Archive for December, 2008

End of the year

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

Yes, it’s the end of 2008. Isn’t that hard to believe? I wish I were able to give you more frequent updates on the orphanage but if I’m not there, it’s a little difficult.

Right after New Year’s, the two remaining girls will be moving to another orphanage. So… that means we will soon be back to all boys again. Right now, the number of boys who live in the home full time is hovering around 45-50 boys. That’s a manageable amount. But… we have lots of externos that come in during the day. Their families can’t provide them with food or supervision, or school supplies, and they look to Hogar Miguel Magone for support and help. During the day, the number of kids at the orphanage is about 100. And that’s quite a few kids.

Help is on the way. I shipped two big boxes in early December and this week, they arrived at the orphanage. There are 100 brand new Oakland Raider’s backpacks in the boxes, among other things. The new backpacks are there just in time for the beginning of the new school year. And all the kids are getting water bottles also….compliments of my gym. Colegio kids start school before the public school kids start. By the first of February, all of our kids will have started their new school year.

We will be buying their school supplies in the next couple of weeks and that’s a big job. Paige, from the Boston area, is a new volunteer and she will be joining us at the orphanage in just a few days. Paige, we are so thankful for your help. And, we also plan to buy them shoes again, as we do on every work trip. It’s a job to get them all into the shoe store, size their feet and then write their names in their new shoes ( I love those Sharpie pens), pay for all the shoes and then get all the kids and shoes back to the orphanage. But knowing they have new shoes that fit makes it so worthwhile.

It’s been a good year for Orphan’s Hope Project. In the year 2008, Orphan’s Hope Project wired $20,000 directly into the orphanage bank account in Guatemala. We receive many donations of new clothing, jackets, new socks, school supplies, toys, sports equipment, shirts, etc. The value of those items is not included in the total funds that we’ve brought in this year. In addition to wiring $ directly to Guatemala, we purchase so many other things for the kids while we are there. $7,000 was wired on December 24th and Karen, the director, plans to use that money to pay for tuition for the colegio kids, the kids that go to private school. That pays for 11 kids to go to colegio, including uniforms and books. I’ll find out soon how many will actually attend private school. Last year, we had 9 kids in colegio. Not all kids can go to colegio. They have to pass a rigorous test and be good students who want to learn and who have good study habits. Colegio is much more difficult than public school plus the kids have to commute to and from Guatemala City to get to colegio.

We just arranged to upgrade the internet connection at the orphanage. Orphan’s Hope Project will be paying the internet bill in advance, until September 2009, so that’s one less bill that Karen will have to worry about. I will be testing a new internet system (Movil Tigo) in January to see if it really is high speed and to see if it works at the orphanage. If it is as good as they say it is, we will be upgrading to wireless Tigo in September. We’ll be adding a few more wireless spots in the orphanage too. And yes, we’ll pay that a year in advance so that it’s always there and so that Karen doesn’t have to concern herself with it. There is a company in Utah that wants to get involved in the orphanage. Their hope is to get the kids comfortable with computers and to teach the boys some job skills using computers. That’s part of the reason we need to upgrade the internet connection at the hogar. And it was needed. The other connection was so slow and it took a looooonnnnnnng time to download or upload things on that system. Now it is twice as fast but we still have only one connection in the admin office. And the small admin office can be a very busy spot.. a center of activity for the kids, the teachers, supplies, medicines as needed, sports equipment, the phone, the printer, the computer, etc. We have to honor the existing internet provider contract but when it expires in September, watch out! We will be making some changes…big time.

Kevin and Gustavo are very hopefull that their adoption will proceed and be finalized in 2009. We got a favorable court decision on December 2nd and now there’s a bit more paperwork to do, more time to wait but we hope that they will be going to their new family in the spring. The boys will have so many opportunities with their new family. I know they are excited about the upcoming changes.

I promise to have more updates soon… and more pictures in the blog. I’ll be there soon and will have lots to report.

Thank you to all donors, all supporters, all well-wishers… everyone reading this. We appreciate you. Please keep us and the children in your thoughts. We are making a difference in their lives.

Que tenga un próspero Año Nuevo!

Paz y Amor,

Boxes, Boxes, Boxes

Tuesday, December 9th, 2008

Two times as much. Yep, this time, the shippers picked up two shipping crates for the orphanage. They picked them up on Friday morning. They will drive the two boxes to Central America and deliver them to the orphanage. Aren’t we special?! The items will be delivered somewhere around January 2nd, which is right before the new school year starts. And thanks to the Oakland Raiders, there are 100 brand new Oakland Raider backpacks in the two boxes. Thanks to local YMCA’s, there are over 160 YMCA shirts in the boxes. Thanks to Stacey, there are about 75 other t-shirts. There are over 100 sweatshirts, jackets and sweaters in the boxes. There are water bottles for the kids, wooden tops to spin, airplanes to assemble and fly, soccer balls to kick, 40 blankets to put on beds, 100 toothbrushes to replace old toothbrushes, lanyards for keys, ID tags for shoes or backpacks, pens to write with, over 75 boxes of crayons to color with, and much more. Thank you to all of you who made this shipment possible to make the school days and lives of the kids better. We appreciate it.

Update on Kevin and Gustavo

Thursday, December 4th, 2008

We got good news in court on December 2nd. We cleared another hurdle for teenage brothers, Kevin & Gustavo to be adopted. There’s still more paperwork to do and we hope that this adoption can be grandfathered in, as the adoption paperwork was started in 2007. (No new adoptions are allowed as of January 1, 2008 due to the Hague Convention requirements). So, the boys and their new family in Pennsylvania are extremely happy and pleased. But it’s not a done deal yet. Please think good thoughts and wishes for this to go through. I REALLY hope that it goes through. They will have wonderful educational opportunities in their new home. They are smart kids and they deserve a good life. They’ve been at Hogar Miguel Magone for years and this would be a very good thing for them. Think positive… think positive!

A Long Time Ago

Thursday, December 4th, 2008

A long time ago, I was blogging more regularly. A long time ago, I got frequent updates from the orphanage so I had something to tell you. It’s a bit more difficult now as I don’t hear much news when I can’t be at the orphanage. Sorry for the lack of news.

The kids are out of school for their ’summer’ break. We have over 100 children now. The home is gearing up for the holidays and the kids are looking forward to mission teams, new activities and new volunteers arriving soon. Sabra, a returning volunteer from Canada, will be at the orphanage in less than two weeks. She’ll be there until after New Year’s. Thanks Sabra. The children will be very happy to see you.

Nico, our former on site administrator and then our English teacher for a while, has now moved back to Guatemala. She will be visiting the children this week and I know she’s happy to be back in Guatemala. I know the kids will be thrilled to see, talk to and hug Nico again. They will probably hug her again and again and again.

So, think of our children in the orphanage and how their holidays are going to be so different from ours here in our family homes. They deserve more. Let’s hope they all have some happy days.