As I wrote in my beginning blog post, Mama Tara's is the main orphanage that I (we) have been supporting and that we came down for. They are the most in need. We knew of a handful of projects that we would be doing there, we were told about the situation, but it's nothing in your head until you actually see it with you own eyes and are standing right in the midst of it. It really is something hard to swallow for someone who is Americanized.
The majority of our time was spent at Mama Tara’s. It was a 20 minute dirt road walk (across the runway) and to be honest the walk was one of my favorite parts of the trip. We were completely submersed in the culture during this time. You were able to see the women washing the clothes by hand and hanging them out to dry, see the naked babies running around with the chickens, view the vast landscape of Moskito housing, etc. It was a great time to prepare your mind for the work and time at Mama Tara’s. There, just a short distance away, is no power, no indoor plumbing, at best 2 meals a day, outdoor kitchen, trash everywhere - just your bare necessities.
|We saw this little girl holding an infant in this window everyday. She would always smile and wave.|
|The landscape on our walk.|
|Our team on the walk to Mama Tara's|
|The outhouses to the left and the chicken coop. The path from our walk is to the right of the chicken coop.|
|The cook houses. They build fires inside.|
|The front of Mama Tara's. The building is in great shape, just no electricity to utilize it.|
Meeting Mama Tara was an honor. You can tell she truly knows sacrifice, abounding love and grace, such traits of our Lord, with whom she loves. She was so thankful and humbled that we were there. I was humbled to just be around her. I had just met and learned about another level of love, sacrifice and devotion. It's amazing what we think is the meaning and extent of such words as love, sacrifice and devotion in our culture and then you visit people like Mama Tara and your mind is instantly expanded in ways you never imagined and the definintion of words are forever changed.
We started with introductions and tours, then we all were ready to work to make this place a better home to live in. First order of business was to pick up the trash that littered the entire pathway leading to the house and all around the site. The kids were equipped with old feed sacs and bags and instructed to follow suit. We then started a burn pile.
|What we saw as we walked up to meet everyone.|
|We equipped the children and ourselves with bags and headed out to tackle the trash.|
|Our burn pile of the trash.|
Others split up and we tackled several projects over the next couple of days.
•Painted all the bars protecting the windows with rustproof paint.
•Drove in posts and installed fencing around an area for a garden.
•Painted beautiful murals in the kids' rooms with scripture of their choice.
•Fitted every orphan and worker with TOMS shoes.
•Went shopping and purchased items from a list that Mama Tara created.
•Secured some very swaying bunk beds with crossbeams.
•Installed door knobs and locks.
•Repaired the main screen door.
•Supplied 20 kits of lice medicine.
|painting the window bars|
|The bunk beds.|
|Drove in post and secured fencing around the entire garden area.|
|Fixing the main door to the inside.|
We worked hard, but we played hard as well. Our worship leader was part of the team and he got out his guitar one day and started singing a worship song in Spanish (a very simple one, so we could join in). You could tell the kids were interested but very shy. He then begin to play Feliz Navidad, so I felt the urge to dance and the kids begin to laugh hysterically. I would grab a couple and dance and they would just beam. They felt embarrassed to dance, but you knew they liked it. I hope to go back and teach more dance and free movement to them. I wish upon anyone to have so much happiness that you can’t contain it, you have to dance!
Adam also started a conga line. They LOVED this. I wish I could bottle up those big smiles and laughter while they were doing this.
After the dancing and singing. Mama Tara told us, with tears in her eyes, that a few nights before we got there, God gave her a dream while sleeping, that “the Gringos came and we all had a fiesta!” She repeatedly thanked us, but I felt as if I needed to thank them. Oh, how God wants us to dance and sing and be His happy children! Praise Him!
I am invested now in these lives. How can you not be, after spending days with them, loving on them and wanting the best for them? It has been placed upon my heart to return and to be an advocate for them, because if not me, who then? I never want to impress upon them my American ways, culture or ideals. I just want opportunity for them, 3 meals a day, cleanliness, to know God personally, affection and schooling.