Yoselin and Terry woke us up at around 6:30 am. Terry came in and laid between us and licked our faces. It was very cute and both he and Yoselin were sleepy and low-key. We laid lazily in bed until 7:05, when we headed to the dining room for breakfast. Paola had already left for school, but we were able to say goodbye to Vanesa and Yasmin before they headed out. We had pre-toasted Bimbo bread (pan tostada) with strawberry jelly, bananas, and fresh orange juice. Aracely went outside to play. Humberto took Yoselin off to school.
Aracely came back talking about "pollitos" (baby chicks). She took my hand and led me into a back room in her grandmother's house. She took a tarp off of the top of a cage and let the peeping baby chicks out of the cage. Silly me thought that maybe she wasn't supposed to do this, and I tried to shove them back in the cage. They did not like it one bit and started to peck and scratch at me, so I gave up. It turned out that this was the normal routine, and they were allowed to run free in the house and eat their food and drink water from a bowl.
We went back to the house and Aracely hung out with us in our room. We gave her a quetzal and she put it into her change purse. After that we took showers and it was already time to pick up Yoselin from school. As we waited outside of the school for them to open the gates, Aracely used her quetzal to buy some peanuts from a small bodega. The man running the bodega recognized us as her godparents from church last November, and we had a nice little chat with him.
As we entered the school, we saw Nidia, whom we had met yesterday, and she came over for a hug. Yoselin greeted us with a big hug, and then another little girl cautiously approached us and stood nearby, getting up the nerve to ask for a photo. I pulled out my camera and relinquished it to Yoselin. she showed her friends how it worked, and then she took some pictures.
Apparently the older girls had not been happy that we had visited Yoselin's school on Friday but not their own. Because of this, Paulina now led us to the elementary school and we visited Paola's grade 3 class. The desks were on the perimeter of the room. The kids took their seats, and Paola came over to greet us, looking mildly embarrassed. Next we went to Yasmin and Laisa's first grade class. We were introduced to her teacher and student teacher (both male), and the class recited something to us. Finally we crossed the athletic field where a class of older kids were kicking balls around and went into Vanesa's 6th grade class. We said hello to her teacher (also male) and the class giggled, not quite knowing what to make of us. We really wish that we were able to speak better Spanish. We were unable to communicate with the teachers or the classes. We know that when we were in school, any time a person from another country showed up, it was very interesting to us. We wish we had been able to talk to the kids.
After that we walked home down Calle Santander. We saw some U.S. hippies selling jewelry on the street. How lame to take business away from the locals and try to compete with them. I took a picture of some graffiti which said "music is my boyfriend". When we got home, we stopped in Humberto's office and chatted with him about ideas for his website. Rocio came home from school (she goes to a private school and gets out a little earlier than the other girls) and had a neat calculator/pen that she proudly showed to us. It opened and closed like a jacob's ladder, and she demonstrated it like a magic trick. I let her use the camera and she got some very cute photos of Aracely.
Before we knew it, Paola, Vanesa, and Yasmin were home from school as well. Craig played U.S. football with a bunch of the kids. Paola is very sporty and held her own with the boys, but Yasmin and Yoselin started to melt down and didn't do very well sharing the football. We were called into the house for lunch and it smelled heavenly...a garlic fragrance permeated the air. We ate pasta alfredo and it was delicious. During lunch, Aracely started to have a meltdown. We wondered if the kids were starting to act up because they knew we would be leaving tomorrow.
After lunch, we did homework with the girls. We saw Yoselin's report card, and she had gotten 100 in English! We looked at her tests and schoolwork and were very proud of her. Yasmin was having a hard time concentrating on her homework. Paola came running in to get Paulina. We couldn't understand exactly what she had said, but it appeared to be a serious situation. Paulina left us with the girls and ran down to Humberto's office. A few minutes later she returned with a wailing Laisa and a confused-looking Loren. Paulina explained that their mother had gotten very ill at work, and was now at the hospital. Laisa was inconsolable, but we all tried our best to comfort her. All of a sudden we heard someone else crying outside, and realized that it was Rocio. We weren't sure what was wrong, but she was obviously very upset as well.
Yasmin and Yoselin didn't handle the situation very well, and they teased Rocio for crying, so we sent them away. Craig stayed with Laisa and I took Rocio into our room and let her lay on the bed. In a few minutes Paola came in, and she was quite sympathetic and kind to Rocio. She started to talk to her and Rocio calmed down a little bit. After a little while Yasmin came in and wanted to use the camera. At first I wasn't sure if it was such a good idea, but it turned out to be a good distraction. They took pictures of one another and Vanesa brought in a ball. They were bouncing the ball and playing catch in the room, and soon even Laisa and Rocio were having a good time in spite of themselves. Pamela and another friend had arrived as well.
We played monkey in the middle with the football, and then the girls asked if we wanted to go to the store. We decided that this would be a fun outing so we gathered up a gaggle of kids and headed out. We joked that instead of Jon and Kate Plus 8, we were Craig and Steph plus Seven (Rocio, Vanesa, Luis, Yoselin, Yasmin, Aracely, and Loren). We held hands with the little ones and joked that we must look pretty funny to locals - a pair of gringos leading a group of kids. Rocio bought some little candies with a quetzal, and was ready to share with everyone. I asked if they accepted dollars, and the shopkeeper said no.
Rocio thought for a moment and said that she knew a place that accepted dollars. She led us down the street and I tried to explain that everyone could pick something out. Luis looked incredibly grateful and wanted to know that he'd understood me correctly - one thing for all of them to share. No, I corrected him, one for each. They were amazed. Vanesa and Luis each picked out a 3-pack of Pinguino cupcakes. We though this was shrewd...the older kids bought something big. Yasmin got a can of apple juice. Yoselin got some cookies. Aracely, Craig, and I got Cheetos. Rocio got "Spunch" (purple marshmallow cookies) and Loren got "Panditos" (little candy panda bears). When we got back, Luis immediately gave one of his cupcakes to his father and Rocio gave a Spunch to Paulina. Neli, Andrik, and Josue saw us come back and they came over to visit. Everyone shared with them and with each other. Even the older kids who had bought the big snacks only took one cupcake for themselves and gave the other two away. Luis and Vanesa's cupcakes each came with a little toy.
Just as it started to downpour, Paola walked Loren and Laisa home. Rocio and Yasmin did their homework together. Rocio was doing long division with decimals. Humberto arrived home and explained to us what had happened. Paulina's sister Estela (Loren and Laisa's mother) and Humberto's sister Juana (Rocio's mother) had both eaten something during their lunch break which had made them seriously ill. The girls had seen them in a bad way and were convinced that their mothers were about to die. We were happy that we had been able to help even a small bit - to try to comfort the kids while Paulina and Humberto ran around trying to take care of the situation. Here we had only met Laisa and Loren the prior day, and today our familiarity had hopefully been a comfort to them as opposed to if we had been complete strangers.
Humberto had brought his sister Juana home from the hospital, and they just received a phone call that Estela would be spending the night in the hospital. Luckily, both of them were doing a lot better. This was quite a relief, and we were happy to know that the girls must be overjoyed at the news!
We had tea and played cards and checkers. We looked at a bilingual book of songs that we had given the girls. Rocio led us in one of the songs. We all sang, and Humberto joined in as well: "Los pollitos dicen pio pio pio, cuando tienen hambre, cuando tienen frio". Then they entreated Craig and I to sing the English version: "The baby chicks are singing peep peep peep, it means they're cold and hungry, it means they need some sleep". Baby chicks had been a joke between us and the girls since our last visit.
Humberto ordered pizza, as a treat for the girls to celebrate the last night of our visit. Aracely was already sleeping by the time it arrived, but Rocio joined us for dinner, so we were still 10 people sharing two pizzas. The kids were asking when we would be back, and we had to tell them that it would probably be a whole year before we could come to visit again. The younger girls went to bed, and we stayed up talking to Paulina and Humberto. Vanesa sat up with us as well. She was technically only 11 years old (would be turning 12 in three weeks), but in her society she was very mature and laready assuming a very matriarchal role with her sisters. It was nice that she stayed up with the adults. We had a nice chat and went to bed at around 10:45. As we left the dining room, Paulina and Humberto were rough-housing with the Nerf football...it was very cute.
Good morning, Yoselin!
Yoselin's school friends
Aracely and Steph