Friday, July 31, 2009

Summer Break :)

Back in the states and it's truly summertime! Sweltering heat, yesterday triple digits. I was ready to return to Guatemala and the wet season. And I know I'm talking like someone from Seattle. We finished our 2 months of immersing in Spanish. It was tough at times, and my test scores proved it. I have to believe that people in midlife have the capacity to become fluent if they just stick with it. And we are committed to becoming fluent. We really enjoyed our teacher Diego. He corrected us from the get-go and we are grateful for that. The last thing we want to do is to continue mis-pronouncing words and not getting the annunciation correct. We will continue our lessons and hopefully learn as many of the tenses as we can.
Glen came down with his huge truck of donations....we love you Glen :) and proceeded to get things going for a big workshop to store equipment and machinery. Pedro and his boys enjoyed unloading the truck and seeing what Glen brought down. We had an opportunity to use the ATV with the kids and boy did they have fun! I enjoyed the sense of freedom myself. It is a powerful ATV and will be useful on the property. We enjoyed Glen's cooking and hope that many of you can experience it also when you come down. We are going to collect Opal House recipes and create a cookbook in the future.
Other friends that joined us were Wayland and Courtney from Bothell, WA....just around the block from our house. They were such a help to us, helping us finish up all the painting in the homes and picking up trash that people would throw onto the property from a lookout point near the house. They were very hard workers and we enjoyed the conversations around the table at the end of the day.
After Glen, Wayland and Courtney left, we had our friends Wes and Sue down for about 9 days. We so enjoyed their fellowship. Sue is a spiritual director and Wes teaches at Seattle University. We spent alot of time in conversation around the Word and what it means to be in solidarity with the poor. Hard questions were asked and even now I mull over them and allow them to challenge Will and I. We are like babes in the woods with all of this. We are learning so much about how we think as North Americans. How we want to be in control, to dominate, and what kind of "power" the poor have. They have watched the land go from the hands of a rich Guatemalan to the rich Gringos. Not much difference there. And so we find ourselves in this dilemma, for example, of knowing that they need wood to cook their food and heat up their little shacks when it's cold. But if they take cut the wood, we are looking at landslides. We need to reforest large chunks of the property and we know it will be at the expense of the Mayan farmers who are renting our property for their corn. We are preparing to leave certain portions of the land alone to create pea patch farms for the women and children around the community who don't have husbands (or wish they didn't have husbands.....)in order that they may have food for their households. San Lucas Toliman, a mission that is about 20 minutes from our home will be helping us to screen women who may come to live at Opal House. We thank God for their help. They will also be sending up men to help us figure out what to do about reforestation and how to cultivate the coffee. Who knows if sometime in the future we have our own brand to offer folks back home? We truly want to be 'fair trade' and Father Greg from San Lucas can tell you what is fair trade after speaking to the local Mayan coffee farmers. You may be surprised to find our that some of those rich coffee producers aren't as fair as you think.......

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