Update on Birth Certificates

Here is the latest that Barbara's contact at CI has heard from the office in Mexico:

"So far, its pending to get the birth certificates of Paola and Tomasa, although our Field Officer has given guide and support to Paola's mom, she hasn't had the time to do what she requires to do personally. The mother has already the birth certificate, but in order to get the birth certificates of her children (Tomasa and Paola) she requires an official ID card. Next Monday, December14th, Paoloa's mom and our Field Officer will get some papers that Paola's mom requires to continue with the process of the birth certificates.

We would also like to request your authorization in order to use the $66.00 USD to build a wall to finish the construction of a well that the family has in their front yard. We haven't realized about this problem because the family had covered it with some pieces of wood. This wall would prevent accidents of anybody may fall down into the well."

The money has been authorized for the wall to be put up around the well, so all is ... wait for it ... well!

Paola gets a "computer"

Here is the package that I sent via Steve. The girls really look excited & grateful for their life change... It must be really incredible to be in their shoes and see so much changing for the better! Next year, it will be school for both of them! In the meantime, I sent them the learning laptop that I had, also, sent to Brayan. It has eductaional games on it, so hopefully they can do some learning at home before they get a chance to start school!

This is what the field said:

List of items received:

2 Princess Coloring Posters

4 T-shirts

1 Magnetic toy

1 Bag of lollipops

1 Little Lunch Pail

1 Stuffed Lamb

1 Bag of Jax

1 Chalkboard and chalk

1 Watercolor Paint Set

1 Compu Kids Computer with lots of batteries

Comments: Paola and Tomasa received the toys from the sponsors. They were so happy for the computer they received.

Dear Sponsors,

Tomasa was very glad for the gift that you sent. She liked the stuffed lamb a lot. Rosa, the mother, thanks you for thinking of her. She, also, likes the little Tinkerbell lunch pail.

Thank you on thier behalf.

Marcela (field officer)

Dear Sponsors,

The mother of Paola is very happy for the gift that you sent for the girls Paola and Tomasa. They liked the t-shirts a lot, and Paola liked the computer the most. On behalf of their mom and Paola we thank you for thinking of them.

Marcela (field officer)

Extra Package Photos

Each post entry is only allowed 5 photos, so here are the "extras":

Barbara's Halloween Gifts for Paola

Here are the photos from the Halloween package delivered by Steve:

The package contained.

- a green fairy dress for Halloween from Alice to Tomasa
- a blow up Pumpkin
- 3 Halloween loot bags
- 2 Halloween plates
- An Halloween colouring book.
- a few candies each.

Paola's Christmas Gifts From Barbara

These are the Christmas photos - I mailed the package via surface but obviously it was sent air mail and arrived too early, but better early than late I suppose. In fact, since Paola is wearing the same clothes and has the same hairstyle, they were given to her on the same day as the warm clothing which was sent in August!!

The package contained the following:-

1 Singing, blushing Snowman
3 Large velvet red and white Christmas stockings each of which contained
a small disney ball
a tiny stuffed animal in Santa hat
a sweater for their Teddy bears
a light up Santa head band
1 small red reindeer horns head band
a blue foam reindeer horns head piece
a Xmas colouring book

For Paola - a pale turquoise top.
a small green stand up toothbrush and toothpaste set
a Winnie the Pooh sticker album and two pages of stickers

For Maria
a pair of red pyjamas
a white top with pink birds and hearts.
a set of top/pants and hat with padded coat hanger
a pair of shorts.

The comments from the local field officer were.

"Paola was glad to receive the package from the sponsor."

The letter read.

"Dear Barbara Rogers

I want to tell you about Paola Mendez. She was very amazed of all the gifts that you sent and is very happy that you are so good to her and her family. She liked all the gifts she received. Paola likes a lot the pictures of you with your loved one. Paola also wants you to have a Merry Christmas and May God keep blessing you a lot. Paola loves you a lot."

More Gifts From Barbara

Here are some photos taken after Paola received a package from Barbara back in August:

These photos are of a 'warm' clothing DP that I sent in August. One picture shows Paola actually smiling, but in the others I think she is sucking on some candies I included. The contents were as follows:

2 sweat suits, 3 T-shirts, one pyjama set, 3 fleecy hoodies, 3 small bags of candies, 1 hanger, Dora colouring book and crayons, 1 pencil. The comments in the follow up letter from the CI local centre were:

Paola looked very happy and thankful for the gifts she received from Ms. Rogers.

The letter written for the family by a CI field officer read.

"Dear Barbara Rogers
Paola Mendez Aranda is very happy for the special package she got. She thanks you very much for the crayons, the pair of pants, the t-shirts, and all the other nice things you sent her. She really wants to start colouring the Dora the explorer book. Paola still does not go to school, but next year she will start kindergarten. Paola loves you very much and she thanks you for all the things you do for her. She'd like to meet you someday. Paola hopes you're doing fine. She sends you kisses and hugs."

A letter like that makes it all worth while.



Getting Paola educated!

Here is the latest news about the possibility of getting Paola and Tomasa enrolled in school. It appears that Rosa has not been able to afford this in the past, mostly because she does not have the required birth certificates for them. These are necessary before they can be enrolled in school.

Both Alice and Barbara inquired about getting the children into school as soon as possible. The reply was that, first of all, Rosa has to obtain her own birth certificate in order to apply for those for Tomasa and Paola. According to the CI Representative, in Mexico one doesn't send off to State capital like you do in the States but has to go (in person usually) to the town/city where one was born.

Since Rosa and her family have lived in the same house for 10 years it is to be hoped that the girls' certificates are in Jalisco but it is not yet known where Rosa was born. This could cause a costly problem. The CI local staff are investigating this and hopefully we will hear back in a week or so. Hopefully, if Rosa knows that there will be some available funds to help her, she will be more receptive to the work involved. There was a small amount left from the larger sum donated by the incredibly generous anonymous sponsors which can be used to help alleviate this matter. If it is not sufficient then we may have to do another small fundraiser.

In the meantime, in reply to Sissy's query as to whether we will be doing another fund-raiser to help this family with their special needs, the answer is "yes" if you will be able to contribute.

Barbara's idea is to have either a larger fundraiser to buy a wardrobe to store their clothes instead of having to have them in boxes on the floor. - cost approximately $100.00 or also to add another $175.00 in order to pay for the drain connection which will help keep their clothes clean. Perhaps, if those members of our small group who were unable to contribute towards the stove, table, gas container project that we raised earlier, could donate towards the wardrobe/chest of drawers the rest of us could start fundraising for the drain/connection? It would be wonderful if both of these could be raised before Christmas so that the floor and drain connection could be done together. Also, the storage unit will be even more necessary once they receive their Christmas gifts from those of us who will be sending Direct Packages.

If both of these could be funded this year it will only leave the larger amount of $439.00 to pay for the bathroom. This would take place sometime next year after the other projects have been funded. Please let us have your feedback and ideas so that we know what you want to do as well.

Paola's Package that will be delivered by Steve

For those who have been waiting to see what would be sent with Steve to give to Paola on his visit next week... This is what I have put into a flat rate box that is being shipped to him tomorrow:

*1 Biligual English/Spanish Children's Laptop

*1 Bag of Lollipops, per Barbara's request- to be handed out at Halloween

*1 Bag of Jax

*1 Chalkboard with chalk & eraser

*1 Water-color Paint Set

*2 Velvet Disney Princess Pictures with Markers for Paola & Tomasa

*1 Tinkerbell Mini-lunch Pail

*4 Old Navy Shirts to be shared between Paola & Tomasa

*1 Cuddly White Lamb (yeah, I know, it will be brown in less than a day)

*1 Magnetic Play Circus Scene

Sorry, Barbara, I did not get a chance to throw in a costume for the baby (Long, depressing story that I don't want to get in to)

So, there ya go. It is headed to Steve. I am sure we will have some great pics & videos to add to this blog shortly!!! Thank you, Steve!!!

More photos from Barb ...

Photos from Barbara!

Here are the photos that Barbara received from CI after sending a package for Paola and her sisters ...

Magazines 4 Good


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July Visit, Part 21 - Leaving Zoo/Marcela Blows Me Off

July Visit, Part 21 - Leaving Zoo/Marcela Blows Me Off

After the CIA presentation, we hurried to the zoo exit. There was a restaurant right there, so I offered to buy a late lunch for everybody. I hoped that Rosa would be hungry enough to "take the bait", but she said it was essential that she go straight home.

On second thought, Rosa was probably right to be in such a hurry. Now, I'm no expert on babies, but I'm pretty sure that when you take one out for the day you're s'posed to bring a diaper bag along. Rosa had nothing of the sort for Maria. I didn't smell anything, so I guess all was good.

During the truck ride back, everyone fell asleep (me included, briefly) except for Fernando (who was driving) and Tomasa.

Back at Paola's house, the good-bye hugs were a bit hurried. Rosa and the family needed to do something with bricks, and I'm sure Paola was ready for a nap!

I suppose to be fair, it was nearly 4pm by this time, but I felt like our day had been cut short and there was still time for more to happen. I suggested that we go somewhere and buy a take-out meal to bring back to the family. I felt guilty about not feeding them.

Marcela wasn't keen on that idea, so I didn't even ask about doing some clothes shopping for the girls at the open market outside the community center (I'll post pics of that in the next entry - I forgot them here). Of course, Marcela and the other staff still had to drive Mike and I to our hostel, then go all the way back to the main office. I don't think I knew at that time how far away the place was from us.

I had another full day left in Guadalajara, so I was hoping to work out a way to do something else CI-related. On the top of my list was a visit to Heather and/or Barbara's boys, Brayan and Miguel ... but Marcela said that would be impossible. Next, I thought maybe I could do a bit more shopping for Paola's family, then bring the gifts to the main office (like we had done in Honduras). Marcela gave me a card with the address on it - so I could MAIL gifts. She said the office was too far away for me to travel there by myself. She sort of implied that she was done with me, until my next visit to Mexico, lol.

So, Mike and I carried the gifts for Miguel and Brayan downstairs to the truck, we all hugged good-bye, and the day was over. After the CI staff left, Mike and I walked to downtown Guadalajara and ate our only restaurant meal of the trip - Chinese buffet food!

The parts of the zoo we saw are circled in black. As you can see, there is plenty of zoo left for the next sponsor who visits!

Posing in front of the fountain outside of the zoo.

Marie and Paola fall asleep in the truck

July Visit, Part 20 - The Aquario Photo

July Visit, Part 20 - The Aquario Photo

I should have written this part sooner, but the photo was lost in our messy house!

The aquarium had one of those blue screen photography stations where they will super-impose your group into an underwater scene, so I thought that would make a fun souvenir. The camera was mounted up on the ceiling, and I don't think Paola understood what was going on. In the picture, I'm asking the photographer to wait for a second so I could point the camera out to the little girls (obviously, she didn't wait). The end result is cool, however, because Paola looks a little confused and apprehensive as if she actually IS at the bottom of the ocean, surrounded by sharks.

Paola thought the photo was just great, as you can tell by her happy face when Marcela shows it to her below. I had a copy made for her mother to keep, of course, and the extended family got a laugh from it back at the casa.

CIA Bingo Videos

Paola has won ... can anyone understand what the lady is saying about the prize card?

CIA Bird Dance Video

This video illustrates how Tomasa and Paola didn't really "get" what was going on, and didn't know how to participate unless they were directly assisted. After I shut off the camera, I went over and helped Paola do the dance.

CIA Videos

Above: I think Tomasa was too heavy for the demonstration, so the lady used Paola instead.

In the next vid, the man who gets on the iceberg with Paola is Fernando, the CI driver:

July Visit, Part 19 - CIA Interactive "Show"

July Visit, Part 19 - CIA Interactive "Show"

At 2pm, we crossed a suspension bridge and entered a colorful building to see a "show". I assumed that this would be some sort of an educational live animal show, presented in incomprehensible Spanish. Instead, it was an educational activity area, guided by a host who spoke incomprehensible (to me) Spanish. The attraction was called "CIA - Central de Investigacion Animal".

First, we stood in an entry foyer and watched an introductory movie on large wall screen. Anyone who has visited a Disney park or Universal Studios should be familiar with this concept.

Further inside, a woman took our group of kids from one learning station to the next, teaching them about animals through hands-on activities. The adults stood around the outskirts taking photos. I had no idea what was going on, really, but maybe some of you Spanish speakers can shed some light on the matter after seeing my videos.

What I was paying attention to was the differences between our girls and the other kids in the group. Besides the fact that the others were clean and polished for a day out at the zoo, it was obvious that the other children attended school and understood how education is supposed to "work". They followed instructions and enthusiastically engaged in activities. When the lady asked a question, hands shot up and answers were shouted in response. In such an unfamiliar environment, Tomasa and Paola were completely out of their element and had a difficult time keeping up with their peers. Luckily, the hostess was good at her job and made sure to include our girls by coaxing them into the action. Tomasa soon shed her shyness and awkwardly participated in the activities, but Paola remained bewildered and reluctant throughout the entirety of the "show".

At the the very end, our confused 4-year-old brought unwanted attention upon herself by winning the game of animal bingo. She was rewarded for her victory with a credit card-type thing that was supposed to be exchanged for a prize? I asked Marcela, who told me that the card was meant to be inserted into a special ATM machine. Where and/or how??? As far as I know, Paola still has the card.

Tomasa pretends to be a bird - I never quite understood why

This picture is blurry, but I love the happy look on Paola's face
(note Rosa breastfeeding Maria in the background)

Paola with her prize for winning animal bingo