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Zoo Adventure

June 27, 2009

With only 5 hours of sleep last night, we had a rough start this morning. We were invited to celebrate one of the interns’ birthday last night, and in true Guatemalan fashion, we stayed out late. Unfortunately, we had to get up at the same time as usual to prepare for the arrival of our friends, Tim, Eleanor, and Ben Ramseier. The Ramseiers had no running water yesterday and were glad to come use our showers this morning! We were glad we could help.

A while later, about the time Ben and I had suited up in full Spiderman and Superman costumes, Rachael and I finally began to shake off the lack of sleep. The kids at the babies’ home were excited (as always) when Spiderman (Ben) leaped over the wall and Superman (me) casually walked through the door. I guess “excited” isn’t the right word for all of them; Cristel cried hysterically. She is quite terrified of the masked men. We handed out Rachael’s stash of gifts, played a bit, and then the super heros disappeared. It brought me a lot of joy to see the boys quickly catch on to the aerodynamics of their foam gliders that Spiderman gave them.

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We took seven children to the zoo, which worked out pe rfectly since we had seven adults with us (the two of us, the three Ramseiers, our translator and our driver) to provide personalized attention for them. The kids all behaved, a fact I mostly attribute to Rachael’s consistency with telling them what they couldn’t do and enforcing it. We made a loop around the entire zoo, with a snack break, just in time to rush back to the van when the afternoon thunder turned into torrential downpour.

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It rained the whole way to McDonald’s, creating 4”-6” rivers of water in the roads and slowing traffic. But during and after lunch it had dried out enough for us to play outside when we got back to the babies’ home!

It was 3pm before we made to the babies’ home and several children fell asleep. Rachael played with Estuardo’s hair until he fell asleep with his head in her lap. Cristel fell asleep in Eleanor’s arms. Chabelita tried her hardest not to fall asleep in Ben’s lap. I sat in the back with Danni and, at one point, he said to me, “it’s cold; give me hugs.” Que lindo! How cute!

Back at the Baby Home, we were able to rest in the turf outside while the kids calmly played around us. During this low-key afternoon, Abi, the house “mom,” and one of the nannies gave us some more background on the orphans at the home and the status of adoptions in Guatemala. Perhaps when we get back we’ll write more about the children’s individual stories.

The Ramseiers used this time to bond with the babies. Tim did laps with Mili around the yard, and Eleanor cuddled with one of the littlest babies, Vicky. Every time Eleanor tried to put her down, Vicky started to cry. Poor Eleanor when it was finally time to leave! Vicky bawled and reached for her, and all Eleanor could do was walk away. It tears your heart out to leave those kids.

After sending Edwin, our translator, home for the day, we began the “adventure” for the evening. Our goal was to return the Ramseiers to their house. We had our friend Berta pick them up in the morning, because she lives in the same neighborhood as the Ramseiers, but none of us knew how to get back this evening. An hour later, when they agreed that we were no longer going in the right direction, we called Berta for better directions. Some traffic bogged us down, but what should have taken 40-50 minutes ended up taking 2 hours. Frustrating for sure, but not unexpected for Guatemala.

At dinner, Rachael and I talked about how grateful we are that the people at Buckner and the Baby Home let us spend time with these precious children. Not only do they let us come to their home, but they also entrust us with taking care of the children outside of the home. We hope and pray that we get to have many more days like today in the not-too-distant future.

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