Mike and I explored the Mexican Yucatán Peninsula for 2 weeks of flyfishing (Mike), diving (Stacey), snorkeling, Maya ruins, a colonial city, cenotes, quite a few hammocks and lots of great food.

When Mike flew home I headed to San Cristóbal de las Casas in Chiapas for 2 weeks of Spanish study with a small group in tow. We lived with host families and visited area sights including villages, museums, and ruins.

When the group flew home I bused to San Pedro La Laguna on Lake Atitlán in Guatemala for a week of planning for future growth of the Beca Project (link below) and meeting our sponsored kids and their families.

When our daughter Mariah and her husband Greg invited us to share a timeshare in Quintana Roo between Christmas and New Years, a new chapter to this blog was added. HAPPY TRAILS!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Last Day in San Pedro La Laguna - July 16th

It was fitting to have a packed, emotional day for my last day in San Pedro - the whole week has been that way. I started in class with Mynor (this week has been more about using my Spanish than studying grammar, but this morning it was the subjunctive imperative tense for my tired brain).

Mid morning we took provisions to a local family. Those of you who have heard my story about the start of the Beca Project know that it was this sort of family visit a year ago that planted the seed. Today we visited the family of Florinda, a mother with 6 kids and a scant excuse for a house. The Cooperativa Spanish School has raised about 65% of the ~$9000 it will cost to build Florinda’s family a new home; we’re hoping to meet the goal and begin the house this winter which is the dry season in Guatemala. The Cooperativa school has home plans for 8 more families after this one; our Andrea's family is on the list. Most of the houses will cost around $6000; Florinda's is more because the lot is so tiny they have to build a 2nd story.

I’ve spent hours this week preparing letters and photos (some from sponsors, some that were taken during visits this week) for each student; after lunch (my final meal with Rosa, Felipe, and family) I bought envelopes and finished that process. At 3:00, Mynor and I walked to the school that most of the Beca kids attend, toured around a bit, and took photos of the group (below, with Mynor). Most of the photos we get of the kids and their families are really serious. I learned this week that if I say, "uno, dos, tres" in a goofy way before I snap the photo, I get smiles.

In advance of my trip I had asked if school staff would prepare a meal for the students and their families if I paid for the food - a big job with more than 60 people to feed. The dinner was a great success - every family attended, a father who is typically out of the picture joined us, and a mother I’ve only seen worried and serious beamed the whole time. Mynor, Lorenzo (the Cooperativa school’s director), and I each spoke briefly and food was served. Delicious! I was really humbled by the gratitude and the hugs I received from nearly every single person there, even the shy ones - a wonderful, warm group of people. I’m sorry the photos below don’t convey the warmth that I felt in spite of the rain. HAPPY TRAILS!

The kitchen crew - the female teachers at the school and 1 grateful white woman.

The servers

Some of the guests - Rosa (in pink) and her mother even managed smiles while eating!

Fresh tortillas, mixed vegies (carrots, cauliflower, green beans, and guisquil), rice, guacamole, barbecued chicken, and a fabulous salsa made from barbecued tomatoes - we're going to have to try that at home.

The set-up and clean-up crew - the male teachers at the school.

Me with those beautiful, beloved kids - note that there are 12 now, we added one this week!

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