Time for a Celebration!

We all sincerely apologize for the delay in an update! We are just having entirely too much fun and haven’t had the down time.

You’ve read about the painting and the arranging, the teaching and the playing, but today our experience came to full fruition.

We began our day back at Central, this time experiencing the 3rd grade and 6th grade classes. I was particularly impressed with some of the 3rd graders knowing their numbers in English. A nice girl named Lillian attempted to teach me how to make the throaty sound in Kaqchikel. With no time to play with our new friends at recess, we rushed up to Cooperativa for the opening ceremony of the new biblioteca we finished Tuesday.

The kids were ecstatic when we arrive. The picture frenzy and endless question began once again. The girls were definitely enjoying the “fotos locos” I asked them to take with me. It’s amazing to me how kids everywhere are so similar. The girls still pose the same way and the giggles sounds exactly the same. Boys, too; they would run up to poke a gringa then run away laughing as one of them took pictures on his camera phone…serious, a camera phone.

Our whole group was called up to the stage to begin the ceremony.
We all were talking about how difficult it would be to describe the experience, but here’s to my attempt.

From the little Spanish I know, the director of the school made a touching speech of thanks about how invaluable our work had been for them. It was muy emocionada to hear how much they appreciated the project.  Next was a series of dances by a lot of the kids. Some traditional, and some…not so much. There were two groups who performed HIP HOP dances in our honor.  Snoopdog pumped some jams for their fly moves. I do believe break dancing occurred…

When the director Celso took the stage once again we though it was over. But he announced that the parents had gifts for us. Each of us was given a woven scarf made by the women of the families. It was the parents who bestowed this gift on us individually. I received mine from a woman who was absolutely beaming and once again expressed her thanks. This act of generosity was only countered by the meal of chicken, soup, and tomales they made for our lunch.

The PD’s later explained that everything about that ceremony was not usual. The dancing, the gift, and the meal of meat are all incredible honors. Every aspect of the ceremony evoked indescribable emotions and we are all so grateful.

Chaquiyja is not to be pitied or looked down upon as ‘undeveloped’. They are a community of kindness, selflessness, and hope. Someone in our group put it best when they said, “Things don’t make you happy, so we shouldn’t just be trying to give them things.” To be honest, I didn’t even think about how I was doing them a service. They needed a library and we were here to make it happen. But what they have given us is perspective. The genuine benevolence of the community at Chaquiyja is overwhelming.

With tears in our eyes, we all agreed that there couldn’t have been a better way to say goodbye to Chaquiyja and Cooperativa.

We finished our day relaxing and shopping in Pana and danced the night away. Half way through the week and we can’t imagine leaving this beautiful place.