My last post described what I felt was my reason for being there, loving and encouraging the tias who care for the children at the Good Shepherd’s Children’s Home. Before Rice Bowls partnered with BMDMI, (Baptist Medical and Dental Mission International) the children were being fed, but due to the cost of running an orphanage the meals were mostly simple tortillas and beans. With Rice Bowls taking over the feeding of the children, funds that used to go to food can now be used elsewhere in the operation of the orphanage. Because of Rice Bowls, the children have fresh fruit and vegetables at every meal. Every morning as we walked from our casona to the cafeteria for breakfast, we would watch the cows getting milked. Then shortly afterwards, we’d see the farmer delivering the milk to the ladies in the cafeteria. Can’t get much fresher than that!Besides the cows, there is a full working farm growing many of the fruits and vegetables the children eat.There are chickens and pigs providing eggs and meat for meals also.A variety of healthy food allows these children to learn, play, sleep and grow. Rice Bowls not only fills the kid’s tummies, but it nourishes their souls. The teens on our team, plus JP, who’s really a big kid at heart, led the P.E. classes a couple of days that week.Teachers in our group taught classes.Others tutored children in different subjects.Meal times helped build relationships.As Aaron was trying to show off his wheelie skills, he came to realize as he fell flat on his back, that most of the bikes don’t have brakes that work. Immediately, he got the older kids to bring him some tools. He taught the boys how to tighten the brakes, fix a flat and how to do a wheelie. Aaron was a hero that afternoon.Babies were held, kissed and played with. The children come to this orphanage because a government agency has pulled them from their home due to neglect, abuse. A parent brings the children because they can’t afford to feed them. Sometimes the children are found wandering the streets or found looking for food in a local garbage dump. This orphanage is giving these children a second chance.Many of the children have no family, so they have no one who will visit. Time and again the children feel rejected and unwanted. So what does Rice Bowls do? We have a Buddy Night! The team members got paired up a child who usually doesn’t get visitors or hasn’t left the orphanage in a long while. This is my sweet pal, Gabbi. We all loaded a bus and headed to the local Mercado. Many of these kids had never been in a store before, much less been able to pick out a few treats for themselves. Although the kids could choose whatever they wanted, ice cream, soda or chips, many picked items that they could share with their friends in the casita!After our little shopping trip, we loaded the bus again and headed to the local pizza joint. Here Fernando and Thomas are picking out what toppings they want on their pizzas.Again, something we take for granted, ordering pizza, was a really big deal for some of the kids. This restaurant was wonderful. Not only was the food good, the prices crazy cheap, it had a fun playground for the kids to run all over. On the way home, a 4 year old fell asleep on his buddy’s lap, teens giggled as selfies were taken and many of the kids were excited to share the leftover pizza with their casita.The girls who grow up at the Good Shepherds Children’s Home don’t have many positive father influences in their life. So the missionaries who run the school decided to have a Daughters Of the King dance. All day Friday was spent helping the teachers decorate and getting all the girls from kindergarten to sixth grade ready. They had their nails painted, hair done and put on their fanciest dresses.Here are my casita 1 girls all dressed up!Dads of the students who attend the school from the village wait for the festivities to begin. Don’t let their quiet demeanor fool you. Honduran men can play a mean game of Musical Chairs as good as any of them.All of our guys from the team, the older guy teens who live in the orphanage and the male workers got all fancied up too. They met the girls with flowers and a heart necklace. Then hand in hand they walked to the dance together. Here is a video one of the teachers made of the dance. It is so sweet. What girl doesn’t want to feel beautiful and dance all night with some handsome guys?One morning as I was helping with the washing and drying of the breakfast dishes, I watched the tias begin the preparations for lunch. Cabbage was being expertly thinly chopped and plantains were cut into slices. Watermelon and cantaloupe was being cut into a large bowl. Handmade papusas were being stuffed with cheese then grilled to a delicious golden brown. I was overcome with emotion.
These sweet little children were getting nutritious food for their bodies and love for their souls.
This is Rice Bowls.