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A Day with Daniel at Casa Bernabe (by Rachael)

April 16, 2010

The last day of our group trips is for relaxing and recharging.  Our team did that in Antigua.  Nate and I did that by spending time at Danni’s home, Casa Bernabe.

A new friend. Sara, arranged for us to spend the morning at the baby home, Casa Angelitos.  This home has about 18 babies and toddlers; the youngest is only one month old.  I know it was good practice for us to be around so many babies, but it made me thankful that we’ll only be dealing with one.  By the time the babies were ready for their naps, we felt like we needed to nap, too!  We spent our hours there wiping tears, bouncing/rocking/swinging our eager playmates, breaking up baby fights, singing songs, and making up games. 

One time, I comforted a crying girl by picking her up.  As soon as she was in my lap she wrapped her arms around me and gave me the biggest baby hug I’ve ever had.  She then put her head on my shoulder and squeezed me for about ten minutes.

After the baby home, we headed to Casa Samuel (Daniel’s home) to give Danni’s house mom clothes for him and a birthday gift (he turns 8 in May).  We were surprised to see the kids home from school and hanging out in the living room!

I dare you to see Danni flash you his big grin and for you to not smile in return. Dare you.  It’s absolutely contagious. 

He loves pictures, so we looked through his old photos and gave him some new ones.  He told us he had pictures of Juan Pablo, but that we needed to bring him pictures of Estuardo and Jose on our next trip.  Okay.  Can do!

I’m amazed by how not-possessive Daniel is.  His “brothers and sisters” wanted to look through the pictures.  They wanted our attention and affection.  They wanted to color in “his” coloring book. 

It didn’t faze him.  He’s that secure.  He’s that comfortable in his new home. (That’s my impression, at least!)  He was happy to share. 

After lunch and a great conversation with Sara (she had a baby in December, so she had plenty of tips to pass along), we headed back to Casa Samuel.  Daniel’s house mom woke him up from his nap, and a very cute and groggy little boy followed us out to the playground.

We ate Pop Rocks, jumped rope, and laughed until we could hardly stand up. 

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I can’t remember the last time I laughed uncontrollably! Those moments together were pure joy.  Just like at the mall, we felt comfortable and happy just being together.

Once the rain started to pick up, we headed inside to look at his pictures (again), color, and talk.  He asked where his other brothers and sisters from his old home now live.  We showed him a map and told him that the two of us, John, Emily, Juan Pablo, and Baby Samuel all live in Indiana.  We tried to explain that it was far away, but that info didn’t compute.  I forget what it’s like to be a little kid and have no concept of scale, space, or distance.  Daniel saw a map that had Indiana and Guatemala just inches apart.  Obviously, to him, that must mean we live nearby! 

We showed him a picture of Alejandra.  “And where does she live?” he asked. “China!?” Ha!  Funny kid. 

P1080321 We gave him a sheet of paper with airplanes to color.  I tried to explain (again) that Nate was a pilot (“piloto”) but instead said he was a ball (“pelota”).  Yeah, we all had a good laugh at my expense. 

I asked him which plane he wanted to color first.  He whispered in my ear, “the one ‘Net’ flies.”

Right around the time our driver was supposed to arrive, the other kids joined us in the living room.  It was a good time for us to leave.  Daniel got up from playing with the other kids to give us hugs and show us to the door.  We told him we loved him and that we pray for him each day.  We asked him if he remembered when we’d be back.  “Marzo?” he said.  Well, no.  June.  But whatever.  The point is that he understands that we’ll come back.  We always come back.

On our way out, we stopped and said goodbye to Tonilynn.  She suggested we pray together.  Not only are we thankful for her prayers, but we’re also honored that we get to pray for and support amazing people like Tonilynn and homes like CB. 

Our day at CB was the perfect way to end this trip.

Tomorrow we head home, but we’re already looking forward to our next trip!

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