We got back to Sharon's, and it was time to jump into the fray! The place was teeming with families waiting to receive toys, clothes, and shoes.
The shoe station was a place of joy and heartache. I had the opportunity to help distribute shoes the last time I was down in Guatemala and wrote about it earlier this year. Like last time, there simply were not enough shoes to fit all the people who wanted them. And everyone wanted them.
We had lots of tiny shoes for babies, but the middle sized shoes flew off the table as fast as we were able to find them. Oftentimes, we tried in vain to find the right shoe. Size was all that mattered. There were snow boots (how useful would those be in Guatemala?), flip flops, sneakers, fancy shoes in various states, from new to well-used. Boys vs. girls didn't matter as much, either. Given the state of many of the children's current shoes, anything that fit was a step up.
It was cause for a minor celebration each time we could make a good match.
Every once in a while, I looked up at the mountains around us to see the unbelievable beauty of the land.
Of course, there was overwhelming beauty in the people and their dress. The girl on the left was stunning with her green eyes and brown hair. There were only a few people I saw down there who did not have brown eyes and black hair, so they really stood out.
Here was one of the Mayan Families staff boys who helped us. I believe he is a sponsored student, as well. Some of the kids who work there receive salaries donated by their sponsors. Others volunteer with Sharon in gratitude for the help their families receive.
We couldn't always communicate that well in words with them. My Spanish is not that great. But we could always find a way to work really well together. Often, the US volunteers would help the children and mothers find clothes and shoes, and the staff kids would mark their hands to show who had already gotten their items.
The children had a lot of fun searching through the huge cardboard boxes filled with stuffed animals.
Here's Tricia with some of the women on line to go into the Mayan Families office to meet with a case worker.
Some grateful recipients of clothes.
It was a long day. We wrapped up around nightfall and then went back to our hotels.
Then many of the group met for dinner at El Bistro on Calle Santander. I had been very hungry for a while, since I hadn't eaten much of the chuchitos at lunch. But every time I felt a pang of hunger, I thought about the people here who often have to go much longer between each meal. I was very grateful for the meal at El Bistro.
After dinner, Michael and I got some bottle water at a tienda and then just crashed.