Sinilda and Johana waiting for the dancing to start.
Karla practising the split.
Santa, Sandy and Genesis. Each girl received 3 or 4 gifts bought especially for them by one of Sandy's friends or coworkers.

Primir Puesto

Please meet Maria Isabel Cabrera who achieved the highest academic average for the school year 2007 - just finished. She had 4.7 (5.0 is the higests). Her grade average is equal to 94. Maria Isabel is 8 and with her sister Sinilda 10 she just finished first grade reading and doing addition and subtraction. Sinilda has an average of 4.6.
The are Embera Indians and are the first girls in their family to ever go to school. Their 22 year old sister Doralinda has also taken this year some classes in reading in a program to wipe of illitriacy. When the girls joined us last February neither could draw a picture, write and they could count by rote to 5 and knew some of the colors. We gave them a crash course in pre-kinder and kinder - much of this thanks to one of our monitoras (child care worker) Judith.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Fire Cat

Here is fire cat just a few days ago sitting in the sun. He has grown to be a really big cat.

His eyes are yellow just as in the picture. He looks a lot like an angora and thinks that he is a dog - at least he plays rough with the dogs, eats dog food and rests with them.

Feliz New Year!

No pictures for this but you can conjure up 12 grapes (with seeds). Eating 12 grapes at midnight while the clock strikes 12 is a custom here and also save the seeds and count them to find your lucky number for the year. My lucky number is 34 - which is the sum of two prime numbers 17+17. We didn't exactly eat them at midnight and there was no clock to chime the time but Lizzy and I ate and collected the seeds. We also had Champaign at dinner. I went to bed after grape eating and woke up to hear the fireworks and the Dreging Division of the Panama Canal make three loud toots at midnight.

Today seems like a dry season day - wind, sun and few clouds in the sky. I like Dry Season a lot but this year it is predicted to be a rainy Dry season.