Thursday, December 26, 2019

Leading up to the big day

Since the beginning of Casa de Esperanza, we have had a special dinner to celebrate Christmas.  This year we would be combining two houses, so we decided to hold our feast a few days early.  We began Christmas here Dec. 23 and kept it going right through the 25th.  What a great three days.

The ladies from Hijas del Rey came to the men's house to share the meal together, and we needed three long tables put together to accommodate all of us.

Believe it or not, Dick Rutgers was home to celebrate with us.

We feasted on turkey, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, ambrosia salad (the all time favorite) and the ever present tortillas.  No dinner at Casa de Esperanza is complete without plenty of Coca-cola.

We had a good time teasing Osmi who devoured a whole turkey leg when we were all just starting to eat.  Hard to believe we worried about malnutrition when he first came to live with us!  

While I did all the cooking, these three dear ladies did serving and all the clean-up. 
Don't tell anyone, but I'd much rather cook!

One of our goals is to teach our residents to serve as well as be served; to think of the needs of others, not just their own.  To support this effort, we adopt a family each Christmas to give gifts to show the love of Christ as we reach out to those who need a bit of help.

This year God led us to Angelica's family, who the ladies and I met at a medical clinic in Santo Tomas.  The mom, dad and special needs daughter had been in a traffic accident.  Dad had a broken leg and was out of work for quite a while, and mom lost her right hand in the accident.  Since mom was not longer able to carry Angelica she desperately needed a wheelchair.

Angelica at the medical clinic.

Thanks to Cesar Sirin, who had been one of our companion-caregivers,
Angelica received a wheelchair in short order, with the help of Dick Rutgers.

Christmas Eve, I took a turn as caregiver to our women, and one of our first activities was to make the trip to a nearby town to bring gifts to this family.  We were on our way to the men's house, so didn't stay long, but took time for a picture with Ericka, Angelica's mother, as we dropped of presents for each of the family members.  We will stay in contact with this family throughout the next year.

After playing "Secret Santa" Chepa, Caty and I (Griselda had gone home to spend Christmas with her family) headed over to Casa de Esperanza to have pizza and watch the movie Polar Express, which, unbelievably, none of them had ever seen.

Even Fidel enjoyed the movie and stayed with the group for the whole show.

The girls had decided that, since there were just two of them, they wanted to have a sleep-over at my house.  The tradition here is to stay up to midnight, set off fireworks, and eat tamales.  Caty and Chepa, though, only made it until about 9:30 and then were fast asleep. They even slept through the midnight explosion of fireworks which lasted almost a half-hour.

Not so at the men's house, however, were the guys were only too happy to contribute to the bedlam which accompanies the arrival of Christmas Day.  Here Roberto is ready to roll!

Since they had gone to bed early, the ladies awoke bright and early Christmas morning and enjoyed their tamales for breakfast, which they failed to eat them the night before.

Then they opened their gifts and we just hung out until it was time to go to dinner with Naomi Heye and her girls.

Both ladies decided that they wanted to dress up for dinner, and looked lovely.

 After another wonderful turkey dinner with all the trimmings (where I failed to take any pictures),  I dropped the the ladies and Maria, their companion-caregiver for the evening, off at their house and came home to a much needed quiet cup of coffee and video chats with my own kids and grandsons.

The Forster grandsons and cousins.
The four in the middle are my grand joys,
the two little guys on both ends are my son and daughter-in-loves nephews.

It was a busy and wonderful and fattening three days, and now I'm ready for a diet and a nap!

Hoping your Christmas was as marvelous as ours, and blessing you with all God's best in the New Year.

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