Both the older groups that we were doing Bible lessons with have outside time. Most of them are in wheelchairs, so it's quite a procession. Everyone gets dressed, hats on, tied into their chairs, and lined up. The ones who can walk push wheelchairs, and their teacher and I run back and forth moving the rest of them forward in fits and spurts. Once we all get outside, we set up in a circle and blow bubbles or toss a ball around, for those who can. Many of them just like to sit and enjoy the sun and wind on their faces. The really active ones play on the wheelchair accessible playground.
There's one girl who is mobile, but I found out that she doesn't get to go outside, because (supposedly) she's a handful. I've made a point of taking her each time "under my responsibility" (can't think of how to say that in English). She hasn't been a problem for me. We hold hands, and the whole way out she happily yells something like, "Tanya too!" to everyone she sees, and I repeat, "Yes, Tanya's going, too!"
Also, I'm afraid I have a favorite among the boys. There's one who can't talk, but that really seems to be his only difficulty. He has kind of made up some very basic sign language for himself, and I'd like to try to teach him more to see if he could learn to communicate. The joys of his life are swimming and organizing the boys' cupboards. Every time we come, he wants to show us how neat everything is. Then he rubs his head, so that we will too, and tell him what a good job he did. He just glows at that.
We almost broke his heart one day recently. He was showing me summer clothes and making swimming motions. Both his teacher and I thought that he was talking about the fact that summer is almost here, and that he could go swimming soon, so we agreed with him. But then we went outside, had a good time playing, and came back in... and that was all. He was so upset! He thought we had meant that would be going swimming that very day. I had only ever seen him as Mr. Sunshine, but that day he sobbed and sobbed. Soon, though. Soon he'll get to go swimming.
And one more little bit about him: I thought he pretty much only made one noise, but on Friday there was a variation in it as we were getting ready to head out, that almost sounded like he was saying that we were going outside!
About someone else: I mentioned a girl who really enjoyed playing with Raia, way back in August, when we went to the summer picnic. She still remembers Raia, and that's pretty much all she and I talk about: "How's Raia?" and "Tell Raia hi from me!" I tell her something about Raia, and then she asks again. And she reminds me to pass on her greetings to Raia. And then again. And again.... Sweet Raia has sent drawings for her a few times now, and that makes her day.
By the way, we're starting to plan this year's summer picnic. I really think it's the highlight of the whole year for most of these kids. They ask about it every week, even now. It will probably be in June, so please be praying about that already.
*Photo stolen from a lovely visitor who was here in the winter. It's much prettier now, with all the flowers blooming, but I don't have any pictures like that of my own.