Buena Vista is a village a little ways up from us. It is much smaller than Magdalena and notoriously poor. We have students in our schools from there as well as children that come to the feeding center. Recently, an incident occurred that has forced us to drive 5 kids to and from Buena Vista and the Love Guatemala building on feeding center days. It is absolutely worth it knowing that these precious children are receiving a complete meal. This family is the same one that shares a few tortillas each ‘meal’ if they are lucky enough to come by a Quetzal or two.
Yesterday, I drove to the village and stood waiting outside their home for all of the kids to come out. I felt rather out of place. I was wearing my painting clothes, rather dirty, and covered in paint. Their mom walked up the street and when she saw me, alarmed, “Have they not come out yet?” I replied, “No.”
And she ran!
She ran to get the kids, organize them, and send them out with the gringo to go to lunch. Each girl got a quick brushing of her hair; the oldest led the baby outside, and we were off. As I walked through part of the village to return to the car, I must have looked like mother goose (a young, tall, male one) leading her chicks to water. We passed by a group of girls recently out of school, a construction zone where concrete was being poured, and a meeting of elderly men who just received the best topic of conversation they’ve had all week. All were shocked by what they were seeing. Whatever they thought about me, it isn’t important, because lunch went wonderfully. We had fully bellies, a lot of laughs, and then Carlos returned the kids home as I went back to painting. While on top of the building I began to process.
I was always taught the phrase: Give a man a fish, and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he eats for a lifetime. I’ve been struck by the truth of this phrase recently in witnessing how easily families can become dependent on ministerial support, but I also remember how the lines so easily blur.
What if your father is an alcoholic, abusive, or absent?
What if your mother is too sick to work, to cook, to walk?
What if you are 12 and find yourself the primary caregiver to three younger siblings and a baby?
And I found myself, yet again, broken. And hopeful.
This is what Love Guatemala is about. We’re about breaking the cycle of poverty through relationship. We are here to teach women and children how to fish and we are going to talk about Jesus while we stand in the river. During the process, we pray they catch our vision as well when they see the power that Christ has in this world. It’s about relationship. It’s about discipleship. It’s about giving and multiplying hope. It’s about Jesus.
Tuesdays and Thursdays are special for me. They remind me to remain humble. They give me hope.
Be of Good Cheer,
Caleb the Intern