Christmas in March!

Trip Start Feb 20, 2009
Trip End Apr 23, 2009

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

The boxes finally arrived!   Lisa Adams, a coworker of mine in NYC also sent 2 HUGE boxes.  Her daughter and 5 friends collected clothing, shoes, school & art supplies for the kids!  They also included postcards of NYC that the kids loved reading!  Thank you Kristen, Isabel, Ariana, Kristina, Alexis and Kelly!!!  Some of the girls are planning on writing you back!  

We had such a fun morning!  All of the kids, including some of the neighbor children got new shoes- Michelle Fisher- the crocs were a huge hit!  They can use them at the river too!  The games, books and school supplies are going to go a long way here!  I'm dividing up the clothes for the orphanage kids- they are really excited! Thank you all!

I've also figured out how I'm going to spend some of the monetary donations.  Our classroom is the oldest- it was a shed before the school/orphanage was built.  The plaster on the walls is falling off and  there are big holes in the cement floor.  It is not exactly the best environment for learning...  Madeline and I decided that it was time for a makeover.  The whole project is pretty cheep- workers have re-cemented (is that a word?) the walls and the floor and we are in the process of painting.  Madeline is an artist, so we are going to spruce up the walls a bit too.  

I am also going to buy some new bunk beds, as that is one of the final things we are waiting for to get 10 more children in the expanded orphanage.  There is already a wait list...

Walking down the mountain, we tend to meet locals.  The children smile and walk with us, the adults typically just greet us and move on and the teenagers often tell us everything about themselves and want to know all about our lives in return.  I have learned a lot about how the schooling system works here.  Education is not free- Students have to pay between $50 and 200 US dollars per year of secondary school, depending on the level.  This is why there are so many who don't receive any education beyond 12-13 years old.  There is a 17 yr old who attends school near our house.  She was turned away last week because she hasn't paid her fee for the year.    When you pay school fees, you don't just hand them the $, you actually go to the school and pay the fee in person.  I was wondering if any of you who donated $ for the orphanage minded if I paid for her school fee...

I'll keep you posted on other updates! 
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