Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Timmy and Maria playing with some of the children there.

Brian cooking for all the kids.  We cooked a meal for all the kids and staff.  It was a treat for them to have something different!  They have a menu for each day of the week that repeats over and over, as long as they have those supplies.  There is a bit of difficulty with that right now.  They have had a bad drought for a few years, and are lacking the necessary crops.  Also, because of the economy and the dangers in Mexico, they are not getting much support from the Americans, Mexicans or Canadians.

Zachary working in the kitchen.  It was a family effort to prepare, serve and clean up after that many.  Besides the food for that meal we also brought with us supplies that Cruz said were needed after we asked him if there was anything else we could bring.  We brought over 300 lbs of sugar, cooking oil and eggs.

Joshua entertained the kids with balloons while we finished the meal preparations.  Any time we opened the trailer doors the kids came running.  They could hear it open from far away, and they knew there were fun things in there:)  They would get a balloon animal, a toy, or a treat.

Us with Irma.  She is a missionary who is in Charge of the orphanage right now.  Remedios (she was in charge last time) spends time between two orphanages and was actually taking courses at the Bible college the week we were there.  We were still able to see her and she came for lunch with us on our last day.  I remember as a kid that going out for a meal or a movie (remember twice - Gentle Ben and Close encounters of the Third Kind) or going to Edmonton (usually once a year sometime before Christmas) was a big event.  I think Remedios really enjoyed "going out" for dinner but sometimes I think us blessed crowd have lost sight of the enjoyment of the basics as they are not anything special anymore.

This is Kendra's favorite picture.  Maria was pretty popular with the girls and she had a little following going.  All of our kids started playing with the kids and having fun despite the language barrier and cultural differences.  Joshua had a game going where he kept scaring and chasing the girls.  John had all the boys trying to get his hat.  Josh and Matthias got cornered in the trailer one time as they were blowing up balloons for the kids.  It was good to see.  As far as genetic information is concerened all people have over 99% the same information.  It is about 0.2% that makes us "different"!  God knew exactly what he was saying when he said all men are created equal.  We also need to treat all people equally in the way God does.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

We were on our way to Corareachi and were just north of San Juanito (it will be on a map if you are curious).  We were coming from the north going downhill and a big tow truck was coming from the south around a curve.  As you can see by the GPS there were a lot of curves and all up or down!  When we were on the way home and got up to 50 miles per hour one time it honestly felt like 80!
Anyways around the curve comes a big tow truck towing a big truck and we see it down over the edge and then it starts to go over and then a big cloud of dirt and dust and ashphalt and cement guard posts and well I think the guy won't want to pay his towing bill!  I can to a scheeching halt waking up all but Zachary who was awake and rushed to seee if anyone was hurt.  All was OK and we moved enough debris to get by and carried on our way.  Quite thankful we weren't about 3 seconds further down the road as we had a mountain on one side and a pretty steep rocky drop on the other!

Setting up the assembly line of putting backpacks together.  We put everything into organized piles in the Palma's garage.  Then the kids took a backpack with a child's name and age on it and filled it with things from each pile that was age appropriate.  Some backpacks came to us full, and we just added a name and age of a child to them.  Most people donated bags of items, and we filled the backpacks once we were across the borders.
Putting names and ages on the backpacks. 

Zachary loading up the filled backpacks.

Getting to the very end.  We did 130ish backpacks.  Brian knows the exact number.  Maybe he can post that later.

Zoe loved this job.  She was challenging the rest of us.  She wanted to fill more backpacks than anyone else!  That is our competitive girl:)
Hello faithfull followers.  Just a quick update.  We had no internet or phone while we were back in the mountains at Corareachi.  We got back to Cuauhtemoc on friday but the internet wasn't working at Diana's place.  Now we are sitting in the El Paso airport waiting to board a flight to Costa Rica with 8 of our friends from Mexico (and one baby).  When Diana (our first Mexican exchange student) and Ricky got married their gift was a promise of two plane tickets to come back to Canada whenever they wanted.  When Carlos (Diana's brother who also spent time with us) and Arena got married we gave them the same gift.  Since then it has become expensive and difficult for Mexican's to get Visas and travel to Canada.  We had some air miles saved up and decided it was easier and less costly to take them to Costa Rica so here we are!  Once we have more time we will post pictures and stories of our time in Corareachi and Samachici.


Friday, 10 February 2012

Little update to the border crossing as I didn't understand everything that was being said at the time (as in I understood almost nothing!).    When we crossed the border into Mexico they could have put me in jail for paperwork that was a mistake from 2008 (they didn’t have a record of our van leaving the country so they think I sold it in Mexico which is illegal).  It was 6 ½ hours later but they let us go through to Mexico.  The one person that could give us permission said that it was not humanly possible for us to go through because “the law was the law”.  To make a long story short the approval was given and all the credit was given to God.  The person was crying because she was afraid she may lose her job (one of her coworkers told she would) but my friend from Mexico told her that God would bless her for her help.  As we finished talking we found out she was soon to be married and hadn’t wanted to be married in a church.  Now she is thinking she will and wants to know this God who can open borders!!  To God be the glory!

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Most interesting border crossing so far!  We went to the border about 1:00.  We got our immigration papers with no problem and then we had to get "permission" for the truck and trailer.  Thats when we found out that in 2008 when we went home the van and the trailer were never enetered in their system as having left the country again.  The reason for this is that in recent history it had become less expensive to buy a good used vehicle in the US and take it to Mexico and sell it.  It was killing the Mexican automobile business and in order to protect their own economy (forget fair trade) they implimented a system where you have to give them a bunch of money when you enter with a vehicle and then give you back about 1/2 when you leave the country again.  Because the van and trailer were in the system as having stayed in the country I was not allowed to take another vehicle in and the could have actually detained me.  They knew the trailer had left the country because it was now going back in but the only way they would accept that I hadn't sold the van in Mexico was to bring the van to the border!  The option they presented was for Kendra to get the permission for the truck and trailer.  New problem - truck registered in my name and trailer registered in the company name (I had a letter of permission signed by Boyd to use the company trailer so it would have been OK if I would have been able to get the permission).  Because the truck was in my name then I had to prove Kendra was my spouse before they would give her permission.  As for the trailer I just redid the letter with Kendra's name on it instead of mine and instaed of Boyd's signature I signed it so the trailer wasn't a problem anymore.  Now you would think that it wouldn't be a big deal to prove we were married.  Guess again!  First they asked for her birth certificate.  Found an electronic copy but then they wanted a birth certificate of one of the kids or a marriage certificate.  Called home and Adelbert and Tabitha found a copy of Zac's birth certificate in his photo album and a couple of letters from lawyers giving Kendra permission to travel with the kids (from previous trips when we didn't go in the same vehicle or when I was working and couldn't take off as much time).  Scanned, emailed and then printed out on our end.  Not good enough - only a marriage certificate would do.  We tried to explain that we didn't even know if we had gotten one and that they were not an important piece of identification in Canada like they are in Mexico.  Asked if we could prove the van was still registered in Alberta if that would be OK and they said no.  I have to phone some government department in Mexico City to "clear my name".  They said it would take at least 1 month for that process.  Our friends tried making some phone calls to their friends in high places but it was sunday afternoon and we didn't get to the right person.  Finally Babara (aka Babby) talked to her and told her our whole life story and they finally let us go through (still took about 45 minutes after they agreed to let us go to get the rest of the paperwork done).  All together it was about 6 1/2 hours at the border but God is good and we did go through in the end.  No need to question why or to get frustrated like so many people do with so many things in life.

PS  The picture is my portable "office" set up in the border crossing building!

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Ran into a few troubles.  We got to Yuma wednesday night.  Talked to Dave Bunnin next morning but we got our signals crossed and he was camping 3 hours away from Yuma.  Had a chat and will keep in touch but no visit this trip.  Also had talked to my cousin Frank wednesday night about possibly visisting on Thursday.  So the plan was to leave the hotel on Thursday morning, go to Algodones (about 10 miles away in Mexico) and get new glasses for Kendra and I and then go back and get together with my cousin Frank and his wife Colleen.  That plan didn't work so well.  Jon started the truck up and backed the trailer into a stall and unhooked it.  He then parked the truck while we (by we I mean the girls) finished getting ready to go.  He went to start the truck again and it would turn over but wouldn't start.  Tracked it down to the fuel pump.  I was going to get it replaced in Mexico (where it would have cost way less) because it was getting noisy which is a sign it is getting near  the end.  Called AAA for a tow and called cousin Frank for a recomendation of a garage.  Well before I know it Frank and Colleen have come to the motel, follow me over to the garage and get the repairs underway, go back and pick up our 4 older boys and then we go back to their place and they take the boys and give me the keys to their SUV!!  Kendra and I and the 3 youngest went to Algodonas and had our eyes checked and picked out our glasses.  We ended up a bit too late for them to be made today so we have to pick them up tomorrow.  We went back to Frank and Colleens and took pizzas and supper with them.  They let us keep their vehicle to get back to the motel.  Now go to friday morning.  Go over to Frank and Colleen's in time to give them back their vehicle before Colleen's hair appointment and it ends up that they had borrowed a neighbors car and they took the 3 youngsters for the day and I kept their SUV and Kendra and I and the 4 older boys went back to Algodones and got our glasses. Mine were $130 for progressives and Kendra got a regular pair, a pair of prescription sunglasses and new lenses in her old frames (all lens' polycarbonate, UV protected and scratch resistant) for $210.  The whole town is Doctors, dentists, optomotrists and pharmacies and there is 1000's of Americans that cross every day for the better prices.  We got back to Yuma jsut after the truck was finished and got the trailer hooked up and went back over to Frank and Colleen's.  I think they really did have fun looking after our kids and our kids for sure had a lot of fun!!  If you guys are reading this thanks again for taking care of us!!!

Now an explanation of the 2 pictures.  Zachary had taken some luggage out to the trailer, unlocked it and set  the keys on the shelf inside and finshed off what he was doing by locking the keys inside the trailer.  This is what we ended up doing.  We popped out two of the clearance lights (one to let sunshine in), used the girls hair elastics to attach a fork (with bent tines to make a hook) to the end of the broom handle and put that through the hole for the clearance light and hooked the keys and pulled them out!

We won't soon forget Yuma!!  Just got into El Paso this afternoon and will cross into Mexico tomorrow!

Mr. Incredible and Captain Hook

Our princesses and Tinkerbell

Can you tell that princess Maria liked driving a little race car?  She was a crazy little girl!

Timmy is playing Goofy's piano.  He did not want to leave Goofy's house!  He was staying until Goofy got home and he was going to ask him if he could have a sleepover with him:)  I finally convinced him to leave by telling him we should go over to Mickey's house and see if Goofy was over there visiting.  He said no probably he was at Minnie's or Daisy's having some food.  He already has it figured out that men need women if they want to eat:)


Done at Disneyland :(  We had a few sleepers before we left the parks.

Just before leaving Disneyland

Jon with played out Timmy
Jon is finished too!

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Day 3 at Disney.  Having a character breakfast:)  Kids loved having the different characters come visit them at their tables.  Maria also joined in all the dances and activities on stage.

Joshua and Stitch.  Stitch was pestery just like Josh:)

Jonathan and Pluto

A Disney park Police Car.  It made us all smile!

Timmy and Pinnochio

Timmy and Eeyore - He loved meeting characters and getting signatures.

Thoughtful girls:)

Tigger and Timmy Tiger!

The girls trying to decide where on the map they wanted to go next:)

Matthias in front of Disneyland Park