Monday, March 22, 2010

Day 2

Today was our first full day in Guatemala, and it was incredible. How is it possible that I already feel at home here? The people we've met have become fast friends, and it's no wonder. We are like-minded souls who feel a true calling to the work that we do. Now this is what I call a team sport.

If I do say so myself, I'm communicating quite well "en espanol." From the archives of my High School Spanish class memory, I'm retrieving nowns and verbs that I thought I'd never recall. And, better yet, I'm practically speaking in complete sentences... with properly conjugated verbs, nonetheless. When I get home, be sure to ask me how to say "How much do four of these cost?"

Today, we visited the Sunday marketplace in Chichi and it was an experience I'll never forget. David stuck out like a sore thumb as a tall gringo amidst the shorter statured Maya, and that made him quite the magnet for salespeople. I'm guessing the youngest seller was about 5 years old with the average age probably ranging from 8-10. It was hard to not buy something from everyone. That said, I think David did actually do so. If you are in the market for chicken potholders, he's your man.
After Chichi, we returned to Pana and visited the Mayan Families headquarters for the very first time. I finally was able to see the place where our boxes are delivered. I can only imagine how I'll feel the next time a Medrano Express truck pulls away from Captain Circle, because I now have the full picture of their ultimate destination. And today, not only did I see it, but I was blessed with the experience of distributing some of those donations. The level of gratitude expressed by the warm people I met today is as genuine and true as it ever gets. I felt it... inside and out.
And how can you top a day like today? It's hard to do, but I'll tell you how in just one word.... chickens!!! I can't quite explain why passing out live chicks makes me jump for joy, but it does... it really, really does. I've been excited about it for the past two weeks, when I learned it was on the MF agenda during our visit, and it lived up to my expectations, and more. We provided 20 families with 10 chicks each and a bag of chicken food to keep them healthy. The women brought baskets and boxes and bags with which to carry their chicks home, and it was a sight to behold. Many women walked away with their containers of chicks balancing on their heads. Still haven't quite figured out how they do that, but I'm compiling a list of things I've seen on heads and chicks and bundles of firewood are in the running for most challenging and interesting.
We ended our time at Mayan Families today meeting with Sharon, one of the co-founders. She, my friends, is remarkable. She is everything that a good non-profit needs, and more. I loved watching her with the children, ensuring that everyone got what they needed and that the big brother of a newborn baby had a few things to bring home to his new sister. I loved watching her bathe a week old kitten with a cloth and warm water as we were discussing our plans for the week... and how she checked the temperature of the kitten formula with her pinky finger to make sure that it was just right. It is that same level of love and warmth and kindness and respect for all things that makes Mayan Families so special to this community and to so many of us who support it from across the miles. I am simply in awe.
Tomorrow, we hope to visit Tierra Linda, and it is quite possible that I will be able to meet Florinda Ben Ben, the 10 year old girl sponsored by our church. We spent some time this evening sorting donations and preparing to deliver them tomorrow. Lots of wonderful things to share, thanks to the generosity of our family and friends.
Hasta manana,
Solamente Beth


  1. You didn't disappoint, Beth! Sounds like a wonderful day!! Post some more pix if you get a chance...

  2. Me again :)

    I was thinking in the shower this morning about the chickens....I have been asking for over a year if the family we sponsor would want and/or could handle chickens and haven't gotten an answer. We sponsor one of their kids to go to school, but also send money monthly for food too. I know it's not enough to cover all their food expenses, but I don't think we can afford to send more monthly. That said, I thought chickens (as a one time expense for us) would be a good longer term solution to their nutritional deficits. It is the Mucun family, student #840. If you get a chance, could you speak to Sharon about it? I hate to give you one more thing to do while you're there, so don't worry about it if you don't get to it. Thanks a million!! Kris

  3. Awesome update, Beth! Sounds like an incredible day! Praying for you all.