Monday, December 29, 2008

The Rest of Monday, December 8

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday celebration! It's hard to get back into the swing of things, but at least my office is closed this week, so I can ease back gradually...AND finally finish the account of our trip to Guatemala earlier this month!

So where were we? Ah yes, it was that first Monday, right after I had met the Cumpar family. When they arrived at Sharon's at about 10 or 11am, Michael was at the vet clinic (which he will describe on his own), and Tricia was at the San Jorge pre-school party. So I asked the Cumpars if they could wait until both of them got there.

I went back into town with Anna to help organize sandwiches for the volunteers, and on the way I stopped by the vet clinic to let Michael know that the Cumpars had arrived. To say they were busy at the clinic was quite an understatement, and Michael already had tales to tell. He was going to come over once they broke for lunch.

Back at the house, the action continued, but everyone had a few moments to hold the little puppy!

When Michael got to the house, the Cumpar family immediately recognized him. While we were waiting, I had found out from the mother that the family had an urgent need for maize, the corn used for tortillas. That is the staple and often the only part of their diet. Michael and I went with the mother in a tuk-tuk to the Panajachel market and bought her a 100-pound bag of maize. You can read more here:

Right as we were coming back from the market, Tricia and her group arrived from San Jorge! It was a joyous meeting as Tricia got to see three of her four sponsored girls for the first time. Her college pal, Mary, served as the much-needed interpreter.

Here we are with Glendy, Maritza, and Irma.

Then we had a few shots with the entire Cumpar family, Tricia, Michael, and myself before they picked up their tamale basket and left. I posted the best one with my holiday greetings last week. But this photo haunts me. The family is usually smiling in photos, but there is much we do not see behind the scenes. They live a hard life that is impossible for most of us to fully comprehend. I try to picture what they are doing right now, and my imagination fails me.

We said our goodbyes, and the Cumpars set off to take the 2 - 3 hour bus trip back to their village. After intersecting for a few hours that day, our lives were now far apart. But yet, I could not get them out of my head.

We helped with the distribution of more tamale baskets. As you can see above, many women wrapped the baskets up and carried them home on their heads, while they carried their babies on their backs.

I helped Morgan, Sarah, and Ismael give out more toys.

The lines outside the gate finally dissipated, and we finished for the evening.

It was quite a long and eventful day. Back in town, a group of us went down to the waterfront and ate at a restaurant called El Pescador. I had a tasty fish, even though I had to use a tortilla to cover its face -- it still had eyes! Now I know that's a delicacy, but I can't quite bring myself to look at it, let alone eat it.

Enough adventure for one was time for bed!

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