Monday, October 29, 2012

     Finallly, a moment in time when our dial up internet service is running on 4 hamster wheels. No pictures this time, but an update.
     Summer vacation is finally here for the children, which means no vacation for the mothers. The summer, dry weather is upon us which means lots of watering of gardens. I remember how our backyard in Washington was time-consuming but here with 60 acres and lots of side gardens, it's overwhelming at times. We were SO fortunate to have delivered in our container a nice chipper machine. This is what we are going to be working on shortly. We have so many branches all over the place, we will not be without bark chips for awhile. This will cut our weeding time which can be back breaking. The workers are cleaning under the avocado trees now. I thank God for their hard work. Weeding on my hands and knees may be hard but these guys are swinging a machete all day and the brush under the trees are high due to the rainy season. And before you know it, it will be harvest time for the coffee. We are hoping for an even bigger yield this year.
     On the animal side, we had a set of twin goats born from the 'mama' goat. We bought her with her twin daughters awhile back. This was her 2nd set of twins, I think. Anyway, they appeared to be premature, they were tinier than the others. The next morning after they were born, our head worker, Juan, said that he thought they were dying. We found them alone, the mama goat was busy eating and they were crying feebly. Will and I spent the rest of the day trying to feed them formula through a syringe and just holding them. The girl died in Will's arms and later in early evening the other died as I tried to keep him warm in the house. You may laugh, but we even tried CPR. It's pretty desperate but watching anything die is heartbreaking. It was a really sad day. Other things happened that week that hurt Will and I and the deaths of these baby goats was the finale to a gloomy week. I remember the fog and mist rolling in and then the rain begin, it was a sign of how I felt the whole week.
     As for the children.....we have new children, which each week I seem to be drifting from knowing all their names. And some names are just plain hard to remember. But they are still dear to me. We have some of the children who were here from the beginning who have left us. That has also been difficult. They are part of a neighborhood known for being robbers, liars and 'dangerous'. We have had some challenges, no doubt. And when you think you are gaining ground with them, teaching them how to tell the truth, to apologize......Dear Lord, can these children EVER say they are sorry? You find that they would rather stay home and hold their ground than come back and apologize for telling lies. We started serving breakfast to a group of 9 children  from this neighborhood Monday through Friday for various reasons. Two of the children we wanted to see them continue to go to school, they were on a slippery slope and their parents were not helping. Two of the children had problems between their parents and we thought if we could spend more time with them and give them some stability it could only help. Others were just plain hungry. At the end, we lost 2 of them, they actually 'dropped out of school'....they are in 2nd grade. Second grade and dropouts. Their parents do not care and the mother says she can do NOTHING. Already the little boy is becoming a hooligan. To me, a mother who was brought up by my a military father...".Nothing" is unacceptable. I don't have to tell you what I would do if he were my child, but the old expression of 'taking them to the woodshed' comes to mind. Two little girls decided to leave because they felt the pressure of  Will, I, Diego and Jacklyn (I will tell you about her in a bit) trying to get them to study and not fail math. Again, parents 'can do nothing'. Education is somewhat 'valued as abstract', as I have read somewhere recently. To a community that mainly does manual labor, it doesn't seem all that important. And to tell you the truth, it does not guarantee them a job. That is the hard truth. We've had people looking for administrative jobs here and had to turn them away. Still it's disappointing. But I am encouraged by God, daily. And He has given me Will, who also raises my chin when I am frustrated. I am unlearning and learning at the same time. What I know, without a doubt, is developing the children's character and faith is the most important. You can't change a village nor a country without changing a heart. This is what our school will be about. We plan on using the Montessori method and have a wonderful lady from the U.S.  who will be training Jacklyn and I. Maria Montessori actually was using this method of teaching among the poor children of Italy and somehow it came to the U.S. and become one of the most expensive programs (with very expensive materials) for children. We have been using this method of teaching in our the children the parables and stories in the Bible. It holds their attention because we use wooden figures and props.  We feel that the earliest we can teach the children the better and so we plan to start out with preschool, ages 3-5. I'm looking forward to seeing the difference this will make in their developement.
     Now for Jacklyn. One day as Will was picking up the Wednesday group of children, someone mentioned that their was a new family in town and they were gringos (white) and they had 'gringito's small white children. Will had a hard time believing that there was another set of gringos in town. He ended up picking them up for class and sure enough they actually looked very gringo. She had curly blondish, brown hair, blue eyes and the young boy has the same features. Well, the children obviously loved the class and told their family. One of the family members is their aunt. She is a single lady (28) and has received her teaching certificate and is in the process of finishing her thesis for becoming an attorney. She wrote us a letter stating that she would like to volunteer here for a year. She said she had never heard of anyone doing what we are doing. So, she came, she saw and is now a part of our community. And oh what a gift she is to us. She jumped right in and has taken the responsibility of our big kids (ages 10-12), we now have about 17 kids on Friday.  She is my helper Tuesday through Thursday with the smaller children. And she will be the teacher in our school. I remember praying for workers probably over a year ago and the Lord told me He would send them. And He has. She was completely out of left field. Who knew? And she couldn't understand why God was sending her from the coast to this small Mayan pueblo. She said that she did not want to go.
     I am praying that God forms our community into what He desires.  I still wonder at times about our being a women's and children's refuge. We are open to receiving women and children and yet this doesn't seem to be happening here as of yet. I found it interesting that Jacklyn is doing her thesis on women and violence. I am sure that this happens even in a small pueblo like Agua Escondida. One thing is for certain,  I am always being stretched here, and I know this is good. Discomfort is a good thing, it keeps the weeds from growing underneath me. I'm grateful to be here, I'm grateful to see God's movement in our lives. And even when I cry, or am disappointed, or angry and I just want to complain, I know it's the Lord being faithful to change my heart. God, please change my heart......

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