Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Day 3

If yesterday was all about chickens, then today was all about avocados. Let me tell you why....

We were very fortunate to visit Tierra Linda today, and I absolutely fell in love with this community. It sits on the mountainside, above Panajachel, and most families climb the dirt pathway to travel to and from. We drove with Sharon and Dwight in their pick-up truck up lots of windy paved roads and then over bumpy dirt ones. It was well worth the trip!

As we walked down the dirt road to visit the new school built by the supporters of Mayan Families, Sharon pointed out a beautiful tree... an avocado tree. Honestly, in all of my years of eating copious amounts of avocados, I hadn't really considered how they were grown. I guess I thought they were a vine fruit, because - when I saw an actual tree, dripping with ripening avocados - I experienced both shock and awe. First thought that came to mind was how I might be able to bring that tree home to Captain Circle. But I digress...

The Tierra Linda school is fabulous. The children are incredibly excited to attend school, and the teachers we met were dedicated and caring. If only they had all the tools that they needed. This community is so friendly and the children exude so much joy... it really is a pleasure to be an observer here. I couldn't help but think about episodes of Little House on the Prairie as we walked the street from the school to the community center. Tierra Linda, to me, felt quite a lot like Walnut Grove. I loved watching the children walk home from school and stop along the way to giggle with friends or catch a ride on the back of a passing truck. It seems so primitive to this mom, who drives her kids to and from the bus stop each day, to consider the freedoms that the children here experience, yet it all feels so safe and comfortable. Just like Walnut Grove...

The Tierra Linda Community Center is yet another building made possible by supporters of Mayan Families. The group Conexiones, from Canada, was working with the pre-school children in this great building, while an irrigation expert consulted with the local farmers on a new contraption, essentially consisting of a bagged water supply and tubing, which could be used to ensure maximum harvest. It's yet another example of what I love about Mayan Families; they are teaching people how to help themselves and how to earn a living wage.

In our short time here, we've met so many people who have fallen in love with the Maya and have made significant commitments to giving back to this community. Stan and Dave and their group support Tierra Linda, and Louise is working in Chuk Muk, and Connie is raising funds AND recruiting volunteers. In my few spare moments, I've already begun to think about what my contribution might be. It's an entirely spontaneous reaction, and I doubt that anyone who has visited hasn't felt the same way.

So, let me tell you about the highlight of my day...

As we entered the grounds of the Community Center, I spotted Florinda Ben Ben. Our church has sponsored Florinda for the past three years, and I had hoped to meet her while in Pana. Yet another wish come true for me. Not only did I meet Florinda, but I was able to visit her house and meet her family.

Susie and Julio accompanied me on the walk up and down a narrow mountain path to reach their home, and they reminded me how much more difficult the walk would be in the rainy season. As we approached the house, Florinda's mama, Juana, approached with a beaming smile. She is a warm and lovely woman and she was anxious to show me how much they loved the gifts that the church had purchased for them over the years: an Onil stove, a bed, and a wardrobe. The children kindly allowed us to take pictures, and I tried my best to photodocument as much as I could so that I could share my journey with the kids back home in our Sunday School program. The visit was incredibly special, and - as we were about to leave - a beautiful thing happened....

Juana presented me with a gift of thanks for all that TCC has done for her family. And what might that gift have been, you ask? Well, it just happened to be my most favorite thing... a great big bag of avocados! I was so touched and so honored and so thankful that I began to cry, and Juana and I embraced yet again. It was one of those moments when you realize that God put you together for a reason. In our family, that happens quite a lot. And so, yesterday was chickens and today was avocados and I can hardly wait to see what tomorrow will bring.

I am blessed beyond words to be having this experience, and I am treasuring every moment.

Buenas Noches,

Solamente Beth


  1. Are you out to make me cry every day, Beth?? Wonderful!!

  2. Beth,
    I am absolutely loving reading your posts. Because you paint the picture so beautifully with your words, I feel the emotions so strongly - almost like I am there. Nicely done. I love that you visited Florinda's home and family. As I was reading it, I looked over to her picture which sits next to Azael on the filing cabinet. What a wonderful experience for you. Thank you for making it ours too.

  3. Catching up with your journey over these last couple of days... especially moved by the way in which you are receiving the gifts of those around you. Your open heart is truly its own gift.