A wonderful birthday present

By James Johnson at August 27, 2005 20:50
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Today was my 44th birthday. And my parent's 45th anniversary...you do the math. This morning we went to meet with Tia Dora Alicia (Carmina's Aunt) at the Hogar Moraga Orphanage to take some pictures so that I can start hitting you all up for donations of clothing, shoes, sporting goods and other items.

I had previously thought the orphanage was both boys and girls, but Dora Alicia told us it was just girls, ages 6 to 18, some are full-time residents and about a quarter come to the facility during the week as sort of a boarding school. When we arrived, Dora Alicia greeted us and showed us around the facility where the girls sleep and eat and introduced us to a few of the women that work in the kitchen and laundry. She took us to the basketball court - if you could call it that - where the older girls were playing a pick-up game. She gathered them all around and introduced us as I took a few pictures, then the little girls came in ready for their pictures.

Everyone was happy and bubbilng with excitement as to what this tall, heavyset "Americano" and his Salvadoran esposa were going to do.

Tia Dora Alicia and two of the girl's teachers got the girls lined up in a small patio, on either side of a small statue of the Virgin Mary. Everyone posed, giggled, smiled and I snapped a few shots. As soon as I said "finito" I was instantly mobbed by the girls all wanting to see their picture on the camera. The younger girls all started tugging on my shirts asking "otra foto mi". I had to oblige these sweet little girls. As they flocked around me, some started hamming it up for the camera, others using their fingers to make rabbit ears behind their friends, and still others making sure thier hair and their friend's hair and dresses were just right. After each picture, the girls would mob me again wanting to see what they looked like. While I was taking pictures of the little girls, I noticed the older girls had left assuming they had gone back to their basketball game.

All of a sudden I heard singing! Tia Dora Alicia had remembered today was my birthday and had gotten all the girls to give me a present of three celebratory songs...in Spanish of course. I pretended I was wiping sweat, instead of tears, from my eyes.

The majority of these girls are up for adoption. They are well behaved, sweet and very charming. Two sisters are in the process of being adopted to the United States. One little girl in particular really captured mine and Carmina's heart.

Please take a look at the pictures in the gallery titled, "Hogar Moraga Orphanage" and consider helping them out with a donation. They need clothes (girl clothes of course), athletic shoes, hair things (barrettes, clips, scrunchies), little things to make a girl feel pretty and, sporting goods. Their basketball court needs new rims, backboards and nets. I had previously written they could use comptuers and such, but at this time I think the things I just listed will be better used.


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About the author

James James is a five time and current Microsoft MVP in Client App Development, a Telerik Insider, a past Director on the INETA North America Board, a husband and dad, and has been developing software since the early days of Laser Discs and HyperCard stacks. As the Founder and President of the Inland Empire .NET User's Group, he has fondly watched it grow from a twice-a-month, early Saturday morning group of five in 2003, to a robust and rambunctious gathering of all types and sizes of .NET developers.

James loves to dig deep into the latest cutting edge technologies - sometimes with spectacular disasters - and spread the word about the latest and greatest bits, getting people excited about developing web sites and applications on the .NET platform, and using the best tools for the job. He tries to blog as often as he can, but usually gets distracted by EF, LINQ, MVC, ASP, SQL, XML, and most other types of acronyms. To keep calm James plays a mean Djembe and tries to practice his violin. You can follow him on twitter at @latringo.

And as usual, the comments, suggestions, writings and rants are my own, and really shouldn't reflect the opinions of my employer. That is, unless it really does.

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