Post: 4 Dec 2009
Tattle Tale shared by Melissa (Manitoba, Canada)
Wow I cant believe December has arrived! And with the first week of December almost behind us Steeve announced that it was time to start decorating at the GLA main house for Christmas! So this afternoon the tree was pulled out and several boxes of Christmas decorations were dug into. We volunteers were privileged to be able to get in on the decorating too, and had fun wrapped some kids in garland and putting them in Santa hats as they hung out with us. (The garland did eventually make it to the gorgeous tree that now sits for everyones enjoyment near the dinner table.)
The highlight for me though, was to see the toddler and baby reactions to the tree and the lights that Susan and Vivianne set up just outside the nursery doors. There are strings of colorful lights that work their way up the stair railing and light up right outside of the nursery doors. This tree is not typically decorated with ornaments and tinsel, but rather with rattles, stuffed animals, sippy cups, bibs, and topped off with a baby Santa hat. This afternoon the door to the main nursery as well as Urgence A were open, and several kids in each of those nurseries who had woken up for their afternoon naps were making their way to the door to see what was there.
This evening after dinner, I went upstairs to see if more kids were now enjoying the tree and the lights, which would be even more visible and vibrant in the evening light. As I got to the landing I saw that several of the nannies were brining children out to sit in from of the tree. My heart melted as I saw all of these little pajamad bodies sitting around the tree and admiring the lights just like other children around the world get to experience. As I was taking a picture I couldnt help but notice that all but one of the kids were looking at the camera, Berlanda was on her knees peering through the stair railing and couldnt take her eyes off the beautiful lights. It reminds me of how Jesus was born to be the light of the world, and it is my prayer that as we approach this Christmas Season, we would have that same awe of our Savior, our Light.
23 June 2009
With Melanie still in the States recovering from Hepatitis, the volunteers have taken on photo day for the last 2 months.
Photo days are always busy days around the orphanage, but take away Melanies expertise and we are scrambling to get them done! J Melanie knows how to make even the most pouty face smile and the kids know her too! They gave quite a few skeptical looks when they saw someone new behind the camera!
Any of you who have been here for a photo day know what it is like. We set up a backdrop and get all the kids upstairs, dressed and HOPEFULLY smiling, off the table, undressed and back downstairs, only to do it all over again 91 times! During the day, every ounce of self- consciousness goes out the window. We are jumping and making faces anything to get them to smile. We often joke that we need a video camera just on the volunteers during this process, wed be an instant YOU TUBE hit Im sure!
Last month I decided to try and do the photos outside. We have a beautiful bamboo lined wall just inside the gate I wanted to use, and every day in Petionville you can find the most gorgeous flowers for sale. I love white Cala Lillys and I am so amazed that you can just buy them off the street any time you want! I really wanted to incorporate something that the children see every day and some part of their home that is beautiful into the photos last month. What I forgot to plan for were the outrageous number of distractions that we would find outside. Try getting the attention of a 2 year old while dogs are wandering past and motorcycles are going in and out! Not easy. There were several kids who were scared of the flowers while others thought they must be a wonderful new treat and just wanted to eat them! Jeffry was one of the most memorable cases last month; he wouldnt even sit on the table near the flowers! His photos ended up being taken in a beautiful handmade Haitian chair next to the bamboo.
As always, we had several kids who would not smile for anything, and others who sat up there and grinned so well that it took less than two minutes to get them done. We actually found that for a few of the babies, the only way to get them to smile was to take one of their friends and swoop them back and forth behind the camera. Sarah Ruth loved this game and sweet Michno spent a lot of time flying that day! One little girl, Berlanda, surprised us all by looking around for just a few seconds and then looking right at the camera, wrinkled up her little nose and giving the cutest smile! Her pictures were so much fun for me to take!
Photo day is always exhausting but at the end of the day we all sat down and agreed that it was a good day. We know how priceless these photos are for the families who are waiting so long for their children! The joy that those images bring is well worth the swooping, jumping and faces we all made. Knowing that these photos will bring so much joy to parents waiting, and knowing that one day every one of these little ones will have these pictures to look back on makes it well worth every second!
May 14, 2009
These brightly colored, spongy seats are convenient things to have around the balcony! They are used almost constantly in the nurseries, especially during feeding times. They are great for allowing the babies to sit up on their own and they certainly come in handy to our busy nannies.
The bigger babies love the Bumbos for a different reason They are fun for climbing on! Recently Wildanise came across one of these little chairs on the floor and was so excited about the idea of getting in all by herself that she ended up lounging sideways across the seat rather than inside it! Once she realized that we thought it was funny, she was quick to reenact the trick several times. Of course everyone wanted pictures of this sweet little girl trying to be so grown up! She was so pleased with her accomplishment!
Another child who really loves to get himself into the Bumbo is Mackenzy. The first time Mackenzy climbed into the seat he sat completely backwards! He ended up getting stuck and needing help out, luckily for him we were right there to assist him!
Here at GLA Bumbo seats are worth their weight in gold. They serve as lounge chairs, feeding seats and on some days, wonderful climbing obstacles. Bumbo seats are useful both as toys to play with, as well as items of convenience.
April 17, 2009
Tattle Tales from Melanie (Calgary, Alberta, Canada)
We had a great deal of excitement on the balcony this week! During some spring cleaning a box of brand new toys was brought up to the balcony to replace some of our older ones! Among them were new shape sorters, pop and plays and a great big tent for crawling through!
Kavin was the first brave little soul to crawl through and he came out smiling for joy! Berlony and Lovely followed behind him and were cheered on by their volunteers. Only one little girl was really not impressed with all the fuss and decided she would much rather sit and have her favorite story read to her. Renalia had a great time enjoying her favorite story Oh The Places Youll Go a Dr. Seuss classic!
Berlancy, Berlonys twin, also loved the new treasures he found on the balcony and playing with the toys was quickly replaced with his own game of putting all the toys away. He loved helping but couldnt be convinced that they actually belonged in the toy box, rather than the box where we store hats, seeing as that box was much closer!
We also found among the toys 2 fun hacky sacks and one of the volunteers entertained the children by juggling them. Kavin, especially, was very impressed and did his best to copy the trick. It was so funny to see the grin on his face as he held the ball above his head and dropped it!
All in all it was a week of great fun on the balcony!
April 5, 2009
This week Josie from the UK gives her perspective on Tattle Tales from the Balcony!
This week we have had lots of fun on a very busy balcony! Rainy season has not quite arrived yet in Haiti and we have had some fantastically sunny days.
On a couple of such days this week, we decided it was time for some water play. So we set up a few big empty containers and the combination of water, bubbles and babies produced a lot of fun.
Some babies were a little nervous at first, but soon discovered that it was actually quite fun, rather than the scariest thing they had ever done in their little lives! Although a few others, honestly did think that it was the scariest thing they had ever done in their life!
Those babies were much happier snuggled up in a towel and cuddled in someones arms. However the majority of kids loved it and giggled and shrieked. Two of the girls, Lovely and Yolette particularly enjoyed themselves. They were the first ones in and the last ones out and werent too impressed when, in the middle they started shivering and were made to get out and warm up before returning to have more fun.
Another little one that really seemed to enjoy herself was Evena. Evena is a relatively new arrival to GLA arriving nearly a month ago. At 2 years old, she is very aware of her surroundings and was quite upset in her first few days here. I am the one who has been working with Evena since I arrived 2 weeks ago. This serious little girl is slowly turning into a giggling ball of fun. We somewhat nervously put Evena into one of the makeshift baths. not wanting to do more harm than good. But I never imagined she would enjoy it as much as she did! She giggled, splashed and interacted really well with the other kids. She was fascinated with the bubbles, which resulted in them all over her head as well as in her mouth.
Who knew you could have so much fun with some empty containers, a bit of water and a bunch of babies!
26 March 2009
Baby Kisses! Love is in the air! In the last few weeks, many of the babies in the big nursery have started to repeat, I love you which we say quite often while walking through the nurseries! Cherlina was the first to say it and we all go so excited and danced around, that the other babies thought it must be a wonderful trick and many others have started picking it up. Andy, Gigi, Maylie, Alexandra, Mikenlove, Kimara and Yolette, along with several others will yell it out whenever someone walks into the nurseries now.
As a volunteer, our biggest job at GLA is to make these children feel loved. We are here to give them cuddles and kisses and to make sure they know they are precious to us. Hearing them say those 3 sweet words is enough take my breath away!
Along with those sweet I love yous come the greatest part of being a volunteer here, baby kisses!
Didier, especially, has gotten good at those big slobbery smooches. If we bend down for any reason he will come running up, put one hand on each side of our face and pull us in for the sweetest kiss! We have gotten some great shots of some of the kids giving kisses to the ones they love. Nannies, volunteers and their friends have all received these gifts, more precious than any other!
25 March 2009
Gedeleine, or G-bebe as she is lovingly referred to by the volunteers has discovered a full length mirror! What a girly girl she already is! The other day she looked up to see her reflection for the first time and her eyes nearly popped out of her head! She was so excited to see someone looking back at her! She spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out this new thing! She looked at her reflection, then behind the mirror, really wondering how this pretty girl came to be peeking back at her! One of her favorite things to do now is to dress up in a pretty dress or tutu and go check herself out in the mirror. We joked that her family will have to figure out quite the bathroom schedule when this little girl comes home. They might have an interesting challenge getting their own time in!
24 March 2009
Over the last few weeks it seems all of the babies here at GLA who have been so close to walking are finally taking their first steps! Almost every day we are clapping for another brave little one who has dared to let go of someones hand and venture out on their shaky little legs!
Wilda, Jeffry, Delson, Rucherly, Nadine, Luckson and Richardo are just a few who have made this huge leap in the last few weeks. And our sweet little Luc, who took his first few steps on Valentines day and then decided to take a break for a few weeks decided yesterday it was worth another shot. He spent almost the entire hour taking 3-5 steps at a time! He is such a performer, before he would even think about lifting his feet he clapped his hands and yelled to make sure all eyes were on him! He has charmed us all with his squealing giggle and we are very excited to be celebrating with him in his newfound skill!