Sunday, June 26, 2016

Reverse Lost

#1 in the middle (gray shirt) with her friends.
#3 wasn't our only child to head south for the border this summer.  When #1 couldn't get any of the school groups to organize a trip to Mexico with A Child's Hope Foundation, she organized her own group.  She led an orientation, collected travel money, and made hotel reservations for herself and six friends to join the charity's June work project.  This coincided well with #3's stay at the orphanage, because it meant that her older sister could deliver a few long-sleeved tees and other necessities.  (It turns out that the June fog is rather chilly in Baja.)

Neither sister considered the fact that #3's presence at the orphanage might be confusing to anyone else.  It set the stage for a humorous exchange.

The ACHF work project group arrived in La Mision on Tuesday afternoon.  They dropped by Buena Vida Orphanage (where #3 is staying) that evening, but the group didn't do a lot of mingling or introductions at that point.  Samantha, who was leading the trip for ACHF, was also training two Trip-Hosts-to-be, Brennan and Emily.  She was busy introducing them to the director, and then everyone returned to camp for a fireside chat and bedtime.

#1 with her sister's summer "siblings".
After a morning of hard work on Wednesday, several of the volunteers went to Buena Vida to eat lunch, including Samantha, Brennan, and #1 and friends.  #1 sat next to #3, who sat next to some of the teenage girls from the orphanage, who were next to Samantha and Brennan.  Our American Trip Hosts were speaking to each other in Spanish, and #1 could tell they were talking about her and #3, though she couldn't overhear their exact words.  Here's the conversation she later learned, which is translated into English for your convenience:

Brennan: Okay, I've been working really hard to memorize the names of all our volunteers.  I cannot remember that girl, the one sitting next to [#1].  What is her name?

Samantha:  I don't know!  I don't recognize her either.

Brennan:  Is she with our group?  I don't even remember her being at our meet-up yesterday.

Samantha:  It looks like she knows [#1].

Brennan:  But I know for sure she didn't come in [#1's] vehicle.

Samantha:  Yeah, I don't know which family she's with.

Brennan:  This is so weird!  I've never reverse lost someone before!

Samantha:  Maybe she's just passing through and is visiting the orphanage?

Samantha to Jaquelin, one of the Mexican teens:  Jaquelin, do you know that girl?

Jaquelin:  Yes.

Samantha:  Has she been here this whole time?  [Meaning, has she been with our group these two days?]

Jaquelin:  Yes.  [Meaning, #3 has been here for two weeks.]

Samantha, trying to clarify:  Has she been here at the orphanage all day?  [Meaning, has #3 been here doing construction work?]

Jaquelin, taking the question literally:  Yes.  [Meaning, #3 has been here all day, and all day the previous 15 days, too.]

Brennan, understanding that Samantha and Jacquelin might not be understanding each other, now interrupts in English to Samantha:  Maybe she is just a really white Mexican and she's one of the newer children here.

Brennan decided to test #3's language.  He got her attention and asked: Come te llamas, por favor?

#3, without batting an eye, gave her name.  She and #1 were now wondering what Samantha and Brennan were saying about them.

Brennan, in Spanish to Samantha:  Whoa!  She speaks Spanish!  She must be one of the orphans.

Finally, it hits Samantha:  I know who she is!  Kent told me his daughter was living at the orphanage this summer so she could learn Spanish.  This must be her!

#3 got a ride to, and at, the beach with the rest of the volunteers and orphans.
They all shared a good laugh, which grew funnier when they shared this exchange with the whole group at the fireside that evening.  The volunteer families had also been confused by the presence of this very white girl at the orphanage.  Most had assumed she was part of someone else's family in the work project...until she lined up with the orphans before dinnertime and chanted their evening prayer with them--in Spanish.  That really confused everyone!  Rumors and assumptions were flying in whispers, and were revealed at the fireside after #3's presence was explained.  The favorite rumor was that she had moved to Mexico with her parents, but when they both died, she couldn't get back across the border and was sent to be raised in an orphanage.  Obviously!
#3 in the middle of a volleyball game, literally.

Serving an early meal at The Breakfast Club in Tijuana.


Paul said...

"If you don't behave, we are putting you in a Mexican orphanage" is a great line for US parents to use with wayward children. I understand that #3 isn't wayward, but you may have started a trend!

VickieG said...

"Who's on first base..."