Destination: Teleman, Guatemala Day Three
Date: June 2013
Journal Entry: June 19, 2013
Our quest to teach our kids to work and have a bigger heart for those around them continues…. Today we were met by a guide to take us to build our first chicken coop. We had to go and collect the bamboo first and then take it to a widows home to build the coop. When we arrived at the widows home it was obvious this was going to be a limited man project. Mostly because the work space was so small. She was having the coop built behind her home in a very closed space. So that left Bailey, the little kids and I to entertain the widows children as she, Trent, Colton, our friend “M” and our guide, built the coop.
The kids and I had very little space to entertain. The house was a cement block located about twenty feet from the main road into town. Even though many locals walk up and down this road cars are frequently whizzing by. The yard in front of the house was dirt with a lot of garbage, rotting fruit, and very low clothes lines that would “clothesline” us when either Bailey and I stood up too tall.
I had brought some stickers from home that had scenery paper to stick the stickers onto. There was a beach theme, camping theme, and pirate theme that kept all twelve children busy for about an hour and a half as we did multiple sets. Soon we were out of stickers so we began beading bracelets with some cheap kits I had purchased from Oriental Trading before our trip.
We were having a great time and keeping the kids entertained when all of the sudden word was out that we were in the neighborhood and soon we had a crowd of about forty kids in the very small space of the front yard. They wanted stickers, bracelets, anything we could give them. We were soon out of our supplies but the kids would not leave. Clay was hilarious as he started to try and teach the masses some English words.
Our biggest challenge was that the children didn’t speak any Spanish since this is an Indian community where they speak Kekchi. So though I tried valiantly to speak Spanish their little faces were blank. So Clay used his physical comedy to teach them English words and have them say what they were in Kekchi. At first he had a few smiles, and then giggles, to full out belly laughs as he got down to his bum and tried to teach them the word in English. The kids thought he was hilarious. He kept it up for about forty-five minutes but even the laughter was getting tiring and we needed a break. The chicken coop looked to be about an hour from completion so I loaded the kids up and pretended to leave just to clear the crowd that had assembled.
This worked like a charm and we left for about ten minutes and came back with more supplies from our lodgings to do more entertaining if need be. There were still about fifteen kids when we returned so in exchange for a sucker they had to first clean up all the trash around the widows yard. This worked perfectly and even got my littles down cleaning up the mess.
I think that is one of the things I have the hardest time with down here..the trash. I can understand they are poor, they have nothing, most don’t even have jobs but why live in the filth? Is it because they know it will soon rain again like it does every day and turn their living conditions back into mud? Have they not been taught how dangerous it is to have rotting fruit or feces around? I’m not sure. It is disheartening to have them pick up trash just to give them a sucker and see them throw the wrapper back on the ground. My kids watched this too and it about drove my, oh so clean, Lexi crazy!
Once we finished with the sweet widow we said our goodbyes and headed back to town. The kids were excited that we agreed to let them have Pollo Compero for lunch and at around $2.00 a person they each get a drink, fries, and a piece of chicken. It is one of three restaurants in town. Our big ploy is to feed the kids lunch around 2:00 everyday so they aren’t hungry for dinner. This way we don’t have to sit down three time a day. Today it worked and we had our late lunch and went over to the gas station for a popsicle or candy. The kids seemed to be happy.
When we walk anywhere in the town we have every eye on us. I think most people are curious as to what the “gringos” are doing. We are also the only people staying at our hotel. I think it brings great pride to the owner of this little establishment to have us staying with here..
The last thing we did today was assemble care packages for the needy. We have so many great friends that answered our Facebook plea to provide hygiene products for the locals. We had so much soap, hair conditioners, shampoos, feminine hygiene, and toothbrushes and toothpastes to put together twenty sacks of products. The kids really enjoyed this project since it didn’t require getting sweaty or dirty.
Our biggest saving grace is the swimming pool at the hotel. It really is convenient since our rooms don’t have showers. We have big buckets in the showers where we can dump water on our bodies and soap down and then rinse with the water. Trent’s and my room is the only one with AC if you can call it that. It gets the room cooler than the kids rooms and so they spend the night sweating with a small portable fan in the corner. Though I feel bad for them Trent thinks its good for them to have the whole Guatemala experience. Plus there are only two rooms at the hotel with AC, not enough for everyone.
This is turning out to be just the experience our family needed. Every time I want to point out the dire poverty that we witness one of the kids already says “Yeah, yeah mom we know…” They can see the need, they are appreciating what they have, and they are becoming better friends with each other in the mean time. I think I love this part the most. Today as I was driving them in the truck they all jumped in the truck bed, true Guatemalan style, and began singing pop chart songs together. This makes this whole experience worth it. We probably could have saved the expense of coming down here and just sent the Guatemalans the money, but I’m hoping by bringing them here, my kids hearts will be softened to do more either now, or in their futures.
Be Good, Do Good! Safe and Happy Travels!!