Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Hijas del Rey (Daughters of the King) Women's Home

We've had some resident changes and needed to hire additional staff, but with the arrival of Caty, a young woman who grew up in a children's home in Monjas, Jalapa in Guatemala, our women's home is complete--at least for now.

Living with women is very different from living with the men (DUH!).  There is such a strong sense of community and affection among the women that it is a delight to be with them.  Don't get me wrong.  Our men care about and are friends with each other, but have much more varied interests and different personalities, so tend to be more independent and go their own way.  Our women love being together, and are "off-balance" when someone goes home for a visit.

Debora with her son

Debora, our young woman who is deaf, has been home with her family since Easter.  While on her home visit she became ill with something which still is not identified, and her family felt it best if the were the ones to care for her.  I agree, though we miss her.  And I think it was especially hard for her to be separated from her son, even though he would visit often. Will she come back?  Time will tell.

Petronila on her arrival, with her mother and sister-in-law

Petronila was our first permanent resident, coming to us in January.  She is bright and very independent despite being in a wheelchair due to spina bifida.   I tell her she is my memory because she often keeps track of where I need to be and what I'm supposed to do.

Next came Griselda, who is the light of the house.  She has never met a stranger, and though she can be quite stubborn at times, is a delight to live with.  Gris surprises me with her abilities and understanding, though I have known her for six years at New Life School.

Chepa (Josefa) was our next resident, coming to us from a children's home in San Andres, Quiche.  I truly believe her presence is God ordained.  It began with a question from my friend, Norman Sutton (an Omaha resident who served as a missionary at the children's home with his wife Vicki) if I ever thought we could take Chepa.  The home now had mostly very young children, and her companion, Agelita, had gone to Jesus last year, so Chepa was well loved, but very along.  Now she is an essential part of our family and we are so glad.

Caty on her first visit, accompanied by Carroll Bishop,
the founder of the home where she grew up.

Caty completed our little community.  Caty had an extremely abusive early childhood before coming to the home in Jalapa, and the founder, Carroll Bishop thought of her as her own daughter.  The time had come, however, when they realized Caty needed more than they could provide, and came to us.  We were a bit concerned that her transition would be difficult, since a couple of trial placements with families had not been successful.   Her adjustment to living with us, after just one trial week with a caregiver from the home, could not have gone better and she really does "complete" our community.

Our program for the women, given their special needs, is much more structured than for the men's home.

We have regular classes in reading and math, as well as life skills.  A young woman from the community, Esmeralda, joins us on these mornings.  She herself has special needs and lives with another missionary family.

Griselda and Chepa working on recognizing their names.
Esme, who functions at about a 3rd to 4th grade level,
has her own individualized curriculum.
Basic cooking is also part of the program

And who doesn't love to lick the bowl?
Homemade French bread pizza is a favorite

No one really likes the clean up,
but somebody's got to do it.
Everyone gets their turn.

And there's no food to cook if you don't go to the market

And sometimes you just have to kick back at Pat's house
conveniently located just across the driveway

The girls have made many friends in our area. You can see Olivia, above, who enjoys spending time with our ladies.  Maya, the daughter of a missionary family in the area has developed a special affection for the women and they for her.

Going to the park with Maya is always a treat.

We were honored to attend the wedding of Edwin and Leah, a former housemate

We have been heartily welcomed by Calvary Chapel Antigua as our home church for the women.  They are two doors down from the house, and we are really included there, especially by Pastor Luis who knows each of the women by name, and makes sure to greet them personally each week.  There is no special "program" for them, they are just part of the church and participate as they wish.  It has been such a blessing and the girls eagerly wait for Sundays to roll around.

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