We started the morning bright and early with the 5:30am game. After postponed prayers and a US victory, I attempted working on one of my projects. I had lots of little helpers which ended up taking me twice as long, but they like to feel appreciated and I enjoyed the company.
The school of the hogar had their annual clausura, or closing ceremony, for the students. Everyone was dressed to the nines in their ties and dresses. Some of the children's parents were able to attend. It was very professional with the entrance of the flag and singing of the national anthem. Each grade put on a presentation. The emcee of the entire performace was one of the eight year old boys. There were dance numbers, guitar and piano playing and even singing pollitos! Below is a little clip from the clausura (I lied, for some reason I can't upload videos). After the show, every student received a diploma and their report card. There were even special awards for most persistant, cooperative, artistic, etc. It was a sweet ceremony, and a little emotional for everyone involved.
After evening prayers, Madre gave a little sermon on family. She explained that not all families have a mom, dad, and two children. What makes a family is the love that is shared amongst one another. She talked about how the hogar is a very special family and how lucky they are that they each have 50+ brothers and sisters to love. Plus, since there are so many brothers and sisters, there are a lot of birthday cakes to eat!
I spent the evening with some of the older girls, talking about what teenage girls like to talk about--school, college, poverty, church...ok these are some extraordinary girls. Its great to hear that they want to go to college and study things like psychology, politics, international relations, etc. These girls are driven, bright young ladies that I see being successful in anything they pursue. I am so happy to see that this environment raises motivated christians that work hard and take advantage of opportunities. Of course, after the deep stuff, we talked about movies and books. I promised them I would take them to the movie (actually it would be Jorge taking us to the cine because there is no way I would drive in the city, its worse than Quito traffic). I was trying to convince them that Toy Story 3 is a must see and they would all really appreciate spanish Buzz. They tell me they are too old for cartoons and want to see Robin Hood or Prince of Persia. Meanwhile, the 21 year old wants to see the kid movie haha. So, thats something we are all looking forward to.
Father Jorge from Honduras left today. I didn't get to spend much time with him but the girls really like him. They told me a little about his life and his work with the hogar. Thats something that I find to be pretty neat. These kids don't really leave the grounds and yet they are so knowledgable and respectful. They listen. They absorb information from the people they meet and learn from their experiences. One of the girls told me her favorite part about new missionaries is hearing their stories and interacting with people from different backgrounds. The same thing goes for church. I don't know many 4 yr olds that not only pay attention but sing along during liturgy. But of course there's one who has a sort of turrets when it comes to singing and he blurts out louder than anyone at the most inappropiate times. Its hard not to laugh when we are singing a solemn hymn and he screams out the next line. At least we know he is paying attention. But on a more serious note, that's what I mean. They are present in the church and not just physically. It is really incredible. The orphanage is managed by 3 terrific nuns, and a fantastic staff who don't need to run around with rulers to keep order. They really know how to discipline, because at the end of the day, the children still love them. Its a perfect balance. I know the madres are too humble, but they should be really proud of this place and all it has accomplished.