So today was the official Christmas program for the Milk Project. They have worked on this for weeks. Rehearsals, off the clock costume making, manger making, choreography, and just some good old hard work.
Time to come clean...I was impressed, but also had to tip my hat, because there is no way I could or would have done this. It was on another level.
This could not have been pulled off without a great, enthusastic and commited staff, and donations/prayer. I was there for just over two hours today, and I was wiped out mentally. The kids are great, and most are extra well behaved. Some though have extra needs, and express those in different ways. Maria, China, Lesli and the other volunteers handle that with grace and peace that is beyond my understanding. I would have been ready to start showing kids the door after about an hour. But I also have to think/remember...what have they already faced today, what is going on in their lives that makes them react in certain harmful, destructive or just not nice ways?
So I went back and forth from having to provide some tough love...to getting mobbed with very thoughtful hugs, requests for selfies, and then the just brutally honest comments/conversations, sometimes overlapping: "Touch the ceiling!" "You are tall!" "Man you are fat!" "Do you know the new slang word for fat? Yeah, that is you." "Your shoes are like clown shoes...the colors and they are so big!" "Your feet are like semis they are so big!" "Felipe, I do not have any clothes." "What is that...a watch? What does it do?" "Why doesn't my padrino (godfather or sponsor) write me a letter?" "You have legos on your keychain!" "My cousin has 19 legos!" "I don't like beets" "Gracias" (and also in English by several kids very well pronounced) They love to have someone pay attention to them, for good behavior and sometimes for bad. And man they are big on hugs.
China/Briselda made an extra special Christmas meal...chicken with potato salad and a special beet salad (which although quite healthy...was only hearily eaten by about 75% of the kids...the rest ate it but thought it tasted a bit too healthy.) They had cake for birthdays this quarter, and then got a gift bag, apple, grapes and a cookie. It was quite the Christmas haul.
Cecilia got to go with me today since she was exempt from finals, and she did amazingly well as usual. She made a custom ornament for every child there (which took her several hours last night and this morning) and reminded me of her mother consoling one of the littler girls who was crying after getting hit by one of those pesky boys.
It was a great day. Looking forward to what 2017 will bring for the Milk Project and its staff, and how we can pour more Christ love into this kids and their families. We will be looking at some new ideas, improvements, etc...may God guide us, and strengthen and encourage everyone involed in carrying out this important ministry every day!
Maria helped them all make Christmas stockings to take home
Making the manger for the program (out of old milk boxes no less)
Is this everyone? I hope so! This took, about as long as you probably think it did to somewhat successfully pull off.