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The Brothers Varela (Which kind of sounds like a virus to me; varela-varicela, I don't know, it makes sense in my mind.)

Good Morning, at least it’s morning here, quite early in fact. I’ve been hit with the desire to introduce you all to the Varela family – the boys of the family actually. I’ve been meaning to do this for some time in that I find them so captivating and frustrating all at once, but as is my wont, I get distracted and busy and grand exposés get pushed to the side in favor quick photos with snappy captions. Anyway, I've got the time this morning and the gumption so let me start by saying, I really like these kids. I suppose that's a given, I like nearly all of the kids in this community, but there is something special about these boys, the way they look out for each other, raise each other, act the man of the house when necessary. I don't know, it makes me smile.
In all, including the 2 girls, they are 8 - they know of their father as he sometimes visits but he lives 3 hours away and for all intents and purposes doesn't exist. Their mother is Marta who is an wonderful lady, loves making me coffee and dotes on me as much as she can. But she is one person raising 8 children, so very often the bathing, dressing, bringing home income and reprimanding the little ones falls to the older kids. They live in a tight, 2 room home and sleep on 2 beds; all of their worldly possessions can fit into about 4 cardboard boxes. All of this living the way they do, practically on top of each other, raising each other, it lends itself to serious solidarity. They are fiercely loyal to each other, if one is angry with me they all invariably snub me; if I do good by one of them they fall all over me. They are brothers in the truest sense of the word.

the oldest boy is carlos, here holding mateo josue.
carlos is 14, an excellent soccer player and one my favorite kids in the community.
mateo josue is...well...a baby.
kevin is 10, a great soccer player as well and eternally angry.
it stems more i think from jealousy and i've taken to ignoring him when he acts that way, which seem to work.

elvin is 8 and on-again-off-again with me but perpetually on with konrad. elvin does perhaps the best job at taking care of the kids younger than him in that he does more than just provide and care for, he plays with and entertains them as well.

elwin is 6 and is simply aloof from everything that goes on in the family. he often wanders off and plays for hours in the hinter regions of the community with obscure children that i barely know. he's always filthy and always sick or hurt; the other day at the soccer game he sat down in the middle of a rain-filled street and began playing with the dirty rain water and mud.

darwin is 2 and insane. he likes to play with dirt and rocks in the middle of the street and refuses to wear clothes. oh, and he already knows a slew of curse words.


Anonymous said…
Great post, Mateo. I have noticed these guys show up in a lot of your pictures, but didn't realize they were all related. What precious relationships you are building! Can't wait to get down there and get started with my own. The process is moving along nicely! Should be down there by August of 2011.

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