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My Last Day In La Esperanza

I´m here in Guatemala City, awaiting my flight to Panama City.
Luckily, the wonderful hotel I stayed overnight at has given me some free internet time, so I thought I´d do a blog entry.

My last day in La Esperanza was wonderful.

In the morning, lots of kids came over to visit..some of them were very emotional at my leaving. The night before, I had had the final art class for all the kids in the neighborhood at my house, and several kids were crying and asking me not to go. It took all I had to not cry too.
Instead, I tried to focus more on the positive, and passed out cookies and we played games.
I invited the kids over that seemed particularly sad for breakfast the following day.

Some of these kids will remain forever with me. In particular, Alma´s son Emmanuel, whose intelligence and perceptiveness to those around him makes him seem more like an adult; Elky, who in spite of a life filled with difficulty, radiates love and warmth; Joselito, who must quit school this year to work, but who is incredibly bright and loves to read; Gabby, a tiny, round little girl, who just wants to be held while she colors…

I was, and still am, incredibly moved by all these charming , wonderful kids-and their families, who although they did not know me, invited me into their homes and their lives, and trusted me with their children.

In the afternoon, I went to have lunch at Dona Minas house, and it was really lovely to spend time with the family. Alma, my friend; her sister Anna; her brother, Jorge; Dona Mina; and everyone else showed me such kindness. My friend Alexis was also there-a man who had been staying in Guatemala for some time, and had a real comraderie and affection for the whole family, especially the children.For lunch we had a sort of chicken stew, hot sugary coffee, and some chocolates a guest had brought along as a gift.

Emmanuel, Almas son, had invited me to their house in the evening to watch a movie-it turned out to be ¨CARS¨, that animated American film-dubbed in Spanish, and pirated, of course. Thruout the film, you could hear the laughter from the movie theatre, see people´s shadows walking across the screen, and so on…halfway thru the film, it stopped and wouldn´t start up again-so Guatemalan! No one cared, it was just nice to spend the evening together, eating snacks Alma had prepared( Popcorn, waffle cookies, white bread sandwiches with velveeta cheese and ham, and a special treat, a few cut up Snickers bars!). When I had to say goodbye to the kids, particularly Emmanuel, it was hard not to cry.

After the movie, it was about nine pm, and we (Moira was with me) still had more visiting to do, as we had been invited up the hill to say our goodbyes to Elky and Joselitos family. When we arrived, their characteristic hospitality-in spite of not having much-was overwhelming. One thing I have learned from my time in Guatemala, is that no matter whether I want something or not, or like it or not, I always must accept graciously whatever is offered to me. For example, a meat taco, even though I don´t like to eat meat much here; a tattered wall hanging as a parting gift; a hot cup of steaming milk, straight from the family cow;or a child´s doll. People want to give something, even if they have little to give. Elky´s mother was no different, handing Moira and I each a parting gift, one of the few decorations she had on the bedroom wall.

Elky was the most special child to me while I lived in La Esperanza, and her spirit simply glowed, she was so happy I had come to say goodbye. While I live there, she visited me everyday-and she helped me around the house alot as well. In return, I bought her some clothes for school, and fed her breakfast. We have a deep strong attachment, based on our common characteristic of generosity-rarely have I seen a person., child or otherwise, who is so giving, and without complaint or jealousy towards those that have more than she. I think she will inspire me for years to come.

On this night, Elky glowed with happiness at my visit, and sang me a song. It was one of the most moving an inspiring moments of my entire trip.

Joselito, Elky´s brother, was also there, all smiles that they got to have some ¨special time¨to say goodbye. Joselito´s family needs him to work and drop out of school, but I found him to have a shining intelligence, and wanted to reward that with a parting gift. I gave himn a book of stories in Spanish and English-a special gift, as books here are a rarity, and well outside of the average person´s income or priorities. He told me he will have the book for the rest of his life, and I believe he will.

While there, I also had the chance to interview-for this blog- their two brothers, who are famous Guatemalan cyclists.In spite of being part of the national team, they still live very simply, yet their passion for cycling is really quite overwhelming, and they have the talent to match. We all watched a soccer match, while they pulled out newspaper clippings and talked to Moira and I about their dream to ride in the Olympics.

We finally walked home, finished packing, and I fell asleep, exhausted from the day.


5 responses to “My Last Day In La Esperanza”

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  3. Lizeth Langi says:

    like this, but it really How much time do you spend updating this blog every day? Wow is all I can say. Thanks again.

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