Casa de Esperanza Update

With Fidel moving in permanently, a lot of things have changed, including an increased staff.  I never thought of myself as managing a staff, and I'm not sure I'm very good at it, but I'm trying.  We are all learning together.  Click here to meet our staff members.

Fernando and Cesar are working hard to finish up the school year.  It's been quite an adjustment and a bit of a struggle for them to adjust to going to school here in Antigua.

Fernando's grades have picked up greatly, in large part due to a kind "heart to heart" we had with the director of his school.  Carlos has had a bit impact on Fernando, and it's worth all the tuition it costs just to have him in Fernando's life.

Cesar is still struggling with math, but hanging in there, thanks to Profe. Julio.  Profe comes three afternoons a week to provide private tutoring in math, and so much more.  I love to listen in on their sessions (they work in the dining room while I am cooking dinner in the kitchen)--Profe has become more of a mentor than a tutor, and I'm grateful for his positive influence on Cesar's future.  Since Cesar hopes to teach one day, Profe has a lot of insights to share with him beyond academics.  Profe also is Fernando's computer teacher, so we are twice blessed with him.

I knew sooner or later it would happen.  With so many walls made out of glass, I knew sooner or later we'd break one.  I had expected it to be with a forbidden soccer ball, but Fidel took the honors.  His work table was in front of the window, and he accidentally pushed his chair forward and into the window.

Is it my imagination, or does he look just a little bit proud of himself?

People keep asking how Fidel has adjusted to living in the house.  Well, it seems like he's always been here.  It's a little different for him, though, to realize that he's part of the family now, and not an "honored guest."  He's learning the meaning of "you get what you get and you don't throw a fit."  Not that he would throw a fit when he doesn't get his way, but he can sure throw a pout.  He gets over it quickly.  He's learning what it means to be a PART of a family, not the center of the family.  It's hard, sometimes, but he still says he loves being here.

He's enjoying make some of his own decisions--like wanting to grow a goatee. He says he wants one like Brian (a volunteer serving at the house for two months).  Only thing is, I think Brian has more of a beard to work with.

Fidel is still taking computer classes, but right now they are on hold.  He has a flat tire on his wheelchair which Dick has not been able to get over to fix, so traveling on the street is pretty much out of the question.

There are no replacement tires in the shop, so we're praying Dick can fix this one.  Fidel does have a manual wheelchair, but refuses to use it. Please pray we get this fixed soon, before he ruins the tire. I have debated and debated with myself whether to take away the power chair until it's fixed, but, eventually we will be able to find a tire--even if I have to bring it back from the States.  I think this might be a good time to help him learn about natural consequences.  It will kill him (and the rest of us) if he has to go without his power chair, but he also needs to learn what a huge blessing it is to have one and how to better care for it.  And to take wise counsel.

It seems like we've had a whole bunch of birthdays recently.  We always are looking for a reason to have a party here--especially when it includes cake and ice cream.

Fidel's birthday was the end of June, and we celebrated in style.

Then, there were Sonya, Henry, and my birthdays the beginning of August.

Finally Fernando's the end of August.

When I get back in October, it will be time to celebrate Cesar and Miguel's birthdays.  They have asked for a "family" trip to the beach, and want to included the guys in the house and their mom.  Dick and I are trying to figure out how to make this happen.

A final, unexpected blessing of Casa de Esperanza is that we have been able to welcome visitors in wheelchairs, whether to watch a movie, work on the computer, or have lunch with us.  Again, God knew this would happen before we did, but it's really nice to be able to bring some of the kids from Hermano Pedro into a family environment, even if only for a few hours a week.

Cesar helping Henry use the computer
What I thought was a large living room sure
fills up fast when your guests use wheelchairs!

God also had plans to help a family with a child with Cerebral Palsy through our house.  Flor and her husband Henry have two sons, Carlos and Jose.  Carlos is 9 and has CP.  Jose is healthy.  Shortly before I began looking for a housekeeper, Henry lost his job.  Flor had been looking for work, but needed to work around when Carlos was in a day care program.  And when there was no daycare, she needed the flexibility to care for him.

Flor hanging out with Fidel
Though Nineth, the Bethel teacher at Hermano Pedro, I met Flor and immediately fell in love with her.  She only works mornings for us, when Carlos is in daycare, and when the need arises, we can give her the flexibility she needs to care for him.  When there is no daycare, she still comes to work, he just comes with her!  He has become the little brother of the family, and has, like the rest of the boys, developed an addiction to the computer.  She fits in with the boys like a big sister, and they give her as much grief as they do each other.

Carlitos, our hermanito (little brother)
This has been a win-win for both of us, but I think more of a blessing for me than for anyone else.  It's nice to have another woman in the house, and she keeps house better than I ever did.  I can be gone from the house and know that she will make sure things don't become a frat house while I'm gone.  I love how God had this all figured out!

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