africa: his name is vicente (pronounced vee-cent-chee).

i’m pretty sure the squirrely two year old will fit in my carry on.

he has to.

i’m absolutely in love with the kid.

he is tiny and smiley and comes right to me the moment i walk in the orphanage. well he and 51 others but it still feels good to know that he recognizes me.

we have several stations at the baby orphanage:
  1. playing downstairs with the kids
  2. helping dress them and slime them with vaseline (?) after their baths
  3. feeding the babies (my favorite – we usually are feeding three at once)
  4. manning the cafeteria while all the kids eat, hit each other with spoons, steal each others food, sing, fight, pee their pants and cry. (at times this is a great place but when tia maria gets stuck in there for 45 minutes all alone it literally becomes a hell hole, or the next best thing to conventional birth control!)
  5. special needs babies, most of them have either AIDS or TB (there are about six and we hold them, feed them, change their diapers).
yesterday we drove an hour and a half to a northern village to visit a tiny orphanage run by an evangelical pastor. welfare missionaries from our church have worked very closely with this orphanage securing beds, mattresses and mosquitoes nets for the children. our visit was a special one. 

about 20 children from 17 to 6 were gathered in new, clean clothes. all were crowded with us into a cement wall room with dirt floors. it was dimly lit with some sunlight coming through the cement blocks. they began singing, suddenly. the rhythm and harmony was startling . in their eyes and faces was happiness and joy and love. it was a strong spiritual experience to feel of their unity and love for god.

their first song was about how wonderful the day was to receive such a good visit. it was in portuguese. the next songs were in the senna dialect. those spoke of how they can not forget their parents and family who died and left them. it was heartbreaking and beautiful all at the same time. we were all crying.

we painted their nails. we brought them dolls and wooden cars. i helped the girls crochet and we left extra yarn and hooks for the women who serve as the clothes washers and cooks. the pastor and his wife served us an amazing meal of fried chicken, fried potatoes and salad. i think it was the best meal i’d ever eaten. it reminded me of brazil. the children ate massa (a mixture of corn and flour) and beans with their hands.

today i teach the body parts in english at another orphanage.
later i will plot how to get vicente home either legally or illegally.
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