I have just settled down after a very long shower, and I can still smell the smoke from the bonfire.
Caleb and I were invited to go with Nick and Nina Gazel, who are staying with their father over the summer, to help cook a meal at a children's home, so today we met at their house and headed to the orphanage from there. It was a home for boys, so there were some thirty to fifty boys there, and only two girls who lived in houses on the property with their parents. It was difficult to understand the technicalities because of the language barrier, but not difficult to see the warm welcome the children displayed for us.
Caleb was worried about the language barrier before we arrived, but within five minutes of being there he was already playing keep away with the boys. They also had a basketball court and a few guitars, so Caleb was right at home.
The two girls, Esther, who is eleven, and Christina, who is eight gave Nina and I a tour, and talked to Nina about what they were learning in school and the words they knew in other languages. The girls were very interested in languages; there were several German volunteers who had taught them German words, and they asked Nina and I how to say things in English and Spanish. Portuguese has a lot of the same roots as Spanish so I was able to get the gist of most conversations; but the biggest way around the language barrier (other than Nina's Portuguese) was not my Spanish, but Esther's English! Both girls were had a refreshing eagerness to learn, and a keen intellect to go along with it.
After our tour, Nina and the girls and I played basketball with some of the boys, and then the girls fixed our hair. Then it was time to barbeque. While we cooked, some of the permanent workers at the home prepared a bonfire and the children pulled up chairs around it and played the guitars or bongo drums and chatted while they waited. They were having a farewell party for the German and Swiss volunteers, and they called out each volunteer to do a dance around the fire--it was really funny because they were all just goofing off and doing these silly dances. After the meal, the kids lined up and each received a ball of sticky, yeasty bread dough, which they wrapped around sticks and roasted over the fire.
It was great just to be able to take care of these kids for a few hours, enjoy their presence and not care if my hair got messed up or all my makeup rubbed off. The only problem is that I have a really big zit in the middle of my forehead right now; I was talking to Esther and she pointed to my forehead and asked if I was Indian.