Friday, August 14, 2009

Hermana Nelida

Hermana Nelida, one of the women who had worked at Alalay for 10 years as a live in mother, died of a heart attack yesterday morning. She had 5 children of her own yet she gave so much love and care to the kids of Alalay. As part of her job she would spend three days living at the orphanage and then three days living at her own home. Those who knew her best were devastated yesterday when they found out.

The first time I met Hermana Nelida was in a park when she came to rescue me from one of the kids. Hermana Reisa and I had brought the kids to the park to play for the morning. As lunch time rolled around we told the kids that it was time to stop playing and go home. Everyone reluctantly agreed, except little Jon. A few minutes before one of the girls had thrown sand at John and so he shut down and went into one of his temper tantrums. He refused to come with us so I told Reisa to take the rest of the kids home and I would cajole John out from under the play equipment.

Forty-five minutes later I was hungry, a little crabby, and still sitting with Jon. I had tried everything I could think of. Sweet Kari, mean Kari, amiga Kari, pretending to walk away and leave him alone, luring him out with candy, trying to chase him down. Nothing worked.

Finally, Hermana Nelida came walking into the park looking for us. When she saw Jon under the play equipment she simply said a few comforting words and Jon was back to his old giggly happy self again. She took his hand and we walked back home again. The whole way she kept telling John how worried she was about him and how when we got back to the house she would reprimand the other girls. In my stunned state all I could do was mouth a silent thanks to her.

The kids loved her and she was a great teacher and mom. Today I will head back to Alalay for the morning to spend few more hours with the girls. I didn´t think it was right that they lose two hermanas on the same day.

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