Thursday, December 4, 2008

Thanksgiving in Belize...Why not?

¨Tropical the island breeze
All of nature wild and free
This is where I long to be
La isla bonita...¨

Madonna said she fell in love with San Pedro, Belize. That was silly because it turns out its neighboring island, Caye Caulker, is WAY more beautiful. (And cheaper too!) Someone should let her know.

When I first arrived, I was sure I´d found Heaven. Near the end, I realized it´s a long way from divinity, but still paradisaical in its own sense.

Snorkeling in the Caribbean! Say WHAAAAAAT??

Even better, our guide had an underwater camera and made good use of it. I can only get a couple up on here. Sorry!

Why yes, I did chase an eagle ray. I didn´t quite catch him, but hey, he´s got ¨eagle¨ in his name. How can I beat that?

There is nothing in the world that compares to the feeling you get when you take a deep breath, dive down, and fly over the coral in this turquoise water, just teaming with life.

And, of course, the Thanksgiving feast:

The Older Boys

Mis queridos hermanos!!! I can not come close to expressing how much I love each of them. So I´ll just talk a bit about ´em. Here we go....

Neta: My son. Also part monkey. (Don’t look into the relationship between those last two sentences.) You should see this fella jump! ... and run and climb and crawl – everything physical. He’s crazy limber. It’s impossible to get by him without getting jumped and pegged with a BIG ol’ kiss on the cheek.
Funny story about mi hijo: So Neta is a big fan of Michael Jackson. He also is a very intelligent, very imaginative hombre. I suppose for such as that, the line between what’s real and what’s fantasy is blurred (the intelligent are those who make fantasy real after all). Thus, Neta one day approached me with a contorted, pensive face and asked, “Is Michael Jackson dead?” To which I responded, “No, he’s still around.” Neta follows up with, “Well then how can he turn into so many things?” I stare dumbfounded. “HUH?” “Well,” he begins, “One minute he’s a man, then he becomes a jaguar…and ONE time he turned into a giant robot and there were these bad guys shooting at him and…..”

A conversation about the artificiality of cinematography ensued.
We clarified Michael Jackson’s mortality, emphasizing that he is not a ghost. Insert ill conceived punchline here: --------
(Poor MJ is an easy target these days.)

Mario: The teddy bear. Well here, this pretty much sums it up:

Me and my teddy bear
Have no worries, have no cares
Me and my teddy bear
Just play and play all day

…..and sometimes have spontaneous bouts of karate wars

He is such a helpful kid. And always so pleasant! I am beyond thrilled that he and his brother, Rene, are going to live in LOS ANGELES with their dad next year! And, oh how I love their father as well. (He already lives in L.A. but was down here a while to visit.) I’ll be able to visit them!

Rene: The smiler. Like his brother Mario, Rene is incredibly helpful. Rene wins the prize for most obedient. Not only that, he’s cheerfully obedient! Completely honest too. If something crazy goes down in the house and everybody’s sayin’ different things about what happened, the safest bet is to just ask Rene, “?Qué pasó?” He calmly gives a rundown and then goes on his merry way, perfectly content to entertain himself in simple pleasant ways.
I’ve become so accustomed to 24/7 hugs that sometimes I don’t even realize I’m being hugged until I look down and see little arms around my waist! Rene is an especially good embracer. However, occasionally, he finds it very entertaining to pretend just to be hugging me until I’m nice and complacent and then BAM!! He bites me! I don’t get it really, but it seems to be very fun, so hey. Have at ye, Rene!

Brian: The smarty pants. If I were to make a movie about any of the kids, it’d probably be about Brian (whose name is alternatively spelled “Brayan” or “Bryan.” I don’t think anyone really knows which ways right). There’s many reasons for that, really. Some good, some not so good (he has a sad hisory, but it all sorts of awesome despite it all). In any case, he’s a very interesting lad. He is VERY intelligent. Speaks a bit o’ English too. It’s always fun to see him in the morning and ask, “How are you?” His reply – very fast, very well rehearsed, albeit robotic – always goes like this, “Ve-ry-good-thank-you-and-you?” Kind of intimidating, but oh so cute!

Jimmy: The Comedian. He’s only been here a couple weeks now, but Jimmy’s already the life of the house in many ways. When he’s not cracking jokes, asking to use the ukulele, or pretending he’s a rabid dog, he’s running around imitating the chicken bus callers (dudes who ride along with the bus and shout out the name of the place where they’re headed). Of course, the caller’s bark (and Jimmy’s) is almost as loud and alerting as that of a rabid dog: “GUA-TE!! GUA-TE! GUATEMALA!!” (The VERY common siren’s song heard beckoning visitors and ciudadanos alike to Guatemala City.) Jimmy does it exceedingly well. Makes me wanna just jump up on his bike and speed of to Guate! Much more fun spending time at home with him and the others though. Even just thinking about the jokes he tells and the rise he gets out of the other kids makes me laugh.

Oscar: The sensitive one. One minute, he’s the sweetest, most soft spoken, tender boy you’ve ever met; the next he’s a raging fierce cyclone of screams and violence. It’s a grab-bag of emotions! Never a boring moment with this one. Well he is, after all, brothers with Jimmy. When all is said in done, you just gotta love him!

His lack of front teeth could possibly be one of the most adorable things in the entire world.

Tune in next week when I introduce you to my sisters and the babies. So much to look forward to!!

The Obligatory Linguistic Duel

Alejandra: ¿Por qué?
Mary: ¿Por qué qué?
Alejandra: ¿Por QUE?
Mary: Porque.

Alejandra: Ahhhhh, va.

(For those who don’t know, “Por qué” means “why,” whereas “Porque” means “because.” The fun part is that they sound the same.)

Well, I think it´s funny...

Me encanta ver el templo

Marissa and I made it out to the temple in ¨Guat City¨ a while back. Temple was amazing. The city, on the other hand, turned out to be quite an adventure that made me very grateful for guardian angels. More on that some other day...
Guatemala City Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Dedicated 14–16 December 1984by Gordon B. Hinckley
Excerpts from the dedicatory prayer:
¨Hallowed be Thy holy name, our Father. Thou art the great Elohim to whom we lift our voices in thanksgiving and prayer on this day when we dedicate Thy house...
¨Thou hast sent Thy prophet Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, that the purposes of the Earth may be fulfilled, and that those who have passed beyond the veil of death may partake of the blessings of Thine everlasting gospel and move forward on the way of eternal life...
¨May love for Thee and Thy Son grow in our hearts, and may it be expressed in our love one for another as Thy covenant sons and daughters...
¨We thank Thee for the wondrous light of the gospel, restored in this dispensation through the instrumentality of Thy servant Joseph Smith, whom Thou didst ordain a prophet to the nations. We thank Thee for the glorious vision given him in the opening of this dispensation...
¨We thank Thee for listening ears and believing hearts, that Thou hast touched us by the power of Thy spirit to recognize divine truth when it was brought to us by Thine ordained servants...
¨Please accept this house as the gift of Thy children. We have built it according to Thy will, that Thou, our Father, and Thy Son, our resurrected Lord, might have a place to manifest Thyself to Thy people. We consecrate it with love. Let Thy mighty blessings rest upon it and Thy Holy Spirit sanctify it....¨Bless our land, O Father, this nation of Guatemala where stands Thy holy house. May those who govern do so in righteousness. Bless them as they act to preserve the liberties and enhance the prosperity of the people. May there be peace in the land. May it be preserved from revolution and war. May there be freedom and equity under the law. May there be education and opportunity for all. May the forces of oppression and darkness be stayed by Thy power, and may the light of truth shine over this Republic. So bless, Father, its neighbor nations that they may be preserved in independence and freedom.

Prosper Thy faithful sons and daughters as they serve Thee in righteousness and walk in obedience to Thy commandments...¨

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Playin´ around

This is all from TODAY! Kooky, huh? I am very much behind on the bloggidy blog business, but I figure for now I´ll just throw some stuff together and at least let you see some photos. I know I´m just givin´ a mouse a cookie though. Such a tease!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Why thank you, Mr. Parasite!

Achievements of epic proportions are often remembered by naught but a few lines in a textbook. Even then, if the font is anything less than highlighted, bold, and red, the honorary sentences are but obstacles on the path to the chapter summary at the end, where the mentally anorexic feast upon crumbs of knowledge.
I’ve yet to decide whether the sadder truth is that some of the major accomplishments of mankind go unwritten. Still, is it possible for such things to go unnoted?
Definitely no!
Decidedly no!
Uh uh.
Art, sports, religion, politics, science, entertainment – they’ve all had their defining moments of glory, opportunities to ensure their legacies amongst various cultures. Their efforts are both noted and recorded. The result is that phrases such as “moon landing,” “millennium,” “DNA,” “You ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog,” and “she’s got a face like a Monet” each have some semblance of familiarity to them.
These expressions have made sense to me because there was a time when I too was impressed by the memory of the events they allude to.
Until now.

Seventy. Could be a small number, could be unfathomable. “I have seventy cents left in my bank account,” one might say. “There will be seventy newborn tiger cubs at the San Diego zoo!” the eager keeper would proclaim. Steve, the zealous local Baskin Robbins associate would say of the new ice cream parlor that had just opened down the road, “Seventy ice cream flavors?? That’s absurd! Who needs more than…well, nevermind.”
Ladies and gentleman, may I now inform you of the previously unrecorded, but definitely notable achievement that I have come to call my own, though I made little effort in its coming about: On my body, as I write, there are at least 70 bug bites. Enough little red spots on my legs alone for an elementary school nurse to send me home for the month with a note that pleads, “look into homeschool for your obviously plague-prone child.”

Cool, huh!? Never you fear, not a single one is fatal. That’s enough consolation, right? Right.
Here’s the deal: Where I live, biting insects are rather rare. Lucky! Thus, I don’t really wear the bug repellant I have conveniently placed in my sock drawer. However, the other day we went into the mountains to visit María and her community (see other blog). Along our stroll by the river’s edge, I noticed a few wee bugs but didn’t pay them much heed.
Now, as any kid under the age of 10 will tell you, one of the best ways to be heeded when someone’s ignoring you is to simply latch onto their legs and force them to take you along for the ride as you walk. Apparently, blood-sucking vermin in Guatemala are no different (I knew it!). For the remainder of our time there in the mountains, every time I looked down at my bare legs (first regretted decision yet: wear shorts to a rural location simply because all pants are dirty beyond description), there would be at least 4-5 tiny little black flies stopping in for a refreshing drink of ME.

In all honesty, I’m rather flattered. I take their attacks as communication. All they’re telling me is, “Hey missy, you’ve got some sweet blood!” Why thank you, Mr. Parasite! You’re really more of a sweet heart than they say, you know. “Well, you are what you eat!” Wait….Oh! You little kidder you! (I say as I give him a congenial play punch to the jaw.)

That’s all, really. Just thought it was rather funny/impressive that I have SEVENTY bug bites. It was noted before, even though it wasn’t recorded. Boy howdy was it noted! Now I’ve recorded it, not so that some text book will look back and suck the life out of the experience, but because I’ve decided that even if world-altering events are notable without being reported in writing, they’re always that much more world-altering when they’re written for others to share.

Now, who’s up for going camping?! I feel like egging on all those wossy mosquitoes in North America. They’ve got NOTHIN’ on these Guatemala gnats!

Oh, and my bed may or may not have fleas. Done.

See ya!

Update: I wrote this blog a couple days ago. Since then, I definitely have a few more bites. The count is now beyond 90. Thank you ladies and gentleman. I´ll be thoroughly cleaning everything in sight and lathering up in bug repellant if you need me.

Tonajuyu - Helping out the Village

I have never met a person who does not need help. Neither have you. Unfortunately, however, I have met people whom I have not helped (consciously anyway). What’s the deal with that??

When Marissa and I venture into the city together, or into the country, or into a touristy place, or simply into the next room over, there’s invariably someone who has suffered the effects of a disaster, whether it be natural, manmade, or some creative blend of the two varieties. I have a feeling that when we venture back into the United States together, the rather diminished frequency of such encounters will completely take our breath away. At which point, we’ll rapidly inhale and preach about how blessed our homeland is and what a weighty responsibility we each have because of our favored position to offer assistance to others in whatever capacity and to whatever degree we are able.

Last Friday, Halloween night, all of the kids, all of the workers here, Guillermo, Marissa, and I had one of those beautiful experiences where you’re able to do something for someone else that brings them hope and rekindles their faith in the people of this generation.

Instead of spending much time on the usual Trick-or-Treat-time traditions, the kids worked to put together temporary care packets for 40 of the families who have been suffering to get by ever since a devastating landslide in their very rural mountain community destroyed their one real passage into the town below.
Water supply spoiled, crops destroyed, lives buried – for me, the proximity of it all contributes to the surrealism. Moreso, however, the fact that I was the one who spoke on the phone with our contact in that community when the catastrophe had just barely begun (before we realized how serious it would be) and heard a voice coming directly from the situation pleading for help and support. Then to make the phone calls and emails necessary to inform Guillermo (who was in the U.S. at the time) so that he could plan for providing them aid (as he is surprisingly well versed in responding to disaster). The first few days were incredibly anxious. There was little we could do immediately, so frustration also had its hay-day. Once Guillermo returned from the U.S., however, he brought the resources we’d needed and mobilized us to action!

On November 1, the day after we’d divvied up the provisions for the families, Guillermo, Marissa, one of the kids, and I went to deliver it all and do what we could to brighten their days.

After miles of winding dirt “roads,” climbing high into the mountains into a town called Tonajuyu (spelling=questionable), we pulled the forerunner over to a welcoming committee of men, women and children in traditional garb, just smiling and excited to meet us.
We then walked with them through corn and dirt, turkeys and dogs (which more resemble giant rat skeletons with cloth coverings than actually animals), drinking in scenes of folding hillsides, verdant valleys, and miles of obviously well-toiled land.
After about a 20 minute walk from the car, we arrived at a clearing where stood a few stick-walled shacks on foundations of straw and dirt. Strangely enough, as we walked into the center of the homes, where we were to have the festivities and what-not, there was some random hip-hop song (a recognizable one at that) blaring from one of the shacks. Trippy little short-lived culture-clash moment.
And, oh what fun we all had! Guillermo had even provided toys and candy for piñatas (by which I mean smashable clay pots that were just lying around) to entertain the wee ones. Well actually, the moms were more fierce candy-hunters than the kids. Interesante…
The whole experience was amazing. I wish we would have had more time to spend with them, but we scurried off within an hour or two. Not before accepting the most delicious corn on the cob ever known to the human race along with some sort of spiny fruit with a mashed potatoe-like filling. And, of course, the traditional beverage of the rural mountain dwellers: Pepsi-cola. Yep. Keepin´ it real in the aldea.
Look! Dos Marías:
...nevermind that half the country is named María

I wish I had time to explain every aspect better. From walking over the landslide, to seeing holes from which bodies were recovered, to the unbelievably happy face of this toothless old man in a cowboy hat who escorted us around town, even a more thorough description of the dirt road would be an interesting subject from this excursion. Unfortunately, I must cut all short and save the details for face-to-face conversation.
In the meantime, I´m looking to raise a total of $100 for immediate aid to these people. If any of you are willing to help in that, please please PLEASE email me ( Thank you so much!

p.s. When the planning for this was all first starting, Marissa, some other volunteers, and I went to meet María de la aldea at a park some 15 minutes away by chicken bus. Because of some funky communication, we didn´t meet María. However, we met a whole community of people who need major assistance because of a devastating flood a couple years back. Long story short (for now, anyway), Marissa and I ended up returning a few days later with some extra clothes from the orphanage and handing them out to the kids. There wasn´t enough. My was that unfortunate. I´m hoping to find ways to help them out more as well.
By a show of hands, who´s up for saving the world sometime soon?
And Heaven knows we need saving!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

What each and every kid deserves

The Family: A Proclamation to the World
The First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children.
All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.

In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshiped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize his or her divine destiny as an heir of eternal life. The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally.

The first commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God's commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.
We declare the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed. We affirm the sanctity of life and of its importance in God's eternal plan.

Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. "Children are an heritage of the Lord" (Psalms 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, to teach them to love and serve one another, to observe the commandments of God and to be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.

The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed.

We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.

We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.

For more on building strong homes and families, visit

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Address! - updated

My kind of town, Chimaaalt is, my kind of to-own...

(note: the above is NOT a picture of my home,
however it IS part of the town in which I live)

Here is the REAL address:

Mary Lindquist
c/o Niños de Guatemala
3 Av. 5-68 Zona 1
Quintas Los Aposentos
Chimaltenango, Guatemala

I´m not sure if it´s written in 1, 2, or 3 lines, so I just put my best guess. I figure it´ll get here somehow...or it won´t. One or the other.

Sending mail may be complicated, but sending smiles certainly is not! Here you are:

Now YOU try!

Saturday, October 18, 2008


So I just found out that you all have the ability to post comments on here. Sorry I haven´t been responding, but I just found out the comments existed! So thank you all for your comments and for all your helpful advice, kind words, and the dash of nonsense. Always appreciated.

This week has been way busy, so I´ve much to write. However, I haven´t the time right now. So this is just your teaser entry. Tune in tomorrow (hopefully) for more!

Oh, by the way, it turns out the address I sent out earlier is NOT really where I´m living. It´s the address for where the orphanage used to be. There is a new address, which I lack access to right this minute. So....enjoy another helping of anticipation!

Thanks for everything! I love you all!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

30 September 2008

Someone went home! One of our sweet little girls has returned to live with her family after the judges deemed them fit enough to take her back. We’re going to miss her quite a bit, but she is going to be so much happier. You should have seen her the morning she was preparing to leave. She dressed in her prettiest outfit, hair combed, bows everywhere, and the biggest smile you’ve ever seen. Every time she’d walk by, she’d stop to jump up in my or one of the other volunteers’ arms and say in her best English, “I love you!”
Now she’s home and we’re hoping and praying that she keeps practicing that phrase often, in whatever language it may be!

Hey! I memorized that other rhyme!
Tin Marín de do PingÜe
Cúcara Mácara Títere fue
Yo no fui, Fue Tete
Pégale, pégale al quién fue
Con la punta del Pingue!

Are Boyscout activities brutal all over the world? I’d never been to one before, and I went on Saturday. EVERY game was waaaay violent and I ended up with the most impressive bruises my arms have ever experienced. One looks like a smiley face! A giant, purple, painful smiley face. Totally worth it though.

Oh oh oh!! Martita, the cook, took me under her wing. Our relationship started because she was too short to plug in the blender. Beautiful, isn’t it? The outlet is about 5 feet tall, but there’s a 1-2 foot counter that adds some space. Pretty mighty feat for our mini-Mami. Her plea: !Soy pequenita! Too true, Mami Martita.
She taught me how to make tortillas! I’d wanted to learn so badly. She makes amazing tortillas, and we have them at nearly every meal. One day, she initiated me: “María, ¿me ayuda con las tortillas?” And later, “María, ¿Puede cortar los plátanos?” That’s right, she also taught me how to make fried plantains – one of my absolute FAVORITE foods. I get off lucky because some of my favorite foods are beans, rice, tortillas, and fried plantains. Pretty popular meals around these parts! Oh man, and there’s a drink called Atól which is the true “magically delicious” breakfast treat. Here´s a shot of some of the kids getting ready to eat in our happy abode:
Gringas! Those are amazing too. No, not me and my companions, but rather this taco-like food that consists of some sort of meat (street dog, perchance?), pineapple, cheese, and a salsa/pico concoction. It doesn’t sound that impressive, but they do something amazing to it, I know. They’re Guillermo’s favorite food, so he took us out for some last night. I don’t think I’ll ever be the same…

Okay, enough about food for now. AAh! I gotta go!

Hasta luego!!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Runnin´ around

Last Friday we went to Iximché and romped around the Mayan ruins with the kids. Iximché was the very first Guatemalan city (i.e. before the Spaniards arrived). It was a day full of ¨race you to the next temple!¨and ¨Be respectful of the ancient relics.¨ So many mixed messages! All the more fun that way, I´m sure.
The last temple we saw actually is still used by indigenous folk. We actually saw several people burning incense, placing candles on the alter, and performing other traditional ceremonial services. I still haven´t figured out what it all means, but I have someone to ask, and I´ll be checking soon. I´ve got my sources...

The volunteers spent the weekend in Copan, Honduras. We met so many wonderful people. I made friends with a family of jewelry vendors (Dad and 2 sons). The older son taught me how to make the bracelets and necklaces, and then he handed me the tools and said a Spanish equivalent of ¨Go for it!¨ He had already put the seeds on (he uses seeds and shells and nuts and things instead of beads; I love it!) so I just worked on the sinew part. Then he fired it and we put the finishing touches on it so that he can sell it to the next unsuspecting tourist. Suckers....Like me! Perfecto.

Oh, one more thing, I´m learning to barter! Getting better, but still probably looking silly to the locals. As long as they get a kick out of it, I´m happy. This 9-year-old-ish kid in Antigua is the best salesman I´ve ever met. Well, the best I´ve ever met outside my family anyway. Yes, he even rivals Trenton and Randy, believe it or not (so watch your backs, you two). I did manage to talk him down quite a bit, but by the end of it I was so impressed with him that I gave him the price we´d decided on and then tipped him 5 more than he´d said, saying ¨Porque tú me caes bien.¨Yeah, I pulled the line: ¨Because I like ya.¨But I really did. Awesome kid. And he certainly appreciated the tip. I am such an easy target for the salesfolk. Don´t bother me none, ´cause it makes for good friend-makin´!

A new volunteer just arrived. Since we had two leave us last week, it´s nice to have one more. So now we have the volunteers: Marissa, Renée, Mike (new), and myself; the owners: Guillermo and Mandy; the 3 more experienced older ladies who are like the mothers here; and the 15 angelitos. One big happy family!

Hasta luego!

Some fun lil´rhymes the kids have taught me of late

This one is sung while swinging a child by his or her arms and legs as if to throw them into water. If the person being swung responds ¨Sí¨then you throw him or her into the air. Muy divertido!
Pezcadito pezcadote quieres ir al agua, ¿sí o no?
This one is some sort of Eeny-Meeny-Miny-Mo type of game. The rhyme is ridiculously catchy.
Zapatito conchinito, díme quien cambia de piecito más bonito (y chiq-ui-ti-to).
This one is like ¨Who took the cookie from the cookie jar¨:
Todos: (María) robó pan en la casa de San Juan! (María robbed bread from San Juan´s house)
María: ¿Quién, yo? (Who, me?)
Todos: Sí tú! (Yes you!)
María: Yo no fui! (It wasn´t me!)
Todos: Entonces, ¿quién? (Then who?)
María: (Diana)!
(Se repite con ¨Diana¨ en vez de ¨María¨)
I haven´t quite got this one down. It´s longer and with lots more rolly Rs (which I´m working on). Here´s a version I found online similar to the one the kids sing. I´ve got about half memorized, but soon now....very soon.

Tin Marín de dos pingues,
cuca la macara titire fue,
yo no fuí, fue pepé,
pégale pégale que ella fue.
Tin Marín de don Pingüé,
Cúcara, Mácara, Títere fue
yo no fui, fue Teté,
pégale, pégale
con la punta del pie.
More to come, I´m sure. :)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Ya Lleguè

La Primera Semana...

Oye! Guess where I am? Well, if you’ve made it to this site, you probably already know: Chimaltenango, Guatemala. It’s beautiful! More importantly, the people are beautiful!

The first day, Luis picked us up from the airport late at night, and we drove about 45 minutos outside of Guatemala city. It was then that I found out that I actually CAN speak Spanish! Who’d a thunk it? Luis and I talked all the way to the orphanage. We discussed everything from chu chus (another word for perros) to the political geography within the country to the soccer game that EVERYONE was watching/listening to (don’t worry, Guate won) and more.

When the other 4 volunteers and I arrived to the hogar, most were asleep but we met a couple and then we went to sleep. Four other volunteers, you say? Why yes! Marissa and I met three girls in the airport who were also on their way to an orphanage in Guatemala. You’d think that when we all got in the same car, we would have guessed that we were going to the same, but nooooo. We didn’t realize we’d all be working together until we pulled up to Clara Fantasia and Luis dropped us all off. We’re slow, but we eventually get things.

En the MORNING, however, we met TODOS! Now, we’ve only been here…hmm…less than a week? Yeah, about 4 ½ days and it feels like we’ve been here for months. These ninos are so quick to befriend and love. The more I learn about their backgrounds, the more I am just completely inspired by how resilient and happy and eager they are.

I only have a bit more time, so here are some highlights:

The other volunteers don’t speak Spanish, so I translated the Welcome to Clara Fantasia speech that Guillermo (the owner) gave us. I get to translate a lot nowadays. It’s so fun!

The kids LOVE abrazos y besitos, and we get plenty around here. The leaders just say “bessssho!” and someone always shows up with the cheek-peck greeting.

Chicken funeral. Oh yeah, there’s no way I can go on without mentioning the chicken funeral. The grounds here are actually absolutely beautiful. Basically, everything is outside. There’s a courtyard with a garden and a court (where we play tag, soccer, basketball, dance parties, and everything else) and then around it, there are rooms and a kitchen (of sorts), and all that jazz. Then out back there is a yard with the most enormous avocado tree that I have ever heard of. Grandote! But I digress. Though avocados are important, I was going to tell you about the chickens. So, first, one of my little amigos taught me how to catch them and keep them calm. A day or two later, we received word that some animal had attacked and killed five of the six chickens. Just so we all remember, that’s a lot. So, kind of unfortunate. However (now, don’t think I’m insensitive; after all the people here don’t really seem to mind that they’ve died), it was hilarious. One of the boys came and told me to come out for the burial service of the pollos. When I did, a bunch of the kids were out there, pick axes and shovels still in hand, huddled around the gravesites. They had made little crosses out of wood and then we all sat in a circle while one of the boys conducted a prayer. One of the little girls sat in my lap and was quick to note that I was more busy trying not to laugh than bidding farewell to the birds (or, “cinco de nuestros amigos”). When the prayer ended, everyone jumped up and was eager to show me traces of bird around the yard. Eeeeeew. It was so funny though. The boys insisted on taking pictures next to the battle scenes they’d discovered. Group pictures were also taken. It was a big deal. The kids had so much fun. Goodness, I love them!

Oh! We also went to the park to see a parade (it’s the season of Independence Day), but we missed it. Instead, we danced to all the music around. We were our own parade: five white girls, a couple older Guatemalan ladies, and about 15 kids. Oh yeah. One of the toddlers is always so quick to dance whenever he can, and he gets down! So we all cut the proverbial rug until the kids realized I was tickelish. From then on, I’ve been at their mercy. They are expert tickelers and I am very weak to such things. So we played in the town center a while and then took off.

Argh!! There’s so much more to say, but time doesn’t permit. Curse you, Time!!! Actually, I’m a big fan of time. More of it would be nice. Whenever I think about having to leave in December, it makes me very very sad. It was so easy to become best friends with each kid (I’m so grateful for the Spanish that I do speak. It’s helped so much). I get to spend a lot of one on one time with each and I also get group time. It’s just so wonderful! Every once in a while, I’ll be watching one of my amiguitos do a play for me or read with me, and I have to fight back thoughts of having to leave. I just want to help them all so much more.

Okay, well I should go. I LOVE it here. There are things to be wary of, but that’s just part of life anywhere. Let’s just say, it’s becoming more and more apparent that “normal” doesn’t have a universal definition.
AAAAH!! I want to write more! But no! NO! I must away.

I love you all! Thank you all for everything! I hope all is well.

Hasta luego!

p.s. good news: after our room’s check, we see that none of the volunteers have lice! Good news indeed! That’s your prayers at work, folks! Well, actually your prayers help WAY more than that. But lice-lessness is good too.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Link to another blog!

My beloved friend/boss/mentor made a blog about me: Go, look, smile.