Dual Entry #6
"All In The Family"
been six months since we met our host family.
We are now a part of the clan, to be sure.
It’s been a cool experience.
So, like any proud family member, we’d like to give you an
update as to how they are doing.
has started and Marlon, 11, and Eduardo, 9, got free medical
check-ups at school this week.
Since the clinic couldn’t take all the kids in one day,
they were both happy to have a few extra days off.
Eduardo had a cold so they gave him 4 different medicines
which is great but two of them, the instructions were in English.
Thank God for the gringos in residence to help with that.
Then we noticed two bags of unmarked pills.
I asked what they were for and Graciela couldn’t remember.
She has the number to call the doctor so we can find out.
I guess Guatemalan doctors are no different from those in the
US, they just tell you what you need and send you on your way
expecting you to remember everything they said.
Yeah right. Eduardo
also had several warts frozen from his hands.
He was really excited about it and for the first time talked
about them and said they were ugly.
in Guatemala even elementary school (Primera) has fees associated
with it. Each boy paid
$3 for “inscripción” (registration).
They also must pay for books and materials. They both attend school from 8:30am – 1:00pm.
our 16-year-old sister, started her first year at a colegio.
This is basically middle school but is called “colegio”
because it’s a private school.
Why is she attending a private school?
Let me assure you it’s not for prestige.
It’s out of necessity.
There were 1000 students applying to the local “free”
public escuela and only 300 slots.
I say “free” because, of course, you have to pay an
inscripción there as well. The
family pays $25 per month for her to attend.
She is in a class with 98 other students and only one
teacher! Here instead
of the students changing classes the teachers do.
Yadira And Her
is allowed to wear her traditional traje (see story on fashion in
Guatemala) but her huipil has to be white and she has to wear the
school sweater. She wanted to wear a uniform but Martín said no.
Not sure if this was a question of money or tradition but as
you can imagine, teenagers don’t agree with their parents here
either. The difference
is that disagreements are usually silent or with little protest.
I think Yadi was just so happy to be allowed to continue her
schooling, she knew better than to complain.
If she hadn’t been accepted into this or another school,
she would have been working with her Aunt in her shop sewing
huipiles. That would
make for one boring year for a teenager as I see it, so we are so
happy she’s still in school.
She attends her classes from 1:30pm to 6pm each day and cooks
and cleans at the house in the mornings.
22, is interning as a teacher at a local school.
He is teaching 3rd graders and recently gave them a test to
see what they retained over their 2 month break.
Some scored as low as 30% out of 100%.
The questions were related to science, like what are the 5
senses, what are the names of the seasons, etc. In Guatemala, there
are no A’s and B’s. Everything
is pass/fail. I think
this is related to a cultural value in that Guatemalans are not
from grade school all the way through university, it is structured
this way here. The only
time I have heard grades making a difference was getting into the
public schools. The
higher your grades, the more likely you were to be accepted.
still has the same girlfriend but we don’t see her much.
Fransisco Tries Out Yadira's
20, got a job as an auto mechanic in Xela in January.
He works six days a week, with half days on Saturdays.
Since he was finally bringing in some income, we figured he
would start buying CD’s, clothes, and stereo equipment like any
good 20-year old would.
with his first paycheck, he bought his mom a new pair of shoes.
With his second paycheck, he bought his sister a new pair of
shoes. The rest he is
using to fulfill his dream. He
recently passed the entrance exam to register at the local public
university (Universidad de San Carlos).
He’s now fully enrolled and is seeking a degree in business
rest of his paycheck goes to fund his tuition, books, fees, and
transportation. So his new schedule is to leave the house by 7:30am
to arrive for work at 8:30am. He
works until 5pm and then goes to the University from 6pm – 10pm
each day. His only real
day off is Sunday. We
don’t get to see him too much these days but he seems really happy
and as far as we know, he’s still a swingin’ single.
two and a half, is still as cute as a button.
He recently fell off of a chair and somehow landed on his
left thumb. Graciela
and Martin took him to una mujer (a women) who fixed the dislocation
and told them to wrap it up. So
Josesito has been walking around with this huge wrapped paw.
It doesn’t seem to hurt him but they want his finger to be
straight so they are keeping it on for a few weeks.
He is talking a lot more and is even learning some English.
Now, every time we leave the house, he yells, “Abby, Tot,
GOOOOOD BYE!”. You
could just eat him he’s so cute.
He is also enjoying chasing our four new baby chicks all
around the yard.
any good American Aunt would, I got pictures of him getting a bath
in the pila. Scott was
on one side doing laundry and Graciela was washing Jose laughing
because I was taking picture of him “desnudo” (naked).
Josesito was really mad for some reason and that made it even
Bath/Laundry Area Makes For Some Embarrassing Moments For Jose
bathing two-year-olds, Graciela (mom) is still cooking for ten and
cleaning and laundering for seven.
Yadi does her own laundry and helps clean some too.
WE recently invited Graciela to join us for a mission trip
with our church from Austin, but she still hasn’t said yes yet.
She doesn’t want to leave the kids. Of
course, Josesito would go with us but she doesn’t think they can
cook for themselves. The
kids are all encouraging her to go, saying “Mom, just buy us a
bunch of eggs and we’ll be fine!
You need to go!” We’ll
see. She has also been
sewing cortes and huipils (traditional skirts and blouses) for some
neighbors as a side business.
Another Satisfied Customer
(Cool Shirt, eh?)
dad, has been traveling a lot with groups and selling his wares
along the way. He is a
really talented tailor. He
makes jackets out of blue jean fabric or traditional Guatemalan
cloth, pants, bags, bible covers, shirts, bookmarks and anything
else you want. He just
needs a picture and your measurements.
He is making me a new skirt and Scott some pants.
Our only complaint is that he put McGregor, Levi’s, or Lee
Jeans labels on everything. Here,
you can buy the labels by the hundreds in the market.
So, we are working on a new logo for his company
“Confecciones Martin” so when he puts tags in his clothing, it
will show that it’s all custom-made.
other news, we cooked dinner for Yadi’s 16th birthday,
cheeseburgers, at her request.
We cooked out on the homemade grill and bought Kraft American
cheese (yum!). It was
really fun and the whole family came outside to watch the gringos
cooking and take pictures of us using the disposable cameras we gave
them for Christmas that Kerri brought down from Tami.
At times, we are still such a novelty to them. In fact, Yadi said next time we cook, she wants her Aunts to
be there to watch too. It’s
like a freak show for them, I think.
A man cooking? What!
God For This Wacky Food That My Gringos Cooked"
the best part of this night was when the family surprised us with a
thank you on the local radio station.
It went something like this, “This goes out to our North
American friends, the Guzmans, in Cantel.
Thanks for cooking dinner for us.”
Who are the Guzman’s?
They immediately called back and told them they had to do it
again because they got our names wrong.
It was too funny. Every time there was a pause, everyone would stop what they
were doing and listen closely to see if it was our turn again.
We laughed a lot that night.
that’s the latest.
Keep us all in your prayers.
Oh… and take good care of yourselves.
We want our “U.S. family” to be in good shape when we
finally get home.