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This day has been sponsored by : The Kalsi Family

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Week 7 Day 1 - "xMas Eve @ the Hogarcito"

What a day! The kids were promised an excursion to a place with a swimming pool and food in a restaurant. I remember Luís had spoken about the restaurant with such excitement in his eyes weeks before that this seemed like a big event for the kids.

So I arrived in the morning with my bathing suit and towel... only to find out that it had been decided on Friday afternoon not to go on the excursion. The head organization had invited kids from various orphanages and a total of 300 kids were expected and it would have been insane to make sure we don't lose the little ones. However, I felt, this decision could have been taken from the beginning (or as soon as this information was available). The kids should have never been told or if they had been, an alternative should have been presented when telling them they could not go.

What happened? When I arrived on Monday morning, nobody had thought about an alternative. The boys from the Tesalia were expected to come, too. Eventually, Marlen suggested to go to the "balneareo". What sounds like a fancy place, is the local pool. It is not too big, and there are points where you have a view on the entire pool area. There are three pools: two small ones where the water does not come up to my knees and one bigger one where I can stand anywhere but the kids probably cannot. Marlen went off to get bread and other stuff to prepare picnic food to eat at the "balneareo". By 11h30 all was ready to leave. Though the pool is in walking distance, the hike is a bit challenging for the smaller ones and considering the things we wanted to take, Marlen took a first group in the van. Little later the group was back with disappointment on their faces: the pool was closed on xMas Eve. I felt really sorry for the kids. So did Sabrina, the volunteer from Switzerland and she said that her guest mom offered to pay for an excursion to the movies. Sadly, those were closed, too.

At this point, focus was on the dinner. Instead of the initial 8pm, it was now moved to 5pm. Many many people had stopped by in the last month to leave gifts for the kids and there was no shortage of colourful packets under the xmas tree. I thought, it might be nice to have Santa Claus to distribute them and talked to Marlen, "volunteering" Edward for the task. She said she had thought of a way and wanted to describe something "special" about the kid the gift is for, and the let the children guess whom she was describing and hence who was receiving the gift in her hands. I liked her idea and we dropped the Santa Claus feature.

A little after 5pm, Cynthia, Edward, and myself were off to the Hogarcito. All the kids, including the older boys, had fun dancing as you can see the pictures. We even did some limbo. Karen was excellent at it. Come present time, Marlen described her idea to the group of children sitting around waiting for their gifts. She made one example, and after that for each child she asked me what special feature I'd point out for this child. She's the psychologist who started the same week as I did. I was disappointed but glad that the kids did not seem to notice as their focus was on the gift. The kids from the Hogarcito all got clothes and toys. All had been picked for their age and gender. They were all very happy. The boys from the Tesalia all had jeans and a T-Shirt and their exitement faded once they noticed that they all had "the same" but nothing "personal" like the little kids.

For dinner there was rice with chicken and a side of chips and ketchup. Dessert was special: there was a cake. Cakes have a lot of frosting here. They remind me of cakes I have seen in the UK.

I liked spending xMas Eve with the children. I just had hoped the day would be more special for them.


For today's sponsor

Kalsi Family... Where did you celebrate xMas this year?