Friday is always the last day a group has to finish up work at the orphanages. When we took our family in December one year, the kids stayed hard at work sanding 20 benches our group had built for a chapel.
The rest of the group came at crunch time to finish the staining.
This last trip, part of the group finished work on the roof...
...others built walls for the girls' bathroom...
...but I was excited to help three other gals with a landscaping project. All we had to do was prep a large planting bed for the two dozen plants that had arrived fresh from a garden center. I took my shovel to work some manure and compost into the soil...and broke about half an inch into the dirt. (Note: While soil is a lovely thing, dirt is a four-letter word.) The dirt had been so compacted by years of little feet running over the bed that we had to use pick axes to break it up before turning in the amendments. You can see our determination to conquer the land!
About three hours into my pick-axe workout, a group of the children saw our plight and pitched in. It turns out I can be even a little hardened against orphans. The single ladies all thought the kids and their efforts at breaking gorund were so cute. I, however, thought someone was going to lose an eye. So the mother in me sent them to the other end of the planter to shovel manure and stay out of our way. (I think the kids knew I was blowing them off a little.) But when the de-roofers finished and picked up shovels to help, the kids realized their work was useful, even if they didn't get to swing sharp, heavy objects with me.
We ran out of time to put the plants in, but we left a bed full of rich, soft soil for another group to do the easy work sometime.
We had to hurry and eat to pack in some carbs for another game of soccer. This time we would play the Buena Vida kids, who are younger than the first team we played, and Kent assured us that victory was imminent. I even volunteered to play fullback, and was happy to discover that I am more coordinated as an adult and got a few good blocks in. Thanks to my prowess, we gave up only four goals in 30 minutes to these younger, "less-experienced" kids...without a single score of our own. To end the embarrassment--and before they thought to ask for a soda pop prize--we distracted them with the option of going swimming before they could run up the score any more.
BUT, we came up with a devious plan. On the way back to camp to grab our swimsuits, someone suggested that Kent bring a high-school soccer team down for a work project sometime. I love it!
We met the Buena Vida kids at the town pool, which is supposed to be heated by natural hot springs. In fact, Kent had communicated with the pool owners before hand to ensure that we would have warm water. Well, actually he asked for "sopa de ninos", hoping we would be swimming in a giant hot tub. The owners, not wanting to lose 54 potential patrons, conveniently forgot to mention that a pump or something to the hot spring wasn't working, so the water was more the temperature of a refreshing mountain spring. Kent was miffed and said he would only pay for those who actually swam. He spent the rest of the outing reading in the van. But the children, who are oblivious to chilly water, jumped right in and the volunteers followed them. We had a fun time splashing and playing chicken and cooling (way) off.
To show their thanks, Buena Vida invited us all to dinner. They served a special treat, which the kids don't get very often: fish tacos!
Kent and I ate with a couple of the boys who are his favorites there. (Yes, we have favorites, just like most parents. I mean, we love all our kids, but we just click with some people better than others. Fellow parents, am I right? Don't deny it!)
Dinner turned into another evening of face painting, games, manicures, and hair styling. Yeah, kind of like a huge slumber party. We kept those kids up way past bedtime!
Eventually we had to say goodnight and wrap up the day with our fireside and a couple rounds of telephone charades.
The game in a nutshell: One player tries to get the next player to understand a series of selected clues (person, place, and thing) who then communicates those clues to the next player--all through charades and jibberish. When Kent was chosen by the group as one of the clues, I had the pleasure of acting him out. I'm pretty sure that imitating his dancing sold it. For Kent's turn, his impression of Justin Bieber had everyone laughing.
Playing and laughing with friends is a great way to wrap up a day of hard work.