21 October 2011

Takes a Village, #5

         La Familia Guatemalteca

Qué lindos, ¿no?

This is Brian, and this is Josi. They are in our Guate family, as we've come to call it. Their Mami Flor was Asa's nana for 10 years (in the US). A few times, we all flew to Guatemala with Flor to stay with her family. And they became ours.

Sarita, Poppa Cornu, María
They've lived on this finca their entire lives. We took Sarita
to a carnival and she went on all the rides. Twice!

Brian and Josi live on the finca where their family has lived for generations. The other people who live there full time are the very elderly Poppa Cornu (called, unavoidably, "Pop-o-corno" by Asa); Flor's two sisters, Sarita and María; and la Chinita, Ruth, who got her nickname because she looks Chinese. At least that's what Flor says. Ruth is Flor's daughter. Flor's son, Juan Carlos, lives with Flor in the projects in Boston. They both send money back for the family.

So what is a finca? It's hard to translate -- the dictionary says "estate," but these fincas, outside Guatemala City, are not the "estates" of U. S. English. Finca isn't exactly "farm," either. That's granja. Anyway... I like the word finca. 

This is when Sarita introduced Asa to the Joy of Pigs. Well, to pigs anyway.

Below is the central courtyard of the finca. You can see how estate

doesn't really describe it. The door on the right leads into the kitchen.

Notice how things are held up? It's just natural tree trunks, not finished boards. I think it's pretty.

Turning around, you see a small table and two more chairs. Nothing else is in the room. It's all out in the courtyard.

The stove (yep, that's what that is) is made of flat rocks set on top a concrete base. To cook, you build fires inside the base and then find a hot spot to set your pot, pan, kettle on.

I am pretty sure this is not good for the lungs. Especially if the lungs spend a lifetime in here.

Oh, look. Here's la Chinita now. Does she look Chinese to you? Ruth is la mamí of Brian and Josi. She is Mayan Indian and Latina. La Chinita is so beautiful; and she is the most serene person I have ever met.

At this point, she hadn't seen her husband, Gustavo, in more than two years. He was working in the US and sending money back. Ruth and Josi were handling it pretty well. Brian, not so well, I'm afraid. He seemed sad a lot.

I took the photo below of Josi in the courtyard. On this trip we brought toy knight armor and swords for Brian and Asa; for Josey, the accoutrement of a princess. We were wise to the fact that little Guatemalan girls had jumped on the American Princess bandwagon, too. I don't know what Josey is thinking here, but I hope it's not that every little girl can't be a princess. That's what I always think when I see all the Princess stuff on every single little girl at the mall.

Our Mayan Princess.
She always looks like she's on a downer
when I take her picture.


Thus ends the series, Takes a Village. I used to hear that and go, "Oh, that's nice." I've since thought a lot about the expression.

All humans work together to perpetuate and advance the species (in the long run), and to bring up the next generation (in the short run). What are the practical implications?

I'm thinking that when people who aren't parents gripe about how the parents in the office get to work at home on school holidays, or take the day off on snow days, we can all consider the extra work and time put in to be a contribution to raising the village's children. We would all want parents to be with their children to care for them when needed.

Adoption, foster care, hosting exchange students are ways to give to the village. On a smaller scale, you can take a kid whose parent died, to shop for a holiday gift for the other parent. Who else is going to take them? Offer to show up after ESL class and talk casually with the students. It gives them more conversational practice. I'm thinking 15 minutes, that's all.

Give blood. Babies in particular need their specific blood types. If you can give platelets, consider getting into the apheresis program. They won't make you spell it. Hell, they won't even make you say it.

I know this whole thing sounds preachy. And it went on a long time. And I don't care. ~tapu

1 comment:

  1. I like your points at the end. I didn't think they sounded preachy; they're good ideas.