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,