Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Life at the Alburgue

Hello everyone, finally posting an update. We have been very busy at the Albergue and have been having a lot of fun. We have many stories to share, but this time we mostly want to focus on the people and introduce you to the children and workers around us. They are all very special people and have found a special place in our hearts. Peruvian people are amazing in general. They are very kind, friendly, open, and welcoming. The Peruvian culture is built around friendships and family. We have made many friends while staying here. Many people we have met have invited us to go out, come over, or meet their family. Everyone wants to take us home to meet their family.

Here are some very special children and workers we want you to meet. There are 28 children at the Albergue, all very special and with unique cases. We have learned all the histories of the children and why they are here. For all children here, this is a great place to be, the Albergue really is a place for them to grow up healthy and thrive. There are two classes of children here, ones that have been abandoned and are up for adoption, and others who are here for protection (meaning their families could not provide for them, but hope to in the future).

This is a family we have become very close with while being here. Alex is a manager at the Alburgue. He has two adorable daughters, Adriana and Barbara, and one baby on the way. His wife's name is Nancy. I (A) have been able to spend a lot of time working with Alex. He is an amazing man that I definitely look up to. He calls me "Hermano Gringo," White Brother, we have a lot of fun.
It is extremely hot here in Peru and the kids find every opportunity to cool off. The boys decided it was their job to make sure everyone was nice and cool. Here they are taking Yuli (against her will) to get soaked.
Since then, Yuli has returned to her family and is no longer here. Sometimes this is a great thing, and other times it is hard to say. Yuli's mother abused her and strangled her before she was brought to the Alburgue. Please pray that this reunion will be a happy one.

No one escaped, here they are holding Maria under. From left to right: Josue, Isiais, Maria, Arnold, Jesus.
This is Jesus, nicknamed Chito. He is one of our favorites. Every time we see him he yells out Tio/Tia!, giggles and runs/dances in place. It is too cute. When we say, "Rico" (tasty/yummy) he shouts, "Rico Leche!" (Yummy milk) in the cutest little boy voice. The kids love rolling this tire around the alburgue as fast as they can and have become quite good at making sharp turns. Kris spends every morning with him while teaching the preschool class.

Maria is a very special young lady. She is smart, funny, always willing to help, and has taken on the role of big sister, as she is one of the oldest here. She is one of Kristen's apoyos (helpers) in the mornings with the little ones. Maria really shines as a helper. Her smile lights up a room. In this picture, the boys decided she needed to get wet and enjoy cooling off in the summer heat.
Arnold and Abel, boys will be boys! It was very touching for me (K) to see the boys play a "cops and robbers" game. It reminded me that we are all created the same, no matter what country we are in. A tear comes with laughter and sadness, a child giggles with joy and finds excitement in a bug, couples get butterflies in their tummies, laughter becomes a contagious thing, we laugh, we cry, and we love. On both sides of the equator, people are people, our cultures are what make us different. We are in a third world country, and I do not see our culture as better, simply different.
Here is Carolina playing on the swings. She is also a very special girl. She is very smart and likes to surprise us with her knowledge of English words. We asked her, "Como se dice?" and pointed to her dress. She told us in Spanish, then put her hands on her hips and said (in perfect English), "Dress!" She is very smart, fun and has a great personality. Unfortunately she was abandoned, adopted, then abandoned again. The woman that adopted her beat her and was very cruel. She is up for adoption, and we pray she finds her "forever family" that will let her know she is beautiful, desired, and loved.
Time to cool off again! This is a treat at the Alburgue. This fountain is very large and the kids have a blast... and so do we. It beats running through sprinklers.
Arnold is absolutely adorable, we love him. He is a newer member here. He is very sweet, funny, loving, and helpful. No one knows when he was born, but he is about 7 years old. His mother and uncle are deaf and mute. He has never met his father and has never had schooling. While his mother was begging on the streets, Arnold took care of his siblings. He was abused by his uncle. He cannot read or write, but is so eager to learn. I (K) teach English class and can always see his desire to learn, as he is quiet and bright-eyed in class. He is a very happy boy, whether he is contently sitting next to you staring with a grin, or trying to tackle you. Arnold is up for adoption.
This is Piero and Carolina playing in the fountain. Piero is a very cool kid. He is 7 years old and is very intelligent and funny. He can read very well and spell some though words. He is always ready and excited for English class. He comes 15 minutes early, then doesn't pay attention, yet still learns the words! He is very caring and loving. I (K) was very sick from food poisoning last week, which left me in bed all day. I never came out. At about 7pm there was a knock on our door. There stood 6 boys and Yulissa, the mother. They where in their house praying for me and Piero wanted to come pray with me. So they all made me a get well card and came to visit. After giving me the card Piero asked if he could pray for me. It was very moving as this little 7 year old prayed for me in his language, and so cute. How could I not feel better after that?
More fun in the sun, playing in the fountain.

We hope you all are enjoying our stories and pictures. Thank you for the comments, they make us smile. If you know anyone interested in adopting, or having children, please let them know about these little ones. They are all so amazing and the Alburgue is helping them grow into very responsible, educated, fun, passionate, and healthy children. They may have had difficult pasts, but it is exciting to witness the beginning of their healthy future. If you are interested in helping this mission, there are many ways, but most of all, please help us in finding their loving families.


Anonymous said...

Kristen, you are so right! People are just people, geography doesn't change that. I know you guys are having a life-changing experience there, it will be hard to say good bye. Riley and Casey are fine. Call when you can, I miss hearing your voices.

Kim and Brian said...

Hi Kristen and Adam. Thank you once again for the heartfelt stories. I am praying that someone terrific adopts the kids, as I am sure you are doing the same. I love what you said, Kristen. You are so right, a different culture does not make it wrong, in fact it is what makes each culture beautiful. I love learning about other cultures and how they strangely resemble our own in many different ways. I think you should submit that quote to Hallmark to put on a card! We are busy planning a party for you two complete with a block of cheese, a gallon of milk and enough Mexican food to feed a small village (altough I am not sure what you will eat Kristen--this is just for Adam!) :-)
Brian says "hi!" We miss you both so much and can't wait until you are only an hour away!

Love you both! Kim and Brian