Holidays are both joyous and stressful, as we immerse ourselves in all of the planning and preparations for the events of family and religious gatherings, the actual meaning of what we're all planning for can easily be lost. While we recognize that our children are not able to be with their individual birth families to celebrate Easter, we strive to create the most family-like atmosphere possible for our kids. We do this with lots of staff and volunteer participation in preparing a variety of activities that encompass both cultural and religious traditions as well as a bit of international flare, and times to both seriously contemplate the meaning of this season as well as celebrate the joy that we find in the reality of Easter.
We began the celebrations with an Easter egg hunt that involved everyone from CDP and PDC. This was really more of a Children's Day egg hunt than an Easter egg hunt, as this was our big fun outing for all the kids to celebrate their special day. The whole crew, which now requires two van trips, went to Tiquipaya to spend the day out at the country home of the hospitable Smith-Firestone family. Tia Kimber hid all 118 eggs and the girls rushed to every corner of the yard to find them. Inside each egg, there was a surprise which included chocolate and various prizes. The girls had so much fun as they were looking for all of the eggs. Then the girls helped hide the eggs for the little ones at PDC; it was so hard for them to not go running to tell PDC kids where all the eggs were hidden!
Above Left: The girls are listening intently to Kimber. Hmm..is she giving us any clues in these instructions?
Above Right: Bryssa and brother Bemabe happy to be sharing in the fun day together.
Above Left: Looking in every possible spot, the girls are hoping to have success in finding these hidden eggs.
Above Right: With having found her eggs, Karina is seeing what exactly is inside.
Above Left: Paty and Cynthia are deciding what to trade with each other.
Above Right: Karina and some of the girls are trying to find what would be a good prize for their efforts!
They looked in every place to find those eggs! Their eggs were also filled with surprises which included stickers, sweets and popcorn. After hunting for all of the eggs, they quickly devoured their sweets and popcorn.
Above Left: Waiting for the fun to begin, Marcos and Victoria sit in the arms of staff member Sarah. What love!
Above Right: Cynthia from Corazon del Pastor, helping Miguel count his found eggs!
Above Left: Marcos has found some eggs, but exactly how many?
Above Right: Zaquiel eating his popcorn inside one of the eggs.
Above Left: Alarico with his goody bag!
Above Right: Victoria, Lily, and Lucas seeing how many eggs they have found.
We then enjoyed just being out in the countryside, with the children commenting on the beautiful flowers, and of course the younger ones being very excited at all the cows and sheep that we passed by on the way home. What a fun day!
Another way the girls celebrated Easter was through having a Seder meal, which has become a Maundy Thursday tradition at CDP. With its roots in the Jewish faith, the Seder meal is a way to remember the Passover, the meal that Jesus observed with his disciples before the crucifixion. With tables and chairs pushed to the walls and white sheets placed on the floor, the dining room was transformed from a room where the girls come and go to a sacred space where this ritual is observed. Along with the haggadah, the scripted telling of the Passover story, the girls listened intently to various bible passages and discussed the verses amongst themselves. They washed the hands of the girl next to them as a gesture of humility. They tasted matzoh and drank grape juice and gained a deeper understanding behind the meaning of these elements. The girls enjoyed this other form of worship.
Above Left: Valeria, reading from the Bible about the Passover.
Above Right: Alandra and Karina listening to some of the Bible readings.
Above Left: Paty and Cynthia washing each other's hands.
Above Right: Mariela and Vanesa taking their turn in washing each other's hands.
On Good Friday, there was a mix of fun and reflection as the beginning of the day brought an outing to a local swimming spot for all the kids, where they not only enjoyed the pools, but there was tons of space to play all sorts of games and just enjoy being outside on such a lovely day. In the evening, things became more somber as they reenacted the Stations of the Cross and were able to reflect upon the immensity of the sacrifice being offered.
Above Left: The centurions walking Christ to his death.
Above Right: Evelyn, Adriana and Paty, the sombre centurions.
Above: Jhoselin representing Christ on the crucifix.
Above: No caption needed.
The girls headed to their respective churches to celebrate Resurrection Sunday and enjoyed this special time that allowed them to complete the Easter experience- from somber reflection and grief to the joy and celebration that comes with redemption and new life.