By Barb Anderson
On Saturday night, we went to a special activity with the girls from the hogares where girls age (approximately) 10-15 live. The plan was to have dinner with them and then have activity stations they could rotate between. The previous weekend, the boys had their special activity, organized by the previous visiting group.
The evening started out with dinner outside. We gathered with a prayer and then lined up with our plates and forks we brought from our rooms and received our dinner from the big coolers that are delivered from the kitchen for each meal. Dinner was yummy: two pancakes and honey and cinnamon tea. After dinner we went in their big meeting room and watched them perform a few dances that they had prepared. Then we set up the activities: string bracelet making, bingo, books, beads, coloring, painting.
Having a quiet activity to focus on creates a great atmosphere to engage in conversation at whatever level you are able. And for some of us, it really is very basic. Cuantos anos tienes? (How old are you?) Como te llamas? (What is your name?) Or comments on a bracelet someone has made (Muy bonita!). The bingo game was a great place for Bingo Caller Scott to practice his numbers; he decided he would also practice his vocabulary too. As he selected his number he would add a random Spanish word. Trente pantalones! (Thirty pants!) Veinte-cinco luna! (Twenty-five moon). The girls giggled at him and encouraged him to go faster so they could get their "bingo" and claim their prizes.
Peter and Connor created their own "activity station": a dance-off. On the covered porch, music was playing in the background so the boys started dancing. Soon some of the girls joined the dance circle. Peters thinks they ended up dancing about 45 minutes as others joined in.
Another activity that went on all through the night was photography. The girls love to have their picture taken. Connor was the photo bomber and tried to get in as many photos as he could.
As our trip has progressed, some of the travelers have been christened with their "ranch name". There is a story (and many laughs) connected to each name. Some are easily understood, and some you will want to ask about! Here are a few of our names: Tramposa (Maggie), Single (Connor), Knots (Amber), Jagger (Peter), Caliente (Derona), CSI (Kelly), Robusto (Barb), Trente Pantalones (Scott), Futbol (Megan), Fiesta (Pattie), Curly (Elise), The Fixer (Lainey). As our trip winds down, we'll have a few more ranch hands to christen. We'll keep you informed.