Yes, they are that cute! We tried to go to a dinosaur museum in Estansuela but it was closed. There was a school next door so we went to see if Rolene could talk to some kids. While we waited to get permission to talk to the 6th graders, the 4th grade class has recess. We were ambushed! Luckily we were ambushed by sweet children instead of guerrilla fighters or a pack of wild dogs. It could have been worse.
One of them held my hand for a while. I almost put her in my pocket to take her home with me.
We were joined by Lynn, Vivian and Marilyn on Thursday and Friday. It was really fun to have the company and their local expertise.
The family we stayed with in Zacapa. Walter and Noemi and their son, Oscar. On our last night with them, Rolene played harp, they lent me a guitar, Walter played keyboard, Oscar played his drum set and Noemi sang. We were quite the little family band.
On the road to Chiquimula. Oscar (age 9) didn't have school on Friday so he walked with us. What a trooper! He must have sweated half his body weight, but didn't complain once. It was HOT today. I drank like 3 liters of water while walking and still felt dehydrated.
We had a little time to kill on the way to Chiquimula so we stopped at this school, which ended up being a military school. We didn't expect to be let in, but they were very welcoming. We interrupted the boxing matches they were having for physical education. That's the students agreeing to plant trees.
We met Keenan and Jeff on the road today. They are biking from Canada to Argentina with Ride for Hope. They are raising funds to help the people in the Dominican Republic who were affected by the recent hurricane.
We were led into town by a group of girls from a school in Chiquimula. They had signs and posters and sang songs, honked their horns and cheered as we walked the 1/2 mile to the center of town. It was sort of awesome and sort of embarrassing. There were supposed to be three groups of kids but the others came too early and waited almost 2 hours for us and gave up. We were also supposed to be welcomed by the mayor, but he was called away on some last minute business.
Instead of the mayor, we were welcomed by a man from the evangelical Quaker church, Edgar Madrid. We got a trophy with our names on it. We are going to put it in our trophy case as soon as we get a trophy case. The whole day was hilarious and sweet and overwhelming and confusing.
I put myself on timeout today. I reached a point this morning where I was tired of meeting new people, tired of learning new words, tired of eating strange food, tired of feeling confused, tired of not feeling like I can be myself. We are staying with incredibly kind families who range from somewhat to very conservative and who are all evangelical. This reality is so far out of my experience, I just needed a break from it all. So, I skipped out on the two TV interviews, layed on my bed and watched a movie about black guys and white guys playing basketball together for the first time in Texas in the '60's. I listened to music and wrote in my journal and watched Rolene on TV. It was a good day.
It is very strange and pretty difficult to be on a journey that is both physical and spiritual. The difficult part is constantly adjusting to new people, places and things. The strange part is that while I am in a part of the world where everyone I meet is devoutly religious, I'm not sure how to relate my spiritual reality to/with them. We have very different assumptions about the world and I'm not sure how much to share about what I believe. I don't like feeling like people think I need saving because there is nothing about my spiritual path that has anything to do with "saving" myself or others. On that note, I don't feel a need to save them from their beliefs either, so I'm left in a funny place of realizing that it's assumed that I believe the same thing they do when I don't share my differing views. Partly, it's a language barrier--I don't even know how to have that kind of conversation in Spanish. Though, even with English speakers I am reluctant to have that conversation because...well, because it's tiring.
Hence, my time out today. I'm tired. After my break from the world, I'm feeling much better. I'm hoping/assuming I'll feel better tomorrow and will be willing to venture out into the world again.
I'm trying to both challenge myself and be gentle with myself...a hard balance to hold onto.
Send me happy and loving thoughts and I'll send some back to you all. Right now I'm going to go eat a pupusa. Yay!