Saturday, February 27, 2010

Maria's Quinceañera

Today we celebrated the special birthday of a very special girl - Maria Floridalma celebrated her Quinceañera, her 15th birthday party, which in Latin American cultures, signifies the transition from childhood to becoming a young lady. Thanks to her sponsors, Maria got a new dress and shoes. She was the guest of honor at a big party and lunch, attended by everyone at Casa Shalom, including her younger brother Brayan and her older brother Cesar. Also in attendance was their father, who traveled 8 hours from the northern Quiche region of Guatemala.
The party was held at the outdoor pavilion on Casa Shalom's property.

The birthday girl, Maria Floridalma Ixquiactap Tambriz.

Maria was escorted to the ceremony by her good friend Alejandro.

Cesar Gonzalez, the president of Casa Shalom's board, preached at Maria's ceremony.

Maria enjoyed saying a few words

Cesar and Maria's father said a prayer over her.

Maria's brothers also spoke

All of Maria's house sisters

The birthday girl!

Maria with her father and brothers Cesar and Brayan.

Maria and Brayan.

From left: Edwin, Abraham, Maria, Edwin, Karen and Wilson.

Santos manned the grill at the party - roasted chicken!

Karen and Flora helped Linda and Abby with their lunch.

A tradition at Guatemalan birthday parties is the birthday boy or girl putting their face in the cake!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Henry, Jorge, Alfonso and Julio take a moment to grin for the camera. The boys are snacking on limes - Guatemalan limes aren't nearly as sour as North American limes, and the kids love to eat them like oranges!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

New directors

A big announcement from Casa Shalom - we have a new set of directors - Walter and Jennifer Rios de Jacobo! Walter and Jenny have worked at Casa Shalom in many capacities for several years. They have served as house parents for the teen boys, social workers for the orphanage, executive secretary and accountant. They have 2 children of their own - little Waltercito, 3, and baby Jennifer Denise, 3 months.
Walter and Jenny have the experience and preparation needed to run the home - and best of all, the love Casa Shalom and Casa Shalom's kids with all they have. They have given of themselves for years, and they have some great ideas for Casa Shalom's future. Please keep Walter and Jenny in your prayers as they transition into this difficult but rewarding position!

Friday, February 19, 2010

New gym equiptment!

Thanks to a donation from the New Life Church in Deerfield Beach, Florida, the kids of Colegio Shalom have some brand-new equipment for their gym class. The church's donation allowed us to purchase 8 basketballs and 10 soccer balls for the school. To show their appreciation, the kids gathered to take a few photos with the new balls.

The 4th graders with the new balls and 2 signs expressing their appreciation.

The first and second graders.

7th grade

Friday, February 12, 2010

Edgar Giovanni

Meet Casa Shalom's newest child: Edgar Giovanni (who goes by Giovanni) is ten-years-old and arrived at Casa Shalom this week. He comes from another orphanage, where he stayed only briefly. When Giovanni was a small boy, his sister was murdered in front of him. Soon after, his mother left him with some family friends who were supposed to care for him when she went to work in another country. Instead of caring for him, the family instead used Giovanni for free labor, making him do manual labor and physically abusing him. He was denied the care offered to the family's biological children. When this was discovered a few months ago, he was taken to a local orphanage, but it was decided that Casa Shalom would be a better fit for Giovanni.
Giovanni has already started school, and despite his lack of formal education, he can read and write and is a very bright boy. He has been placed in the fourth grade and has jumped right into his classes. He is living with the Rayos house and is fitting in well with his house brothers. We told Giovanni about the sponsorship program, and he is excited about the idea of having a sponsor. If you are interested in sponsoring Giovanni and sharing your life with him through emails, letters and photos, please contact us at

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Yefri Antonio likes to spend time after school playing with his house brothers and blowing bubbles.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Little drummer boy...and girl!

During church on Sunday, Martin was drumming during praise and worship when little Abby decided that she wanted to play too! She toddled up to the stage, climbed the stairs, and started playing away!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Flower power

Casa Shalom recently got a face lift thanks to volunteers Bob and Georgette. They, along with volunteer Alicia, planted a brand-new flower garden by Casa Shalom's soccer field.
**A special thanks to volunteers Temi and Jerry for purchasing the flowers and for helping to plant them**

Bob the planter

Sarai takes a minute to smell the flowers

Alicia and her helpers Cesar and Yefri Antonio water the new plants

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Clean up day

Today, everyone at Casa Shalom pitched in to make the home a little better. The kids and staff scrubbed, raked, picked up garbage and painted! Enjoy the photos from our clean-up day!

Little Waltercito pitched in and scrubbed cafeteria chairs

The girls removed all the chairs from the gym and cleaned them

Cesar and Alex dusted the musical instruments

The teen boys collected and hauled away scrap metal and trash

Santos and Clemente hauled rocks (Carlos and Hector were supervision!)

Sarai and Evelyn scrubbed the toddlers church chairs





Cesar helped haul materials to use in painting

Walter worked hard and Alejandro make sure he was doing it right!