I failed to mention a few things from yesterday (probably because I was sick and forgot about them) so I will open up with them today. During the night I kept thinking about one of the last images I saw as we left the center on Wednesday. It was not the thought of William, the little duck, who could not make it to the bathroom fast enough and decided to use the “corner” in a quiet room instead. It wasn’t the thought of the $1420 we raised and brought to purchase items like oil, salt, and other necessities to put in bags for the families as they come to visit their children on Friday. It wasn’t the thought of Billi, with a big grin on his face, waving goodbye to me and trying to get on our bus. It wasn’t the thought of our driver Samuel and Tim setting off fireworks to celebrate the 4th of July for us gringoes or the thought of Gerson, being held by Melissa, being scared by the fireworks the he bano’d on her. The image was of Gerson though, but it was the thought of us backing out of the driveway and him trying to follow us. As we backed away, a nanny had to pull him back to safety and he cried uncontrollably. It seemed that he had fallen so in love with our team that he did not want us to leave.
Andres (left) and Gerson (right) are twin brothers at the center. I don’t remember how old they were when they were brought there, but they have recently been declared abandoned. They do not have a family coming to see them on Friday when other children do.
The thought of Gerson stayed with me throughout the morning, during breakfast, and up until our devotional time. Lori led this mornings devotion and she challenged us not to go back to normal when we leave Guatemala. Were we going to let this be an annual experience or a life-changing moment? We headed off to the center as normal and began our day.
We had a new baby come to the center today. She was a month old and weighed only 3lbs. We will be praying for her that she will be able to eat, get stronger, and grow up.
Today was a crazier and different day. It seemed to be nonstop. We started them off with their normal routine of getting ready and eating a snack. Then we did something that most of these families have never had: family portraits. Candace and Cynthia (and I am sure others) did a great job setting a nice scene outside for this to be done. They found a decently painted blue bench and placed it in the shade near some bushes. Then all the siblings, one family at a time, were taken outside to get there pictures taken. This was a long process, but I believe it will be well worth it and appreciated greatly by them and their families.
At lunch time, I noticed that people kept disappearing, as in team members. Soon I was the only one in with the ducks and squirrels except for one of their nannies (Marianna, I think) who speaks only Spanish. I speak only English (with the exception of the small vocabulary I have developed during my stay in Guatemala). We had a pretty funny moment. She was trying to tell me something and I was “no comprendo”. Laura Beth was walking down the hall so I tried to get her to help. She was “no comprendo”. After about 5 minutes of us all laughing we found an interpreter and found out she was saying that she would go get another drink for one of the kids.
Anyways, back to the missing persons report. The kids were almost done eating and I heard Cynthia talking in the hallway so I listened in. Team members had been pulled out to eat lunch early so they could take a bus full of children to the clinic to get their vaccinations. I don’t know which vaccinations they were just that the center had provided a way for them to get them.
The children were sleeping and I ate a quick lunch with the few team members that were still here. Afterwards, during chore time, we started moving some furniture. Recently, they were able to renovate a second building they have on the property which is where the team and staff ate lunch. There were 2 rooms where we were hanging curtains, setting up some bunk beds, moves some shelves, and a desk.
Before I knew it our day at the center was over. Our week at the center was over. The kids told us Adios and gave us hugs as we left. Did they understand that tomorrow they would not see us again? Will we ever see them again? Will they continue to get healthy and be here next year when our team returns? That is something that we have to leave in God’s hands.
We returned to Antigua. Some people went shopping and some people went back to the hotel. I went back to the hotel to catch up on my blogging. At 7:00, we met at dinner and prayed together as usual. The hotel staff really setup a nice dinner for us since it would be our last night. After dinner, we were sitting at the table talking when I heard singing. I turned around and I was being told to stand up because they were singing Happy Birthday to me! I stood up and they presented me with a Guatemalan specialty, Tres Leche (Triple Milk Cake), and had written on the plate “Feliz Cumpleanos” (Happy Birthday). Tres Leche is something I think you have to acquire a taste for. Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t bad, but we call it “soggy” cake. Like the name Tres Leche, it is filled with milk which makes it soggy. Overall, it was a great surprise!
After dinner, we went to a conference room for our Wow Time because it was hard to concentrate with the Spanish singer entertaining another group outside. This would be our final time of everyone meeting together to talk about our day. We sang, prayed, and shared about all that we experienced. Ron & Cynthia challenged us to not go back to normal and then closed in prayer.
We went back to our rooms, packed our bags, and went to sleep saying Adios to our last full day in Guatemala because tomorrow we wake up at 4:00am to travel to Guatemala City, fly back to Miami, and drive back to Jacksonville trying to avoid normalcy.