Another day of painting for the ladies, as well as sorting clothing. The word needs to get out to groups sending clothing and shoes that they should be clean and in good condition. A good rule of thumb would be: if your children wouldn’t wear it, the children here won’t want to either. Also, we’ve been impressed with how much smaller the children are here compared to American children of the same age, so they need smaller things. For example, our child Brandon is 4 and the size 3 clothes I brought were too big for him.The men cleaned out an attic, repaired screen doors, hung sheetrock and carried paneling over the bridge to the other side only to be told they didn’t need it – so [they] carried it back again. (It was on the list of things they wanted us to do.)
If we have any criticism about this place it would be that they need someone blessed with the gift of organization/administration, as we all became a little frustrated with trying to find tools and supplies, establish work priorities, etc. Of course, we reminded ourselves that making things convenient for the volunteers is not the main purpose of this place! Mike was appointed our official “go-for” and it sure made things easier for all of us to have someone designated to go find us what we needed as we continued working. Doug and some of the guys departed from the list and put a light up over the picnic tables next to the building the women stay in and we cook in, so we don’t have to eat supper in the dark. Another major accomplishment was Bruce installing the new washer and dryer in the new girls’ career dorm, which is sure a big improvement over the one we are painting that they just moved out of.
I met with five girls sponsored by UBC members and presented gifts sent to them by their sponsors, and made their pictures to take back to their sponsors. They were so appreciative. Several group members played with the boys in the dorms around us, while others went to play with the toddlers and pre-schoolers. Doug’s “Brother Bear” puppet was a hit, as were Patsy and Mike’s Frisbees, jump ropes, etc.
Our funny story of the day was Christy getting locked out of the compound, in the street between the two sides, which is actually part of the original Pan-American highway. It could have been dangerous but it all turned out OK so it became funny. The story is too long to include here but you should ask her about it.The men requested that I recognize them in my journal for helping with the dishes and cleaning up after dinner! The women have been preparing great food and they appreciate the guys help with the clean-up. Once the evening meal is over there is little to do except talk. We wish we had brought some games to play and that might be a suggestion for future groups. We’re also making a list of things that would be nice to have in the kitchen, for the next time we come.Early to bed and early to rise is the practice here, and for some of us that is a big change, but we are adjusting.
Written by Ramona Gordon