Saturday, July 18, 2009

You scream, I scream, we all scream for Ice Cream!

Sabado, 18 Julio 2009

The last week has been a busy one, and lots of fun! Pete Kinch, the executive director of HFPF and his grandson, Aaron, joined us here in Barillas. Marco Tulio went to Guatemala City to pick them up and also brought along his nephew, Chris, from San Marcos, which is along the way. I feel bad for Marco, he has made the 11-hour trip between Guate and here (or segments over two days’ time) at least 4 times in the past 2 weeks!

It was great fun to have more people in the Mission House (as Marco stays in the “pilot house” in the back) with two young kids running around and home cooked meals! Lydia, a women who lives locally, came to cook meals for us from Saturday to Wednesday! And boy was the food good! A mix of foods from home (like Spaghetti, though I have had that here once already), food I don’t normally get in the restaurant (like fresh-from-the-oven-homemade bread!!) and always lots of it. I was living the good life!! Though, thankfully, the transition from Lydia’s cooking hasn’t been too rough. Today for lunch I was invited to Wily’s house for Turkey (a treat! and a gift from Canton Las Maravillas, more on that later) and good soup.

And last night, I went to Yupi Café with two friends I have made here- Elise (from Redmond, who will attend SPU next year. Hannah if you’re reading this, I told her to find you!) and Claudia (who lives in Guate but works in Barillas for parts of the year. They took off this morning so we dined out on queso hamburguesas, hot chocolate, and ice cream! Yupi Café has been at times a refuge for me. One particular day, the food at the restaurant was just not very good. (since then, things have been better…) From the first bite of hot cereal at breakfast, there was something wrong. That day I had a measly lunch of PB&J sandwiches and by dinner I was pretty hungry!! It had been raining most of the day and I wanted something warm! I hadn’t been able to find hot chocolate anywhere in Barillas except at Yupi Café, so I headed straight there. I had a huge dinner of a cheeseburger, (I also had a craving for French fries, and while popular in Guatemala Yupi doesn’t have them) tamales, with my hot chocolate-warm, rich, and sweet! Another day, again the cheeseburger and ice-cream topped with chocolate and nuts fulfilled my comfort food craving. I loved eating all sorts of new meals and foods. But at times, ice cream just hits the spot like nothing else. And the people of Barillas appreciate that, too! I've tried a few flavors of homemade ice cream-cocunut and peanut, and a few more "bars" sit up in the freezer waiting for a hot afternoon!


So, I thought it might be a nice place to take Elise, not knowing what she had been eating during her 6+ week stay in Barillas. (It turns out Claudia and she cooked in their home; microwave chicken, instant mashed potatoes, rice, etc.) Then, after dinner, we met went next door to get ice-cream (they have better ice-cream than Yupi). In the midst of ordering our cones, we were met by the two little, poor boys I had blogged about earlier, and who I had seen various nights in Barillas. We offered them ice cream instead of a quetzal handout, which they asked for, and then we had a lot of fun sitting and eating with them.

This was the first time I had been able to talk with them. I had bought one of them ice cream before and he ran away soon after getting it. After asking them why they were out so late at night, running around the city, the more talkative of the two responded that “there was no older man in the house to tell him not to” We learned they live with their mother and can’t afford the necessary books, uniforms, and other supplies to go to school. It was a very sad reality. We spelled the various words on the ice-cream advertisements (they were 8 and 10-years old, no schooling, and spoke mostly Q’anjob’al) and they joked around with each other and us. At one point, the little (and more talkative) one, Mura? (I think it’s an indigenous name) went digging in the garbage to find someone’s else left-over ice cream treat to enjoy. I started to stop him, but then realized maybe he didn’t have dinner that night. Like, I said a very sad reality to be in the midst of, to watch and bear. I’m glad Claudia got a few pictures, which they got a kick out (asking for just a picture of their sandals) to remember them by. Though, their memories will not soon slip from my memory.

The Mission House is now empty and much quieter. When Pete (the big jefe) came, the entire house was cleaned, covers taken off of couches and loveseats, and the big dining room table and chairs set up, with a beautiful table cloth to boot. Everything has been packed away, floors swept and mopped one last time and the house is in hibernation mode until groups return in January. It almost felt like a vacation to have other bodies around 24/7. My tocayo, Chris, (Tocayo is a Spanish word used when two people have the same name) was quite a character. Only 8 years old (and skipping school for this trip!), Chris was frank and honest with his thoughts and emotions. For the first few meals, he would get up in the middle of eating, walk into the kitchen and ask Lydia if she was going to come eat because the food was getting cold. Then, five minutes later, after she hadn’t come, he would ask again if she was going to come eat with us. Very sweet and a great personality! He and Aaron (just as all the aldea children do when we visited, the “little princess” at the Quinceanera, and the two little boys we shared ice cream with) lightened up my experience in a very special, fun way!

Stay tuned for more updates about our special trip to Canton Las Maravillas! We returned with Pete for a big party and “inauguration” of the tinaca project. It was a very special day to share with Marco, Wily, Pete, and the people of Canton Las Maravillas.

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