Day 4: Homecoming

Day 4
September 29- Saturday

Breakfast: pancakes!
We also had fresh watermelon juice and papaya juice, which they said would get me “moving,” but it was only a myth. (Or maybe two accidental Imodium in one sitting were just stronger than an entire field of papaya trees and watermelons combined.)

Either way, Day 4 was full of mural painting and home visits.

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We had an opportunity to walk through the village and visit families identified by principals who were especially in need of rescources. Antonia had spent the morning sorting the bags of donated items, and we were able to distribute them to specific families. We were touched by the warmth and welcome we received at each home. At home, we wouldn’t be caught dead inviting a handful of strangers into our home unexpectedly if it wasn’t clean or ready for company. But there, we were invited in—all 15 of us—to houses the size of walk-in closets, and we were humbled by the authenticity of their welcome.

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(Side note: I am reading the book Mudhouse Sabbath, and, interestingly enough, tonight I read a chapter that sealed my suspicion about this kind of hospitality.

Page 49: “Intentionality, however, is not perfection. Let’s consider that very last excuse in my list, the seemingly innocent insistence that my apartment is never tidy enough for guests. Well, now. I probably shouldn’t have curdled milk in the fridge if I’m inviting someone over for tea, and it might be nice if I emptied the kitchen trash and didn’t leave dirty clothes all over the bathroom floor. But to be a hostess, I’m going to have to surrender my notions of Good Housekeeping domestic perfection. I will have to set down my pride and invite people over even if I have not dusted. Having guests and visitors, if we do it right is not an imposition, because we are not meant to rearrange our lives for guests—we are meant to invite our guests to enter our lives as they are. It is this forging of relationships that transforms entertaining into hospitality…I understood why Julianus Pomerius had spoken of hospitality as unbending one’s self. In this unbending, there was a genuine return to hachnassat orchim, to an inviting of guests. The irony is that the unbending requires inviting my neighbors into the places where I am most bent.”)

We rounded the corner at one house and found a toddler sitting in a bucket. THey were all cool with the pic, so I took it. A. Dorable.

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Inside the house were hammocks slung from wall to wall as beds, and outside, in her dirt-worn yard, was a row of flowers. They were wilted and trampled on, but still somehow growing, and they were planted with such care and concern you couldn’t help but smile inside. She gestured towards her kids, and we understood. Kids everywhere trample on their mothers’ flowers.

As we were walking and driving, we also saw people sweeping dirt floors and dirt yards and dirt porches, and we recognized that sweeping the floor, no matter what kind of floor, is universal. Again I thought, as I did after the Step into Africa experience, that nothing but grace separates me from this woman. I plant flowers. I sweep my kitchen floor.  But somehow I was born here, and she was born there.

After home visits (and 3 o’clock tamales that never were) we returned to Cahal Pech for a secret homecoming dance surprise for the girls on our team who were missing their Homecoming dances that night in Indianapolis. Antonia, David, Imanuel (siblings and principals at 3 village schools) and their families came to the celebration. Their sons were each of the girls’ escorts. Ricardo, Antonia’s husband played “Baila Bamba” loud and strong on his Spanish guitar, probably raising the dead for midnight dancing all over San Ignacio. It was such a happy time, a highlight for the girls, and the kind of singing/guitar playing that gets you up out of your seat in spite of yourself or your bum leg.

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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

At midnight, after giving birth to a raisin, I knocked on Becky’s door and she answered with 2 ex-lax and an apology. And lots of laughter. The package said to take two, so I did, and then I went to bed.


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