On Wednesday morning, Greg, Marelyne and I went into the local community to visit a a family. A week ago, a 13 year old girl had attended one of the our open playground events. While here, she shared with us that she has never gone to school and really wants to learn. We invited her to start coming to Somos to study.
According to her aunt, the following morning, she woke early, got herself dressed and ready to head out, only to be told by her parents she wasn’t going. The aunt encouraged “Don Gregorio” to pay a visit to the family to speak with them directly. She felt his presence would give this more validity.
Off we went. When we arrived, the aunt was washing her hair in the outside sink (pila). She walked up to us, laughing and combing her wet hair. We were offered rickety plastic stools. We sat down and spoke with the mama, aunt and extended family of women all at home, weaving, taking care of young children, cooking or cleaning. A lengthy back and forth took place in Spanish and Kaqchikel. The girl and her younger sister stood by on the outskirts, listening and participating every so often. They were both dressed in very worn and dirty clothing.
At last, it was decided that the girl and her ten year old sister would attend school. At one point, it was suggested that they start the next day but I could see that there was still some trepidation with the girls and their mama. I knew that it was best to work with the momentum. I suggested that we wait and that the girls could change and head back with us. They both ran off and in a few minutes returned in beautiful trajes (women’s Guatemalan clothing). I watched as both took a little bowl of water and washed off their dusty feet. One grabbed a bag of chips and tucked it into her belt, as we left.
As were leaving, I asked the younger girl if she was scared. Tears popped out of her eyes. I rubbed her back and told her that was so normal. They hopped into the truck with us and we retuned to the finca. We arrived just in time for my weekly photography class with the older kids. We introduced the girls to the other kids and handed out the cameras. We spent an hour taking photos of each other. They all had a blast trying to capture some “air” shots! By the end of the class, I could see that the girls were relaxed and feeling more at ease. I think participating in a photography class was the perfect way to start off their learning experience!
We are so excited to have the girls here!