Monday, December 15, 2008

Kids Fun Day

On the same day as Alzira and Santos’ graduation there was a big kids fun day at a retreat center outside the city. Social Affairs, the area of the government that oversees everything having to do with kids, and Helpo, a Portuguese organization that helps kids in Africa, sponsored the event. They invited kids from all the orphanages to come and spend a day playing, eating, listening to music, and getting new t-shirts and hats. Our kids had a blast!

First everyone immediately ran to play on all the toys – swings, merry-go-rounds, see-saws, and slides. I don’t think any of them had ever seen a playground until today. This was the most exciting thing until they spotted . . . the monkey! “Macaco” (pronounced “makakoo”) is the word for monkey in Portuguese and I think it is the funniest word. But the kids all think that the word “monkey” (in English) is the funniest word and they look for every opportunity to say it. When we watched “Dunstin Checks In” (the best movie ever for this group, brought here by Ashlie) the kids were all yelling, “Monkey!!!” and laughing (about the word “monkey” being funny) every five seconds. Anyway . . . so of course today as soon as they saw him, they were all yelling, “Monkey!!!” (in English) and laughing. And it was very funny. They all rushed to get me to take pictures of him. I hope nobody gets upset seeing this monkey (since he’s on a leash tied to a tree). I don’t think his life is that bad. He lives in this tree and people give him tons of food. His life is probably boring but he seemed pretty interested in the kids and loved catching and eating the mangos they tossed to him. The kids thought it was the best thing ever watching him peel and eat mangos and then pretend to charge the crowd, making everyone scream and run away. After a long time watching the monkey the kids went back to the playing on the playground. Most people wanted to go on the slide at once. I think it was all of their first time on a slide ever. And then back to the "Monkey!"

Everyone got a big plate of chicken and rice for lunch. And then back to the "Monkey!" again. Finally the whole day ended with our band playing for all the kids, which included puppets singing. Kids here LOVE puppets and later Victor says he thinks some of the little ones thought they were seeing a new species (in the puppets) for the first time and were cautiously trying to look behind the curtain to figure it out. Victor says he saw one child trying to feed a puppet a cracker (seriously).

Today was a great day for all and it's wonderful to see the government and other organizations working together for kids.

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