domingo, 27 de mayo de 2012


Yesterday happened to be one of my favorite days here in Guatemala I think so far.  There were laughs, tears, danger, love, and hot chocolate.
But I'll back up a minute first.
This past week a really sweet and awesome guatemalteca volunteer graduated from university with a degree in social work.  On Thursday 8 of us made the trip to the capital to see her graduate and it was unlike any other I've been to.  She was the only one graduating so it was very individualized.  She presented a bit of her thesis and made a speech at the end.  Her professors talked about her work and success.  Her family was so proud and it really was a beautiful ceremony.

Then yesterday 9 of us went to her house to have lunch and celebrate.  It was so cool to see a different part of Guatemala.  The family was really nice, especially her mom and grandmother, and we just felt so welcomed in.  What really got me were the speeches.  Karla and her mom just talked about how much the other meant and it was so touching.  It was beautiful and made me tear up.  After that all I wanted to do was to tell my mom how much I love her and how incredible I think she is. (hey mom! I love you and I think you are incredible!).  As the afternoon was getting later, we volunteers started getting antsy.  Taking the buses back to NPH would take 3-4 hours and we didn't want to be traveling in the dark.  But then there was cake, and gifts, and the time kept passing.  As we were stepping out the door, giving our last hugs and goodbyes, a too-generous-couple offered to drive us, all 9 of us, part of the way.  The only thing was that it was a pick-up truck, and its rainy season.  We're young, we don't care, we'd really appreciate it!  we all said as we climbed in and packed ourselves like sardines.
Faster than 60 mph, about 2 hours, holding on for dear life on the turns, pondering the landscapes when it was clear, laughing huddled under our jackets when it rained, it might have been my favorite traveling experience ever.  The too-generous-couple decided to just keep going and they brought us all the way home.
Refusing to accept gas money, the couple waved goodbye and we headed to our houses, ready to change into warm dry clothes and thinking about the great time we had and the wonderful people we met.
And then the perfect day drew to a close sipping hot chocolate, watching the sound of music cuddled under blankets, and being with good friends. 

My kids continue being their sweet, mischevious, wonderful selves.  Today I'm hoping to find a cheap chess set because one of my boys from my section really likes playing and I've been craving it for a while.  The other day I have a family project with a sweet family.  One of the three has special needs, so it was really cool to see how the siblings interacted and I could tell they really loved and took care of each other.  Walking to and from Parramos, they hardly ever were not arm in arm.

Gustavo, Saida, and Lupe

So, overall I've really been failing with this whole taking pictures thing...  I'll try to get better, but I did manage to add this one this past week

That is one unhappy tortilla

domingo, 13 de mayo de 2012

Mother Nature's Son

So things have settled down since all the craziness of April.  Instead of going through big events (and I apologize for the horrible haikus but I had little other choice...) or go through everyday stuff, I thought I'd just share some good moments.

So, my heart melted in music class one day.  Leo, who I'm just crazy about, has cerebral palsey, uses a wheel chair, and has a great sense of humor.  Anyway, we were all dancing in music class and everyone is kind of dancing to their own groove.  Lupe, another great kid, was dancing away and Leo smoothly turns toward her and extends his hand like his gentleman self and she accepts.  They dance together and it definitely warmed my heart.

me and Lupe

Another day, I was working with a couple girls with especial needs and language.  They both need an easy pace, but especially one seems to have a hard time grasping school stuff.  We were trying to find words that began with the letter "n" and she showed me a word that started with the letter "m", but before I could say anything she runs up to the board and points to the letter "m" I had written along with other letters.  Then I asked her what sound it makes and she made the "mmm" sound (she's nonverbal).  That was so exciting!  Many times, answers to questions turn into lots of guessing, but in this moment she was confident and knew it!

Carlitos en school

One day with my workshop with all the kids with disabilities and their tios, we used a huge parachute for our physical/exercise activity.  We did an activity where one person sits in the middle and everyone walks in a circle, wrapping up the person in the middle with the parachute.  When the person is pretty wrapped up, everyone pulls and runs in the other direction, making the middle person spin out.  The kids loved it and all wanted a turn, but what really got my attention is that the tios and tias were laughing and having a good time too.  The caregivers have a hard job, and I feel like if they can have fun and enjoy what they're doing, the kids are going to keep having fun and my workshop won't just be extra work.  It was encouraging :)

And just for the record, I have the most amazing mom in the world.  I love you!!  And to all of you who are mothers, power to you, must be the hardest job in the world.