Sunday, October 31, 2010

Day 13

The headache had mostly passed by the time I posted my last entry. I could hardly use a computer the night of the 29th because I was so light sensitive. Sundays are always fun around here. I think I told you last week that we have some seminarians who come up the hill with the priest at the seminary and conduct our Sunday service. Additionally, there are some other guys from the Don Bosco school who come and spend the day as well. I have to say, it's sort of nice having some people my age around, but there is also that awkwardness that has plagued us since first grade when the girls had to use one bathroom and the boys had to use the other since the group that comes is all guys. I'm never entirely sure if they're hitting on me or if they're just curious about the United States...or if they just think I look really lonely and need a friend. Admittedly, I don't spend a lot of time hanging out with the guys since I'm somewhat naturally shy; so maybe I do look lonely. But in all honesty, I am quite content.

When I was here last year, I got an invitation from one of the guys in the group--who I consider to be a friend--to visit him in El Salvador. I had actually planned to do this about a year from now to clear my passport; however, El Salvador won't clear my passport. Today, another one of the guys suggested I go with him to Nicaragua with him in December. I really don't NEED to clear it then, but the catch is that Nicaragua wouldn't clear it either.
"Guatemala is party to the Central America Border Control Agreement (CA-4). Under the terms of this agreement, tourists may travel within any of the CA-4 countries (Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala) for a period of up to 90 days, without completing entry and exit formalities at border immigration checkpoints. This period begins at the first point of entry in to any of the CA-4 countries."
Simply put, I need a map. No, in all seriousness, I still have Mexico to the north and Belize to the northeast. However, the guidebook I was looking at said 90 and 90. But the website I just found (to check exactly which the CA-4 countries were) says 90 and 30. So, I wrote a note to INGUAT (or am in the process as I'm trying to write it in both English and Spanish) to ask them what exactly I needed to extend my visa and how long the extension is for. If it is 90 and 30, that's a lot of hassle at INGUAT for just 30 more days. Sadly, this is one of those things I thought I had all figured out before I left the United States. Someone asked me last Sunday why I don't just get Guatemalan citizenship, and the fact of the matter is that if I got Guatemalan citizenship, I believe I would lose my American citizenship and it's just a lot harder for a Guatemalan to get into the US than it is for an American to get into Guatemala.
At any rate, what I really need is for the Argentinian or the Brazilian to ask me to visit them. Believe me, there is nothing romantic about this (or if there is, I know nothing about it). My friend in El Salvador even has a girlfriend. However, I just feel safer either traveling with or traveling to visit someone I know, and "with" is preferable to "to." I have a friend in Mexico who I could go to visit, but it's that first trip out of the country by land which is the scariest. (And yes, she expects me to come visit her sometime.) mind is wandering. I seriously started this post at 7 pm and it is now 8:30. Today after church, I made a deal with Otoniel (the Nicaraguan) that if he gives me the lyrics for the songs we are singing the next Sunday, I will sing at church. But I have a hard time hearing, translating, processing, translating back, and the same speed as everyone else. I'm sure that in time, I won't need to do the translation thing, that the words in Spanish will have a meaning much as my English words have a meaning which doesn't really need defining or explaining to myself. "A cat? What's a cat? It's that furry thing...well, usually furry, at least. Some cats aren't furry. That usually furry thing that meows and naturally uses its claws to hold onto things better." That. I don't usually go through all that when I'm processing English. It's just there in my head. I can recognize a cat as a cat. Right now, I recognize a gato as a cat. (Yes, "gato" is the word for "cat" in Spanish.) Once I can recognize a gato as a gato (and an arbol as an arbol, and a camioneta as a camioneta), I won't have the trouble I do right now. Currently, I do have a few words which I don't ever need to define to myself, but those are words which, in context, don't have much of an American equivalent. For example, "hogar" and "frijoles." Now, quite literally, those two words mean "home" and "black beans" in English; however, the context in which they are commonly used here in Guatemala just don't have much of an American equivalent. That's one reason why it is difficult to tell people in the USA what Hogar Miguel Magone is...and why people often call it an "orphanage" (which it is not, really). And I suppose people eat frijoles in the United States; in fact, I'm sure they do in plenty of places, but the reason why I don't need to translate that word is because I DON'T LIKE BLACK BEANS! I really hate the texture of beans (except green beans); so frijoles don't have an American context for me. Similarly, guisquil is a vegetable which isn't found in Michigan where I am from. They have it in parts of California, and in Mexico, it is called chayote, but for me, guisquil is an image in my mind that I don't need to define to myself.
I think that might be part of the problem with how we learn language in the US. So much of it is "this word in this language is this word in this other language." By relating one word to another and that second word to an image, we slow down the processing. I do have a Spanish-English dictionary here, but I don't use it very often (only when writing e-mail to INGUAT). I also have a bilingual Bible which I read only in Spanish unless I come across an entire verse that I don't understand a single word of. I think I told you of Deivi and David, the littlest boys who are still learning basic Spanish. I'm also teaching them English, but because they don't know either "nose" or "nariz," the two words I am teaching them are for that thing in the middle of their face that all the boogers come out of which are good for mid-day snacks! It would be like if I used "dollars," "bucks," or "bills" in the United States...they all just mean the same thing.
The difficult part with the little ones will be sorting out their words into the proper languages when they are older, but by then I should be fluent enough (hopefully) to only use one language at a time with them. With the older boys, I often speak in "Spanglish" a fair amount of the time. This works well for them because they have a fairly secure Spanish vocabulary and, additionally, they know the difference between a Spanish word and an English word (they sound different!); so when I throw an American word into a fairly Spanish sentence, they figure out the word from context. Whether they have to translate the word to Spanish or not, I don't know, but I'm just not sure how else to teach them unless we're sitting down in a classroom setting where I can minimize any and all contact with Spanish.

I guess that brings me back to today. We had a group of gringos come in from Pennsylvania today. (Yes, they made it just fine to those who are reading from their church and community!) They're going to be taking over the hogar for two weeks while the teachers and other staff go on vacation. As I put it to them earlier, they're going to cook my food and wash my clothes. :) For the most part, I say this in jest, but since I eat with the boys and they'll be cooking for the boys, they will cook for me as well...just another mouth to feed. Anyway, I hope to help them out as much as possible whether it is just with names, unlocking doors, or taking pictures.

I'm really not paying attention to this post. I'm distracted by the sunburn I got today while playing "football" (soccer, for you Americans) and what I should get done before moving to my new room TOMORROW! Yes, that's right. I get my new room tomorrow. Sadly, I get it because Karen wants to appropriate the beds in the volunteer room and not because it was promised to me, but I guess I won't split hairs about it.

At times, the Spanish comes easily to me, but that's just when I'm going to say something, not when I have to understand something and spit something back out.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Day 12

Hi. It's been a rough couple of days. Yesterday, I went to Satalite in the morning to attend the 6th grade graduation of 2 of our boys and two other associated children. For four hours, I stood in the sun and took pictures and cheered them on. Afterward, we rode a bus back to the T in the road that heads back up to our village which we walked a half a mile up the side of a mountain to reach. Between the asthma and the dehydration, I spent the entire afternoon in my room, in the dark, with a severe headache and nausea. I still have a bit of a headache, but at least the nausea went away overnight. Anyway, I just wanted to update and let you all know that I'm still here, and I hope to get moved into my new room today. :)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Day 9

First thing is first. Some of you have been concerned with the storm in the gulf. Until people started asking me about it and if it was affecting us, I didn't know it existed! So, no, it hasn't been a problem here in the mountains about as far from either coast as I could get. (But thanks for asking!) The few sprinkles of rain we got this afternoon might be attributed to it, but I literally mean sprinkles. We hauled the clothes off of the clothesline, but I didn't bother with my rain coat or umbrella and the spots on my t-shirt dried within a minute of coming inside.

Today was FULL of stuff today. I started the day with more kindergarten graduations. Today, Migdalia (the daughter of our cook, Alba) and Oswaldo graduated from kindergarten. So, I went and took pictures there. When I got back, I downloaded the pictures from my camera and uploaded some onto Facebook. Shortly after we got back, there was a snack of cake to celebrate all of our graduates. I took some time to call my cousin, Mihai, in New Zealand. Then I took care of Deivi and David, our two youngest. I took care of David until he fell asleep, and then I took care of Deivi until it was time for lunch. When lunch was over, I came back to my room, and found David awake in his bed; so I took him to the dining hall and fed him.

The afternoon was busy too. Estuardo brought me back Christina's phone. The problem was that the phone hadn't been used in 10 months and the SIM chip had gone bad. So, Q50 (about $6.25) later, the phone works and has a new phone number. Anyone who feels like they need the number, feel free to ask me for it. I called my mother and gave her the new number. After that, I went out with the Peques and watched them play soccer (European football, but since most of my readers are American, I'll use the American name) until the sprinkles started. I herded the boys out of the ball court and down toward their house. Then I ran up to help with the clothesline. We have a sneaking suspicion that it is the longest clothesline in the world, but we're pretty positive that it is the longest in Guatemala. Fortunately, most of the clothes had already dried, I moved the rope, and a couple of the medianos ripped clothes and clothespins off the line as fast as they could. Then we took the big pile of clothes and shoved it under a roof.

On my way down to the Peques house, Don Lorenzo's son, Willy, saw me and asked how I was doing. I inquired after his health and that of his baby, and he asked how long I had been here and how long I would be staying. He is someone who I would usually avoid associating with (for reasons I won't go into), but he's a friendly face; so the conversation was welcome. And I guess that's a good thing since I'll be seeing plenty more of him. (Thanks, Sarah, for reminding me on Facebook what his name was!)

Later that afternoon, myself and 4 of the boys cleaned out all of the boxes from the little green house near the gate where they hope to move the office to. Karen was pretty much shocked that we cleaned it all out so quickly. And I was actually surprised when I looked outside the house just how many boxes there were out there; I had just been passing the boxes to the boys who placed them wherever they could find a dry spot. Erick Flores joined us late, but he worked like a horse! A lot of the other boys were complaining about the heavy boxes so much that I started pretending the heavy boxes were light and the light boxes were heavy. (Because I was pulling a switch on them, I always made sure they had a good hold on the boxes before I let go.) Anyway, we sorted out some of the boxes, but we couldn't finish before it got dark; so some of the boxes went back into the little green house until tomorrow.

I gobbled down dinner and hurried back to the Peques dorm to give Deivi his medicine. He has some sort of infection or something. Because the "teachers" are 24 hours on/24 hours off (with one of them staying the whole weekend), it is easier to have me give them the medicine as I'm a constant. And here I am.

Moving into my new room: tomorrow?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Day 8

This morning I attended the kindergarten graduation of 3 of our boys. They looked absolutely adorable in their little "togas" (which we would call gowns; they looked a lot like choir robes to me, though) and caps. It is apparently common at a kindergarten graduation for parents to give their son or daughter a solid gold ring. I'm not quite sure of the significance of this. (We didn't give any to our boys. We just don't have the sort of staffing to protect personal valuables of that magnitude around here.) At any rate, most of these children received their ring from their mothers. In theory, this is because their fathers went off to work for the day to make money to pay for that gold ring, but at least two of the children had their father come up and put the ring on their finger; this nearly made me cry. I mean, I suppose it is possible that the father is unemployed, but part of me thinks that those dads realized how important it was that they be there that day. (Additionally, if the father was unemployed, I'm not positive that the family would have shelled out the money for that gold ring. We were not the only "family" to not give a ring to our "children.") At the graduation, I also heard the Guatemalan national anthem for the first time. The whole morning--except for the part where I didn't get breakfast because I had to take the boys to their graduation mass--was absolutely beautiful. It made me wonder if I had had such a ridiculous and pointless ceremony when I finished kindergarten. (I hardly remember my high school and college graduations, and I only remember that I had an 8th grade farewell, no details besides what dress I wore. So, remembering kindergarten is not high on my list of abilities.)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Day 7

The language "barrier" can often be used in my favor. Today, I walked into La Bodegona (what I call "the everything store") in Antigua wearing my backpack. Now, I often have a messenger bag which I take in there, pretend is my purse, and never hear a word about, but I didn't bring it on this trip just because it wasn't the most effective use of the allowed space on the plane (and I didn't have room to cram it in any of my bags). So, yes, I nonchalantly wander past this sign which literally says (in Spanish) "NO BACKPACKS! [and some other things which weren't important for me to take note of]" because I really didn't want to carry on me everything of value in that backpack...nor did I want the backpack to mysteriously vanish while I was in the store. However, for me there is a real language barrier of sorts which bit me in the behind three times today (and really had/has me seriously considering the 3 months instead of 6+).

It all started first thing this morning. I woke up and decided to tackle some e-mails before breakfast. Breakfast is generally at 8; so I was up at 7 typing away on the computer. The only window in this room I am currently in points due east; so, despite being heavily covered, there is a good amount of light in the room at that hour. I had no reason to turn on additional lights. 8 am rolls around and then 8:15, and I'm not hearing any sounds of breakfast preparation. So, around 8:30, I wander out to see what is going on. As I leave the room, the teacher of the Peques notices me and says (in Spanish) "You got up?" and I'm thinking, "Obviously, I got up, lady. I'm not still laying down sleeping. I'm even dressed for the day," but later as I'm going about my business, I start hearing murmurs about the lazy gringa who sleeps in very late in the morning. Apparently, the teacher had meant "Did you just wake up?" and my "Si" ("Yes") started a bunch of lovely rumors.

The second event happened later. Daniel and I went into Antigua. We needed to drop of the four remaining folks from the Melia Family Foundation group at the Candelaria. Then, I needed to do some shopping and go to the post office and bank while Daniel talked to the people at the University. He knew what he would have to do would take about an hour, and I wasn't sure how long my errands would take, but I didn't figure they would take more than an hour. I showed him the phone number inside the back of the volunteer phone (more about Christina's phone in a second), and he programmed it into his phone. I told him to give me a call when he was ready, and I'd let him know where I was at. So, I ran my errands (including the earlier mentioned shopping trip) and wandered to the central park to wait for Daniel since I hadn't yet heard from him. (He had told me the university was near the center of Antigua.) Well, it seems that that phone has been reprogrammed, and the number printed in the back is no longer the correct number for the phone; so, when Daniel tried to call me to meet up, he couldn't reach me. After waiting for him for an hour past when I expected to hear from him, I flipped through the directory of the volunteer phone and found an entry which read "Daniel." I sent a text message letting him know I was in the central park whenever he was ready. An hour after that, I got a phone call from Estuardo asking me where I was, that Daniel was looking for me. And when we finally got back to the Hogar, all I heard was "Daniel was looking for you for two hours. He was about to just leave you there and come back. He couldn't reach you and had no money for food; so he was hungry." Well, seriously, don't you think I was hungry too? I had asked Daniel before he dropped me off if we would be eating lunch in Antigua, and he said yes. In fact, I had been planning on buying him lunch to thank him for painting something on the walls of my new room (which he hasn't yet done but said he would do); so I had been waiting all that time to eat! Regardless, I felt treated like an errant child when it was a simple problem of neither of us having the correct number for the other (and me not thinking to ask him for his number as well in case I needed to reach him).

The third event happened shortly after we got back. I had been loaned a key to the carpentry shop a few days ago so I could get paint to paint my bathroom. Instead of just loaning me his whole set of keys so I could run to open the shop and bring the keys back, I was given a single key on a rope, and Raul told me something about Ana Maria. At the time, I thought he told me that the key was hers and that I was to give it back to her when I was done. Considering how he usually let me borrow his whole set of keys, this change in behavior made sense if the key belonged to someone else. So, today when he asked me where it was, I said that I had given it to Ana Maria. This set a bit of a buzz (especially since Ana Maria would not be back until the next day at least), but I was about at my wits end of being blamed for things by then; so I just went to my room and got Estuardo the TIGO stick so he could check the Hogar's e-mail, and then Karen set me to work on some task she couldn't have the boys do since it dealt with expired single-use injection needles.

Anyway, I quietly cried most of the way through the needle task, and Christian Josue (Colocho) asked me what was wrong. I told him I was having a bad day because of mis-communications. So, he has taken it upon himself to teach me Spanish. He is starting ridiculously easy, with teaching me letters and sounds (which I actually seem to know better than he does). I really need to tell him that that just isn't going to help. What I need to work on is listening to and understanding directions...and being able to ask questions when I am not sure I understand.


Some directions I did understand were given to me tonight. (Although, they were partly in English; so perhaps that is cheating.) Tomorrow morning, I am supposed to go to the school to take pictures of some of the boys as they graduate from first grade. Julio, Christian, and Gabriel(?) will all dress up in caps and gowns. It is too early in the morning for Karen to get here in time to take pictures, and cameras are a little scarce. Pre-graduation mass is at 7 am; I had best set an alarm!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Day 6

So, today was my first mass back, and I got to stand up with the Melia Family Foundation folks and introduce myself to everyone (as if they didn't know by now). "Hola. Me llamo Annalisa. Soy de Michigan en los Estados Unidos. Tengo 25 anos. Voy a estar aqui cada semana." (*hint hint nudge nudge* "I'm not standing up and introducing myself next Sunday too.") It was also Colocho's (Christian Josue's) 15th birthday today.

After church, we piled into one bus and two micro-buses (think "full-sized van") and drove clear across Guatemala City to take the boys (and some local girls) to a scout camp. On the way, I talked to Mike Melia about their trip to Antigua tomorrow. He wasn't sure where they were going to stay for the night; so I suggested the Candelaria.

When we got to the camp, we split up among the two activities: the challenge course and the swimming pool. (My swimsuit is something I will need to have sent to me, I think.) I went with the medianos since they seem to like me just fine, and they and the grandes set off to the challenge course while the girls and the peques went swimming.

Note about the home: They divide the boys into three groups for sleeping, eating, and just about everything else. These groups are by age. I am not entirely sure where the ages fall at this point, but I think ages 2-7 are the "Peques" (short for "pequenos"--with a tilde over that n--which means "little ones"), ages 8-12 are the "Medianos" or "the middle-age kids", and 13 to 16 are the "Grandes" or "big kids." I may have some of those ages off by a little bit, but at least now you will understand a bit more of my lingo.

I wandered along the challenge course trail and partook of a few of the challenges myself. (I completed three as they were supposed to be done, and I jokingly did 3 or 4 others, climbing between slats instead of over the top or some other ridiculous variation.) I am not sure how far through we were, but we had a boy who just wouldn't come down off of one of the challenges. After the fact, we were pretty sure he just wanted attention, but at the same time, we couldn't just leave him there without supervision. So, it ended up being 3 of the university students and myself waiting for this boy for a half an hour to come down from this tree. And don't think we didn't go up and try to help him down either. Our patience was wearing thin, and I actually started singing the Zaqueo song (a song about the Biblical man Zaccheus who climbed up into a tree to see Jesus pass by). Anyway, we were eventually the last ones on the trail, and before long we got lost (obviously after getting the boy down). So, we just started following a road around until we got to the swimming pool, and from there we went up and got our lunch.

After lunch, we headed down to the swimming pool where I was constantly bugged to go swimming. They didn't care that I didn't have my swimsuit or even a dry change of clothes there. However, I finally noticed on the rule board that you need to have a swimsuit to go swimming. While the university guys could argue that they didn't care about my protests, they really couldn't argue about the pool rules. So, I mostly just sat around and took pictures of the kids, timed them as they swam across the pool, and was a generally pleasant audience.

When we got back, I finally started downloading stuff off of my camera. I have 4 memory chips for it, but unsurprisingly, I left the other 3 at home. Not really something I "forgot" as I didn't even have it on my list or in my mind. So, I needed to clear space on this one. And while I was at it, I posted some pictures on Facebook. In time, I'll look into cross-posting them here, but I have to say that I'm a little drained after today. I'm off to brush my teeth and find something warm to wear to bed.

Tomorrow, Daniel (one of the teachers at the home) and I are going to drive the rest of the Melia Family Foundation group into Antigua. He needs to stop in at the university there, and I want to shop at La Bodegona (I think I have the name right). I want to pick up a few general housekeeping things such as my own set of silverware (if you're late to dinner, you may get to try to eat your meat with a plastic spoon!) and a set of nail clippers (which was on my packing list...oops) and, of course, a couple cans of limon Pringles. (Sure, they MAKE them in the States, but they refuse to distribute them there. So, I have to come all the way here to buy American yumminess.)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Day 3 drawing to a close

I am transferring some of the posts from my old blog to this blog. If you get e-mail blog updates, realize that you might be getting a lot of e-mails in the next few days about REALLY old things. They should be pretty obvious.

I hope none of you were starting to get too worried about me! We have just had a little trouble with computer, the internet, and power the last couple days...none at once, but enough of each that has made internet time impossible. Since I have gone so long without an update, I am just going to lump a lot in here. We will start dividing things up once I have internet on the laptop that I get to use.

So, my flight on Tuesday was pretty uneventful. My plane out of Detroit Metro was delayed by a little bit because our plane was not yet there. It was coming in from somewhere in California. And while my personal item fit under the seat once we got our plane, it was a pain trying to wrestle it to the floor between my seat and the back of the seat ahead of me. I learned quickly, though, because Spirit charges for carry-ons and therefore, they let people with carry-ons board first. This meant that once those of us with carry-ons had stowed them up above, the remaining space above was available to anyone who wanted it, and I was just as entitled to it as they were. So, I stowed both my carry-on and personal least on the second flight. I was given a window seat which I usually do not like just because I usually have something under the seat in front of me and can not stretch my legs. However, on the second flight, it was not bad at all since they were both above. I took lots of pictures of clouds from above and, I think, I have a couple pictures of Mexico as well. I had hoped to snap a few of Cuba, but I was on the wrong side of the plane...if we even flew anywhere near it.

I had the easiest time ever going through border patrol. They did not even LOOK at my customs form. I could have declared and carried in weapons of mass destruction for as much of a glance as they gave that form. I am not complaining, but I was expecting trouble. (And, no, the biggest weapon I brought into their country was my common cold.) Once I got outside, I was left waiting to be picked up. Unfortunately, I did not really expect it to happen the way it did. I had a guy come up and ask me for my number. (Un?)Fortunately, I did not understand at first that he wanted MY number. I thought he was being nice and offering to help me call the people who I was waiting for. Since I had left that at home (Go me!), I told him 'No sè' (I don´t know). But when I thought about it later, yes, he was trying to get my telephone number. I do not know that either, but I could have pulled out Christina´s phone and showed him the number, I suppose. Anyway, Estuardo and four of the middle-age boys (ages 8 to 12, I think) showed up before too long and rescued me. This would be more of a blow to the guy in the US than in Guatemala, but a guy coming up to the girl who you just asked for her number, kissing her on the cheek and then having four young boys each eagerly give her a hug would put a damper on one´s day, I suppose. (Here in Guatemala, it is common to greet women you know--or for a woman to greet a man she knows--with a kiss on the cheek. It is also completely acceptable for two women who are strangers meeting each other for the first time to exchange kisses on the cheek as well.) Anyway, we went back to the Hogar, and I slept for about 4 hours. I woke up for dinner, took a shower, and then went back to sleep for a 9-hour night.

I actually did not take any pictures on Wednesday, and I do not entirely recall what happened that day. (This is a big reason why I journal.) I do know that we took four of the boys out to run errands. We had to pick up our lunch from some woman who works with the American embassy here. She and her children all look Guatemalan, but she--and the boys who I did not realize spoke English until we were leaving--all speak the most wonderful, unaccented English I have ever heard down here. I will be seeing her at least once a month, and I am secretly looking forward to it. Afterward, we had to get something paid for or something which I did not quite understand, but Estuardo´s daughter and I were left to watch the four boys. Then he bought us all ice cream at a little McDonalds stand. After all of that, we hurried home since it was nearing 2 pm, and no one else had eaten anything yet. (At least we had our ice cream!) In the afternoon, we worked on cleaning the store on the compound, but no one was really following anyone else´s clear direction of the best way to do anything. As a result, I finally decided to leave bashing my head on the wall for someone who at least could fluently speak Spanish. I applied some more Vapo-rub and laid down for a bit as I was still feeling pretty sick. When I went back out later, things were much better and, surprisingly, the boys were following the system I had set up. It made me feel a little better about the odds of this all working out.

As for today, it was a busy day with a lot of work. They are working hard to clean out my living space. My room is completely cleaned out. In fact, Christian Josue (a.k.a. Colocho) and I started painting today. My shower is completely cleaned out. My toilet area is completely cleaned out. So, now we are just working on a path to my room. We also have some other stuff in other areas to clean up and out, but that will all come in time. A large part of my morning dealt with putting toothpaste, toothbrushes, and dental floss in a large plastic tub to store until the boys need a re-stock of it. Granted, I had to sort it all within this tub by type. It was a 10-gallon tub and it is full. If you feel called to come on a trip sometime and bring donations, bring toothpaste, not toothbrushes. (I can not say that I have ever seen any of them floss, but they brush 3 to 4 times per day and most of them do not yet have their adult it is not the end of the world, I guess.)
I actually would have updated sooner, but the power was out here today for about 8 hours.
After that, I helped sort a new batch of donations which came in sometime this week. I guess I was somewhat useful since I can read the English labels much faster than anyone else and just tell people what the item is rather than have them find someone who can figure it out word for word and then try to figure out what exactly it is supposed to be and not just what it says. (This goes back to my mother and I. If she wants to say something, she will make sure she has every word and all of the grammar perfectly translated. If I want to say something, I just make sure I get the point accross. Today, one of the items was something to deal with the pain of diaper rash. I told them it was cream for pain of the diapers...they figured it out from there.)

By the way, that is the word I learned yesterday: diaper. I had one of the youngest boys sitting on my lap and I noticed that one of the legs of his pants was wet. My nose was still too clogged to really be of help, but it looked suspicious. So, I took him to the teacher and told her 'I think he needed to use the bathroom.' She told me that he was still using diapers. (The youngest is 22 months. I am not sure if that was this one or not.) She emphasized the word like it was important. So, I repeated it slowly. She nodded at me and repeated it. So, I came back to my room and looked it up in the dictionary. I can not use this keyboard for the life of me (it is an American keyboard set to type as an international one). So, you will all have to wait until I get the laptop I was issued up and running with the internet before I go teaching you new words in Spanish...especially ones with funny letters in them.

Anyway, our dinner tonight was almost by candlelight. We had the medianos and the grandes (the two older groups of boys) eat at the same time as the peques (the youngest group) just so that no one would be eating in complete darkness due to the power outage. Due to the mountains, the sun does not really just sort of vanishes, taking all the light with it. When I got back to my room, I turned on Christina´s cell phone--which I have not yet put minutes on--and put on the radio. That gave me a sense to work with. I set my flashlight down next to it (off) and proceeded to change for bed. At any rate, I made the music my sense of location. If I wanted to put anything where I would find it again, I put it by the cell phone. And just as I was about to go to sleep and was making one last sweep with the flashlight to make sure I had everything set for a very early bedtime, the power came back on. So, I replied to e-mails, posted a bit on Facebook, and updated here. However, now it is most certainly time for bed.

Hopefully there will be a less lengthy update next time. Oh, and if you were wondering, yes, I am feeling much better. I do have a pretty ragged cough yet and blow my nose a couple times per day, but otherwise I am about back together.