Current Child Count

  • HOGAR DE AMOR I: 11 babies
  • HOGAR DE AMOR II: 6 boys
  • HOGAR DE AMOR III: 8 girls

Monday, March 15, 2010

bridge b-day!

Please don't hate me! This post has nothing to do with the triplets (gasp)...but some of you might like it anyway.

Nearly a month ago, one of the kids at the bridge started telling me that his birthday was on March 13. Like...daily! The other kids told me I needed to check that fact out, because I'm the paperwork person of the bridge right now and am constantly checking up on real names and birthdays. Also, occasionally someone will lie or fudge on their date to try to wheedle a gift out of me. But I felt he was right and he was. What was different than he thought was his age. He was actually turning 22, not 20. His younger brother was also a couple years older, and with a different birthday than they remembered. Both of their parents died in the 90s, and since then they've been between the street and children's homes/shelters. Now because of their age, without a miracle, street life is their future.

So on Friday night I began preparations by buying ingredients then making a big vanilla cake and a big chocolate cake. Saturday morning, I took the birthday boy and another guy, plus two kids from the Baby Home, to La Cancha (huge outdoor market where you can find just about anything!) to buy a new outfit. This cost all of $8.5 and he was thrilled.

Then, since he's a very "calm" street kid, I let him come with me to the Baby Home to leave the girls and watch me finish his cake. I made it Bolivian style, with fruit, whip cream, and dulce de leche (caramel) in between the layers, my first attempt! If I had had more time to assemble the cake, it would have come out better, but even so it was very delish! And it's not like the kids at the bridge are very exacting in their tastes. Food is food!

He also showered and changed into his new clothes, emerging grinning from ear to ear. Earlier I had asked him "How was your birthday last year?" and he said "Oh it was bad, not good at all. Every year since 1999 and being on the street, it's been bad." I asked what about the few years he lived in a boy's home. He said that there, birthdays are just celebrated regularly every 3 months, which meant he celebrated with about 9 other boys. So on HIS day, it was nothing special. That just reminded me afresh why we work so hard to make each birthday unique and individual here....even when we've already had 3 in a month!

I was impressed by how well the others responded when we started his little birthday celebration under the bridge. The numbers have swelled to about 15, but during the day they sometimes scatter and I was glad that there were at least 8 + the baby.

Smiles all around!

Singing Happy Birthday

Serving huge portions of cake from our makeshift table

The baby even got a little taste

There was even entertainment...

This guy is a newer member of the bridge group, as before he was in the north of the city. The others are as fascinated as me to watch him prepare his "torches", ask him questions, and watch him juggle at the intersection. Here the birthday boy (washing his clothes in the river) is watching the special private performance. I should have taken a picture of us lined up on their mattresses (if you can call them that!) watching him.

(Somehow I don't think anyone was being much help as he prepared for his night's work!)

And a picture especially for my sister Emma, of the 7 newest members of the group:

And no, Elena, you can't have one! ;-)


Elena said...

um...why not?

Gallo Pinto2 said...

I LOVE that you gave him the best birthday ever! And now the others have something to look forward to on theirs as well!!!

Tell Elena there are too many kids to take care of to even think about a puppy!

And I forgive you for not posting about the triplets since Savannah did!!!! With lots of pics!!!!!

But I'm starting to worry that my dear twins are feeling unloved! How are E and E and Los Luis? And an update on Gabi wouldn't hurt either!

Haha I'm mostly kidding....right now you're a little swamped...

jag said...

What a heartwarming birthday story. As I read your blog, I think of my little girl and it gives me so much hope. Nothing would make me prouder than if she grew to be a Godly woman with a heart as big as yours!

Book Lover said...

Is that baby in the picture baby F?
I haven't seen many pictures of
"my" baby F in awhile. Surely you aren't busy or anything LOL. The triplets are beautiful and I love what you are doing with the "bridge" people. Everytime I open this blog I am reminded of the bountiful blessings I have been given. Thanks for sharing your ministry.


Kim Chrisman

rehannabernard said...

so many things made me smile about this post and remember the 'fun' of birthday's under the bridge! I loved seeing how kids rally together for a a real 'family' it's one time I always saw the 'street family' steps up to the occassion!!

'J' looks happy..isn't he talented?!

And I just love how there can be more dogs than street kids under any given bridge! Keep up the good work!

Emma the karate kid said...

Nice dog!!! I want to come hang out under the bridge with you.