Friday, February 19, 2010

February Birthday Celebrations

I work in the same office as the Padrinos department at NPH Guatemala (the department that organizes all the people around the world who act as "godparents" to the kids here), and after a few weeks on the job, I overheard that every month they host a birthday celebration for the kids at the mall in nearby Chimaltenango. Fun! I want to go!

So, I decided that the NPH Guatemala website definitely needed a story about these outings, which meant I needed to invite myself along one month. Woohoo! Being the Home Correspondent is starting to reveal its many extra perks. :)

Last night was the February birthday celebration, so off we went!

For the kids, it's practically a day-long event. Every child that has a birthday in February stopped by the Padrinos office during the morning to receive their bag of goodies (candy, cookies, popcorn, juice, chips -- actually not too shabby) and their birthday money! Yep, money.

Birthday bags of goodies!

Being a padrino, or godparent, involves a monthly donation, and part of this goes to a pool of birthday money. Each child receives a little bit of money for their birthday, and the amount increases the older they get. Giving them their own cash is meant to teach some responsibility in spending and saving money. Some kids actually save a little bit, but I think most spend it all right away. In Guatemala or in any other country, kids will be kids. :)

So then, during the afternoon of the b-day day, all the kids headed off to the mall in Chimaltenango with a few chaperones so they could shop to their little hearts' content. Yesterday's purchases included: candy and snacks by all; new shirts and new shoes by the girls; and sunglasses, jeans, and hair gel (even the youngest ones just had to get some hair gel) for the boys.

Yonder and Cesar with Cesar's newly-purchased sunglasses.

Afterwards, everyone met up in the food court for one of the most exciting dinners ever -- McDonald's haha. We (yes, I got a free meal out of this too!) gorged ourselves on chicken sandwiches, fries, sodas, cake, and ice cream. Yum.

Fredy and Anita chowing down on their McDonald's. Fredy's chicken sandwich was practically as big as his head, so someone had to help him hold on to it while eating.

The group at the Pradera (mall) food court.

Birthday cake for February birthdays!

And a little playing in the arcade after dinner.

I know it doesn't sound like much, but for the kids, it's a big deal. Chimaltenango is a 20-minute bus ride away, and it's usually rare for them to even leave the campus of NPH. An evening for them in Chimaltenango is like a weeklong island vacation for us. I was super excited I got to tag along, and it was another chance to realize: they do a really good job here at NPH Guatemala of making kids feel like just that -- normal kids. :)

No comments:

Post a Comment