Sunday, May 23, 2010

Welcome William Samuel!

Our little bundle arrived May 13 at 9:50 PM in Asuncion, Paraguay. At birth, he weighed 6 pounds 9 ounces and was 19 1/2 inches long. He is doing well, and Abi is enjoying her role as the big sister.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Happy Birthday Gloria and Deborah!

In April, both Gloria and Deborah from House 3 celebrated their birthdays. Gloria turned 11. She is in the second grade and is a very active girl. Gloria loves to make friends with all our visitors and you will be sure to notice her soon after your arrival in our facilities. She is also very helpful in household chores. Deborah arrived at the home in February replacing Miguel Angel, a young man that went back to live with his biological family. Deborah turned 10 and is also in the second grade. We are still getting to know her, but she is a very affectionate and loving child.

Gloria with her cake and present

Deborah with her cake and present

Abigail also celebrated her forth birthday on April 29th. She had a great party with the kids and then later enjoyed a second party with our American friends.

Abi with her cake

To give another update, our bakery is still functioning and several of the boys from the home are developing their skills as bakers. We are so thankful that Rafael, our house parent from House 1, knows how to make the delicious bread and enjoys teaching the boys how to make it as well. In addition to the basic breads, Rafael also makes Paraguay's slightly sweet specialty breads with the boys, allowing them not only to learn how to make them, but also providing a great snack for the other kids in the home.

Rafael, Carlos, Junior, and Ever making kokitos

We now have three fish ponds open and operating. Higinio, the house parent from House 3 , made several basic fishing poles from sticks during Natalie and Chris' visit so that the children could take a fishing excursion down to the ponds. It was a huge hit and now all the children ask constantly when they can go to the farm again to fish. We are excited about these ponds and the addition of fish to the children's menu.

Miguel's arm, Lujan, Higinio, Shaun, Thalia, and Chris: Lots of fish in all shapes and sizes!

Another exciting announcement is the purchase of a riding lawn mower. We received a donation toward this much-needed item, and now have a Husqvarna riding lawn mower. Grass that would take someone more than a week to cut with our small electric push mowers can now be cut in about 4 hours. Shaun literally did a dance of joy when the machine was delivered. This purchase will free up so much time to do improvements in other areas, and we thank the Lord for the donation that allowed us to purchase the mower!

World's Best Doctors!

At the children's home, we had the privilege of hosting two almost-graduates of the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Natalie Rigelman-Hedberg and Chris Camp. Chris is the husband of a childhood friend of mine, Erica McCaleb Camp, and will be starting his residency in Orthopedics at the Mayo Clinic this June. Natalie will be beginning her residency at the University of Minnesota in pediatrics at the same time.

Gloria checking up on Chris' blood pressure

Since this is the first time we have hosted "medical missionaries," we were a little unsure what to expect from their visit. After their two and a half weeks at our home, we sat back and were amazed at what they were able to accomplish and the thoroughness and quality with which they worked with the children of not only our children's home, but also from the school on our property. In all, Chris and Natalie examined approximately 100 children and nearly all the staff from our children's home. Their examinations included not only basic physical exams, but also a dental and eye screenings to see what the needs in those areas were. They also created a hygiene flyer to hand out with their examination reports and preformed an interactive skit for the children of our homes to teach them how to keep themselves healthy and clean. In addition to all these exams, activities with the children, translating exam notes into Spanish to give to families, checking into prices for additional testing for the children, cleaning out ears, etc. etc, Chris and Natalie were never too tired to wash the dishes or play with Abi- making them the most wonderful house guests.

Matias learning how to brush his teeth in the hygiene skit
(Chris is the one holding the toothbrush)

While Shaun and I don't have a lot of experience working with medical students (they will soon be "doctors" after a May graduation), we feel that Chris and Natalie must be two of the country's brightest and best medical students. Not only did they have general medical knowledge, they had even studied up on diseases specific to Paraguay and tropical climates. Natalie, with only a couple of semesters of college Spanish, was able to conduct all the exams and listen to and advise patients with her own Spanish. Coupled with all of this knowledge, both Chris and Natalie have excellent personalities for doctors and made all their patients feel at ease.

Natalie with her "patients" from House 3

I am constantly amazed anew at the blessings that we have received in our work in Paraguay. Not only were we able to give quality medical care to each of the children with Chris and Natalie's visit, but we also made two new, wonderful friends. The children are already missing both Chris and Natalie (especially Abi who celebrated her 4th birthday during their visit) and we hope that in the future, they will be able to visit again.

To Chris and Natalie: Thank you so much for all your hard work! You can't know how much your visit meant to us and to the children and staff of Hogar Ganar! May the Lord bless you both as you begin your residencies!