Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Go Shawty, Its 'Yo Birfffday

          The above title is in no way directed at the fact that many Guatemalans happen to be of small stature, but at the fact that last night we celebrated Mary's (My neighbor and mother of ten children) 47th birthday.  When one thinks of birthday celebrations music, food and dancing may come to mind.   There was no dancing at this gathering, but to quickly sidetrack a couple weeks back two of the past volunteers from this Co-op came back for a week long visit.  Both volunteers completed service here in 2007, therefore are only a few brief years removed from service and still fresh in the minds of the people here.  Marsha, one of the two volunteers, just finished law school at U-Penn (congrats) and ironically enough studied international business at the same university (UIBE) in  Beijing as I did (Shout out to my China buddy Liz R. on your new full-time employment!).  We all decided to meet up and go out dancing one night in Coban, all of us being them and their two friends.  The five of us tore up the dance floor, or more accurately their two friends were possibly the best dancers I have ever personally witnessed (Better than hood-baller).  The guy, Jose, won some major dance competition and is apparently 'The Best Dancer' in Alta Verapaz, the department in which I live.  This would be equivalent to being the best dancer in a state in the United States, even though this entire country is the size of Ohio.  Let's just say he'd be the best dancer in all of Rhode Island. 
                  Flash-forward to last night.  This was the second birthday I have attended in my town thus far, both of which have been within Evangelical families.  Both events consisted of a decent amount of people gathering together, prayers being said and feast of caldo de gallina (Chicken soup, more specifically a broth with a piece of chicken a few herbs and possibly rice in it).  After this meal, cake is served and everyone seems to wander home.  I had been sick this past weekend (actually pooped myself as a 22 year-old man- TMI I know) and was specifically excited for this meal with a newly restored appetite.  With ten kids and five grand-kids all living in the same compound the house was packed.  I helped Gloria serve tea and atol to the guests and then ate dinner with the family in the kitchen.  Eating dinner in the cramped kitchen standing up was a great feeling, a passage if you will, from seated guest to family member.  Check out the photos:

                             Ammunition for a whole-lotta tortillas!
"Chicken Little" as Mary Jr. calls them
Playing cards with Pancho
Miguelito in a basket
Michelle serving the tamalitos
Gloria and the caldo
Baby Lisbeth- 11 months yesterday
The guests sitting down to eat
Wooden walker!
Jacqueline y Jimmy
Mary Jr. 
Stray puppy
13 y.o. Byron failing to not crack a smile while doing the I now kill cows for a living pose
Some of the Don Domingo Tribe
Qawa Domingo ut Qana Mary


  1. Thanks for the great new pictures and names to help me match to your stories . miss you love , Mom

  2. two things:
    1. bring that puppy back with you when you come visit
    2. hood-baller is going to be PISSED when he reads this entry

  3. I loved this one! Especially the part about tearin' up the dance floor. It looks like I'm going to El Salvador in late June/early July...maybe I can plan a trip to see you.

  4. Great pics and story as always. You are truly becoming a 'man of the world', in the best possible sense.