Happy Holidays

 
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Wishing you and your loved ones peace and happiness!

The best part of the Holidays for me is seeing people that I don't see on a regular basis and that I see even less now that I am spending the better part of the year in Guatemala.

May you enjoy your own very special connections to friends and family during this Holiday season.

Good friends, good music, good times, and a good cause.

This is what Success looks like to me!

We held an event to benefit Niños del Lago called Child's Play for Childrens Day. The event was held at the Irish Eyes in Chicago on 11/20 in celebration of Universal Childrens Day, the day the United Nations adopted the convention on the Rights of the Child.

Thanks to the efforts of my good friend and former co-worker, Sue Patel, who generously donated $413 she made in tips and my good friends Jean Erhardt and Andrea Pine who sold $505 worth of Guatemalan crafts, we received a total of $918. Add to that the personal benefit of seeing so many friends in one place at one time and I would say it was a smashing success!

A very special thanks to all of you who invited additional people and to those of you who attended.


Take a look at what your contributions are supporting (the camp construction photos in the right banner give you a good view of our progress). I hope you'll stay tuned to next year and watch the continuing development.

Good bye sandals and sun; Hello coats and clouds

I've had recent technology issues and that has kept me somewhat silent, but I'll be live and in person in the coming months.

A family visit:



Last week, my parents and 2 of my aunts visited me here in Guatemala. Besides visiting the camp site they met some of my friends from the park - Juliana who sells jewelry, Domingo, the shoe shine boy you've seen in prior posts, and Carlos a shoe shine boy in Panajachel who is a little more fragile than the others. His situation is a different story and one that I hope to learn more about and share with you when I return to Guatemala in mid-January.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

I arrive in Chicago on 11/4, attend a fundraising event on 11/20 at the Irish Eyes (click on Child's Play for children's Day), and then move on to Philadelphia area on 12/2 to spend Christmas with my family, meet with a church group, and talk to a group of school children about Niños del Lago. While there, I make a side trip to Baltimore to visit with some very close friends and donors. I return to Chicago the day after Christmas, take a another side trip to Minneapolis to share progress with a group that is being coordinated by one of our donors, and then return to Guatemala on 1/17. Are you tired yet?

Before I forget - our latest Newsletter:

Lots of great photos - worth a look.

Good Bye sandals and sun; Hello coats and clouds:

Hasta Luego (see you later) to all my friends in Guatemala and Hola (hello) to all my friends in the states. Thank you for your support this year!

YEAH!!


I had a personal goal to reach $5000 before returning to the states. Thanks to my monthly recurring donations and my good friend, Micky, today - 3 days before my departure - I've met that goal. Can you see my smile?

Day of the Dead - November 1st

And now I hope to make you smile with some beautiful pictures from today's kite festival - held annually on the Day of the Dead. These are from a small town, Sumpango, about 20 minutes outside of Antigua.

La Vida es difícil (Life is hard)


A man carrying his things in San Juan del Obispo

It's been a difficult year for alot of people. Many of my friends and family have either lost their jobs or are barely holding on in suffering industries. Some have moved to part-time work and others are working so many hours in order to hold down the fort with less people. On top of that, even if you have health insurance, some can't afford to go to the doctors. That's what I hear about in my country.

Life is difficult!

And it is. Yesterday, Paige and I went to visit a small town outside of Antigua called San Juan del Obispo. We traveled on the local bus (typical transportation called a chicken bus) which is a decorated old school bus where people sit three to a seat.

On the seat across the aisle from me was a woman who was holding onto a man while he had what looked like a slight siezure. When we arrived at our destination, one of the young men from the bus, along with Paige and I, helped her get him to his home. Someone needed to carry her things and at times we needed two people besides this woman, his sister, to literally drag him as he resisted leaving the bus.

He has epilepsy. I asked why she couldn't get medicine at the hospital. A recent med student who lived in our house had previously explained to me that medicine was available very cheaply in the hospitals as compared to the pharmacies. The young man who helped us explained that when you have a chronic condition that comes from birth, the hospitals don't support it. If I understood him right, the philosophy is that they keep giving and giving and you won't get better so they can't continue to give. Epilepsy medication falls into this category.

For three pills per day, at Q9.5 per pill (a little over a dollar) it costs more than $3 per day for him to get his medicine. She doesn't have the money. We gave her enough for two days, knowing that it wasn't enough, and wished her much success in finding what she needs for the remaining days.

Another bandaid - I am bothered by the bandaid and the boxes empty quickly. I like to support projects focused on developing the child and helping to secure a better future, thereby reducing the number of bandaids that we need. But wellness is a process and it takes time. I'm not sure that one can exist without the other in a humane way.

Niños del Lago coming alive

video

So much better than pictures! This is from a regular camera so the pictures in the slideshow on the right might still be a good complement.

I mention in the video that we lost a tree to disease - actually we lost 8 trees. Otherwise, we move trees and keep as much of the natural forest as possible. In fact, the clearing that you see in the very beginning is a clearing of brush along with replanting some smaller trees. No large trees were removed from the area.

The cabin's are duplex housing a total of 12 children and 2 counselors. There is a common entrance and shared bath for the counselors. Each side has an open space for the children to have quiet time with their counselor, sleeping room for six and an adjoined counselor's room with a large window to see the children.

I hope you enjoy this and have an even better sense of the work that we're doing here for Guatemala's children.

En Español:

Mucho mejor que las fotos!! Este video se ha realizado desde una cámara normal, así que las fotos en el slideshow de la derecha pueden todavía ser un buen complemento.
Menciono en el vídeo que hemos perdido un árbol debido a una enfermedad… De hecho, hemos perdido ocho. Estamos moviendo los árboles siempre que es posible, para preservar al máximo el entorno natural. El claro que se observa al principio, es un claro realizado moviendo arbustos y replantando árboles pequeños. No se ha movido ningún árbol grande de la zona.

Las cabinas son dúplex, y albergarán un total de 12 niños y 2 consejeros. Hay una entrada común y un baño compartido para los consejeros. Cada uno de los lados tiene un área separada para que los niños puedan disfrutar de privacidad con sus consejeros, una habitación para seis y una habitación para el consejero, la cual estará dotada de una ventana para que éstos puedan ver a los niños.

Espero que disfrutéis el video y os proporcione una idea más completa del trabajo que estamos llevando a cabo aquí para los niños de Guatemala.

Making Local Contacts



Arlaine and I were recently referred to Leonela Martinez (center), the former director of a student organization, AIESEC, and current employee of Guatemala's Habitat for Humanity office. Leonela has whole heartedly embraced our cause and has recently introduced us to AIESEC.

AIESEC is a great organization that provides internship opportunities for students from all over the world -- staffing projects in both the private and public sectors with the intention of developing leadership. They exist to be agents of change. The interns are responsible for thier own transportation to the country where the project exists and they receive a minimum stipend to cover the cost of their living expenses while there.

We met to discuss internship opportunities to design our solar program and begin developing our University Counselor Program. These are programs (among others) which will take center stage alongside of construction. Stay tuned.....

Impressed by an eight year old

A couple of weeks ago, Antigua had a town fair with ferris wheel and amusement park rides. Paige, my housemate, and I were on our way to the fair when we ran into Rebecca, a seven year old girl with whom I often sit in the park.

We asked her if she wanted to go to the fair with us - what child doesn't want to go to a fair? How fun to see the absolute glee on her face as she said yes in one breath and, in the other, asked if she could bring her friend Sandra! Sandra had a brother and Rebecca had a brother and what we thought was going to be one child, turned into four all jumping up and down, clapping, holding hands and hugging our legs (they're short).

We told them they could each choose two rides. We started out on a young person's roller coaster which everyone handled very well. I'm not sure we did the best job of helping them select the second ride. They wanted to go on the above pictured ride and we suggested that it might be too 'rapida' for them, especially for the two little boys aged 5 and 6. The boys agreed that they would instead go on a smaller little ferris wheel but Rebecca and Sandra insisted that this was the ride they wanted.

And so it was. Paige stayed with the two boys and I went on this ride with the girls. Now, I grew up on rides, have always been a fan of amusement parks and have even ridden this ride before BUT the operator had that ride so straight up with absolutely no tilt that even I was uncomfortable.

I looked over at the girls and they were scared to death - eyes wide and staring straight ahead. What I noticed about Sandra though, was that she was relaxing herself by breathing slowly and deliberately through her mouth. I was so impressed. I didn't learn this technique until well into adulthood and that an eight year old girl knew how to calm herself in that way really struck me. Where did she learn that?

The rest of the day was fun. We paused for a drink and surprised them with a final roller coaster ride (Paige had previously bought tickets when we went on it the first time because we naturally assumed that they would be good for all rides in the park but it turned out that the rides were all independently operated and all tickets had to be individually purchased).

And then being the rainy season, just as we were descending the first hill, the rain started and dumped alot of rain in a short period of time all over us. It was a perfect day!

p.s. A few pictures from today in the park


Rebecca, her younger brother Antonio in front (both from the above story) and their amigo Dominic.

Camp Progress

Where do I begin? We've accomplished so much this year and I am excited to show you the pictures that demonstrate the progress we've made toward turning Niños del Lago into a reality. By the end of next month, we will have completed the entry roads, built the bodega (storage unit), prepared six cabin foundations with posts, and planted an avocado orchard.

When I first arrived in February, there was no construction in process - what was there were the very preliminary structures needed to secure the site and have water - fence, entrance, well,small security building etc. The land wasn't even cleared (re: 3/17/09 post).

We began the year working with Aura, our natural architect, to plan, estimate and budget the next phase of construction. For those of you who have done a major renovation or built a home, you probably have an idea of this process. It's time consuming, laborious and often frustrating (the price goes up, we change design in search of the most economical solution, something emerges that wasn't accounted for and it's back to the drawing board). Our approach has been to use natural materials as much as possible, build without destroying trees (in fact Aura will move them before losing them)and make the most economical choices that allow our camp to be sustainable and provide safety to the children. This has not always been easy, but the result - wait until you see!

The slideshow on the top right shows the entry roads, the progress of the bodega (storage unit), the various stages of the first six cabin foundations and a view of some of their placements. The cabins are not very far apart but are built on different elevations giving them a sense of privacy. Also, notice the natural river rock that forms the foundation and parts of the bodega wall. And, I threw in a few pictures from one of my prior visits with a visiting donor and friend so that you can see that I am alive and well.

This is the work that you are supporting and I don't think I can say often enough - Thank You. For those of you who have not yet participated and would like to, please click here: Donate - Niños del Lago . Your contribution, ensures my continuing work here in Guatemala, on behalf of those smiling faces that I'll continue to show you.

(If you're enjoying learning about Niños del Lago and my stories about life in Guatemala, click on the envelope after the post to share it with a friend. Also, add your email address to the 'Subscribe via email'box in the right column. By doing this, you will receive an update whenever I post an entry - much easier to stay in touch than having to check the site periodically)

Click here to see the pictures: Camp Pictures

What's on your list?


I moved to Chicago in 1991 and my two sisters, Rhoda and Joanna, drove with me from Pennsylvania to help me move. On our way, we created lists of what we wanted to do in our lives - you know, jump out of an airplane, learn to play saxaphone and find my soulmate.

One of the things on my list was to get involved in a cause and make a commitment to it. Within the first year of living in Chicago, I became involved as a volunteer in the children's group for Sarah's Inn, an organization that serves families with domestic violence. I volunteered off and on with them for more than 10 years - a year or two at a time depending on my work/travel schedule. I realize now that my cause is 'çhildren' and I wanted a much larger commitment than showing up once a week to talk to the kids for an hour and a half. I wanted to make something happen.

I had forgotten about this and it hit me recently when Arlaine and I exchanged lists. It was amazing that we had so many similar items and even more amazing that I was doing something on my list without even realizing it. What's on your list? Vote to the right or send me an email. (Poll closes and disappears July 5th)

En Español:

¿Que hay en tu lista?

Me mudé a Chicago en 1991, y mis dos hermanas, Rhoda y Joanna me llevaron en coche desde Pennsylvania para ayudarme con la mudanza. De camino, creamos una serie de listas con aquellas cosas que nos gustaría hacer en la vida, ya sabéis, saltar desde un avión, aprender a tocar el saxofón y encontrar a mi alma gemela.

Una de las cosas que había en mi lista era participar en una buena causa y comprometerme con ella. Durante el primer año de mi estancia en Chicago, comencé a colaborar con el grupo para niños de Sarah´s Inn, una organización que ayuda a familias víctimas de la violencia doméstica. Colaboré como voluntaria con ellos durante más de 10 años. Ahora me doy cuenta de que la causa que me atrae, son los niños, y siempre quise un compromiso mucho más grande que aparecer una vez a la semana y hablar con los niños una hora y media. Quería hacer que algo ocurriera.

Había olvidado todo esto cuando recientemente Arlaine y yo intercambiamos listas. Fue apasionante ver como teníamos tantos elementos similares, así como ver que estaba haciendo algo en mi lista sin ni siquiera ser consciente de ello.

The children in the park

Sometimes, when I have run out of aqua pura (bottled water) for coffee, I go to a favorite coffee stand, grab a cup to go, and sit in the park and enjoy the usual beautiful morning. This is where much of the sales work to the tourists is done.

Saturday, I met Dulce Maria, a little girl of six, selling cloth bracelets. I usually don't buy from the children because I don't like the idea of perpetuating the cycle. If I buy, they will continue to sell, right? I am losing my resolve. She told me she was thirsty and had to sell bracelets so that she could buy some water. I didn't have any water to offer her so I bought some of her bracelets (the beautiful turquoise one bled into my white hand towel in the bathroom - I'm going to have to be more careful about that).

The next day, I met Jose (pictured above).

Jose is 12 years old and lives in Chimaltenango (about 30 minutes by bus). He tells me that he doesn't have parents and that he rents a room from a Señora. This doesn't make sense to me. I have a hard time believing that it's true, but it very well could be. On the weekends, he works as a 'shoe shine boy' which is a common occupation for a young boy in Latin America. I wear plastic sandals and am not a good target customer(although one child offered to wash my shoes rather than shine them and when I told him it wasn't important to me he passionately insisted that it was important to him) so instead we talked and he showed me the gaping hole in the sole of his shoe. I was glad to hear that he goes to school and he carried his english book with him. He pointed to sayings like 'you are beautiful' and 'it was nice to meet you' - what a clever and charming little boy, verdad? He is also in the church choir and he sang for me the most beautiful song.

If I see Jose on a Saturday, when the market is open, I am going to ask him if I can take him to buy shoes. I know in this case that I'm encouraging behavior that creates dependency. It is a dilemna that I am stuck with. My first time in Guatemala, I shared my lunch with a little boy and when we were done, he asked me if he could have my chicken bones. It broke my heart. I know that I can't take care of everything and so I do what I can and try not think too much about it or judge how deep or honest the need is. And sometimes, I say "no, not today". The alternative is to become immune to it and stop seeing it. I think I'd rather do a little bit here and a little bit there.

Niños del Lago Newsletter

Hello everybody - I am so happy to post our newsletter (happy to share the news and happy it's over because it's alot of work!!). We have had much going on these past several months. Click on the newsletter link below and you can read all about our progress and what I've been doing in case you're wondering.

Arlaine, shares a part of her story of what inspired her to dedicate her life to Niños del Lago. You'll also read about "yours truly" and Aura who you met a couple of posts ago.

Equally exciting is the kick-off of a fundraising campaign with our Capgemini partner and the beginning of major construction, along with financial details on 2008. Happy Reading!

Newsletter

Why Guatemala

I live in a tourist town and the pictures that I show you have a different face. Here, there is some affluence - and when you hear of violence it is generally in the City and other areas of the country.

I'd like to show you a little bit of the other side and the best way to do that is to share something with you that I ran across today while reading a blog about human rights. It is through this photo-journalist site that you might gain some insight as to "Why Guatemala" and get a sense of current and historical events here. To access MiMundo.org, click on the "Why Guatemala" link above.

Along with a very recent assassination of an attorney who was defending a whistle blower, you'll see accounts of massacres during the war and documentaries on the effects of mining in some of the rural/indigenous towns.

Lastly, I'll share with you a few statistics. According to UNICEF, 70% of indigenous children under 5 suffer from chronic malnutrition and there are regions as high as 82%. The percentage for Guatemala in general is 49%. It also reported that 51.2% of the population are now living in poverty while 15.2% in extreme poverty (less than $1 per day), meaning they cannot meet basic needs for food, water, shelter, sanitation, and health care. Infant mortality and illiteracy are also some of the highest in the Western Hemisphere.

Semana Santa




This is a little bit of old news but I've been under the weather. Here, Easter is celebrated more than Christmas and with much fanfare. Semana Santa, Holy Week begins on Palm Sunday and ends on Easter Sunday. During this period, there are solemn activities replicating the Passion, Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ. There are processions day and night with images such as Christ on the Cross, Christ laid to rest, Mary in mourning - all on floats carried on the shoulders of devoted followers. So that you don't miss this point, the float you see in the air is not motorized, rather is carried by lines of residents on their strong shoulders. Alfombras (carpets) with colored sand, grass, wood shavings and other materials are constructed by residents in the path of the procession, timed to be completed just before the procession is due to arrive. Carriers of the main float are the first to walk on the carpet, followed by the rest of the procession.

On a completely, different note, I can't sign off without mentioning my latest house guest, Aura. Aura, referred to as Indiana Jona, is our natural architect who came to Antigua to review her construction estimates with us. Are you noticing a trend here? Honestly, it's the warm and nurturing culture of the Mexican people (Aura too is from Mexico). I am not asking to be fed (though I am thoroughly enjoying it)!

My first guest

Mayan Weavings

Last week, I went to Chichicastenango, a large Mayan indigenous market in Guatemala, in order to buy weavings to decorate my house. I am intending to rent out two of the rooms (they're beautiful and awaiting your arrival - hint) in order to help with the rent. Por eso, I'm warming them up with some beautiful weavings.

On the way home, I met Raquela, who was befriended by Arlaine, the Queen of befrienders. She was sitting between us and wouldn't you know, she'd not made her arrangements to stay in Antigua. As such, she became my first paying guest (My rooms are very economical in case you really are planning to come to the beautiful city of Antigua - 2nd hint). Raquela is from Guadelajara, Mexico. She does not speak English and so we communicated only in Spanish.

In actuality, I should have paid her. She hung the flags for Semana Santa (more to come on that next week) and in borrowing the hammer and nails, introduced me to my neighbor, Sergio. She also cooked us the most delicious dinner of Chile Rellenos. My first faux paux was when she asked me for help and I said 'no thank you' thinking she had asked if I wanted help. It did turn into a laugh after her initial shock -- what do you mean 'no thank you'? Raquela is also a photographer and after dinner, we walked the city and took pictures of pretending to put gasoline in a motorcycle at a 60 year old gas pump (you had to be there - it really was fun). I thoroughly enjoyed her company and look forward to more guests (you don't have to cook dinner if you don't want to).

Muchas gracias, Raquela. Que eres siempre bienvenida!

A big step for Niños del Lago

We recently participated in a media event in Guatemala City where Capgemini announced their partnership with Niños del Lago and presented us with a check for $10,000 as a donation toward the construction of our camp. I'll continue to try to upload the press coverage - haven't been successful yet - but as you might imagine it was so gratifying to be a part of this. This is a big step for us and a true indication that this dream is going to become a reality.
And so, another land clearing project is scheduled for this weekend where I'll have the opportunity to get bitten by mosquitos and shovel brush into a big pile – I can't wait. Actually, I get to use a machete. It's hard work but it's lots of fun because there's a large group of Capgemini employees who are really dedicated to helping to ensure this camp is built for the children in their country. I wish you could meet them. While the company is making this available as part of their admirable commitment toward Corporate Social Responsibility, there is a genuiness from their employees (and I mean everyone I've met so far) and their clients (OK I only met one) that honors the real intention of their effort. Above are the before and after pictures from our last land clearing.

I'm also including a few photos (below) of my home and the surrounding area so that you can be assured that I have enough to eat (Jean). You can make them bigger by clicking on them. Notice the outside office (not mine - this is at Arlaine's)and volcanoe view (this is from my rooftop terrace).


Take care everyone -- I miss you!!

Let's get interactive and have some fun!!

You may not know this -- I began KrisforKids for three reasons:

1. Keep in touch with my family and friends while I'm away. I may be hundreds of miles away but for my long distrance family and friends, I can actually be in touch with them more frequently through the blog. It's different of course for the people that I used to see regularly. The blog is meant to keep me close to the people I care about and hopefully vice versa. Of course you could do like Carl, and have a picture of me (not my best) sitting on the sofa, propped up on the sofa - very clever, no? To borrow his quote "'It's like you never left - I just look over and there you are"' (that's a joke - of course it's not the same).



2. Expand awareness about Guatemala and the Niños del Lago project so more and more people realize that it doesn't take much to have an impact in this world and that we really can help others build a better life for themselves. I hope to help facilitate this by sharing observations and stories about my time in Guatemala and the people I meet.

3. Raise money for Niños del Lago so that I can help accelerate their progress. Your support is what is allowing me to do this. Without me, Niños del Lago will surely be built. I like to think that my prior involvement in the project and my work experience, is just what's needed to kick us into high gear and allow us to keep pace with the construction. We are working to develop the infrastructure while we are building the camp, so that we are ready with children when the camp is complete.

Help me build the excitement -- Let's get interactive. Take a look after you read this and notice that you can make comments and email me by clicking on the picture of the envelope. I will reply to all emails and I welcome productive comments that will help create the involved atmosphere needed to move this project along and create fun along the way. Muchas gracias, mis amigos.

"What's good for you is good for me"

Where the car died...

Well, it’s been a busy week. I arrived safely in Guatemala on Monday 2/16 and by Wednesday was on my way with Arlaine (Ninos del Lago founder) to our camp site outside of Panajachel. I was going to meet the owner of a house I wanted to rent here in Antigua and also to work on a project to clear brush from the land where the camp is being built. And by the way, I wasn’t fully adjusted to the altitude and was just plain tired!

We had a little trouble getting there. Arlaine had recently purchased what turned out to be a pretty unreliable car and it died in Los Encuentros about a half hour outside of Panajachel. But as is often the case with difficult situations, there were bright moments and bright people.

You should have seen this car. When I first got in and attempted to put the seat back a little, it fell off the track and went tumbling back with me in it. I ended up riding in the backseat while Arlaine chauffeured me in the front seat with the passenger seat leaning up against the dashboard. It was a funny sight and we looked pretty ridiculous.

When we arrived at a backup in Los Encuentros, Arlaine turned off the engine because the waits are often 30 minutes. Big Mistake! The car wouldn’t start back up when the traffic began to move. I got out of the car and approached someone for help with my very rusty Spanish and he looked at me and just shook his head no. Everyone in the area looked at us like we were crazy and stared at my very white legs (I'm always on the pale side but my legs are always pale no matter how brown the rest of me gets).

Luckily we met a very special person in the Texaco station just up the hill. The employees were trying to turn Arlaine away but when the manager came out, everything changed. He and one of his employees looked at the car, determined the battery needed to come out for a full charging at a friend's shop and left with the battery while Arlaine and I waited by the car. After some additional trouble with the contact, they were able to get it started.

We were so happy to be on our way again. Here's the bright spot: the manager wouldn’t accept money for the help that he provided. He suggested Arlaine could give some money to his worker but insisted that it hadn’t cost him anything (we did see him hand some money to the man who charged the battery so we don’t really believe this). His words to Arlaine: what’s good for you is good for me’.

There’s more to come about our land clearing project and I’ll share that as soon as I have the pictures. Until then, take care and remember ‘what’s good for others is good for you’. Hasta Pronto!

Transitioning
















I’ve stepped away from writing in order to take care of the logistics of my move and while it’s been a very hectic two months, it has all progressed to the point of my departure. It’s here.

What a journey! I’ve rented my condo, moved my furniture, set up this blog, said good bye to close friends and just drove from Chicago to Pennsylvania to drop off my car for my little sister to use while I’m away. I spent the night at a Comfort Inn in Barkeysville, PA (never been there before so don’t ask) and thought about how my room is a palace as far as accommodations go for many Guatemalans.

While I’m so glad to have the hard tasks of rearranging my life behind me and am excited to be a part of something that I know is going to have a positive impact on some children who need an introduction into a different world, I feel really sad. Sad to walk away from people I love and sad to know that I will miss sharing experiences with them.

So this is the time to say thank you to all of you who have supported me these past couple of months and helped me to make this transition: my mother, the very first donor to KrisforKids (of course, I know, but still much appreciated); VISANOW, my former employer and first Corporate Sponsor who supported me and made it easy for me to transition out of the company and into an exciting new direction; my friends who are storing many of my belongings while I’m away; my family for just being my family and lastly, Carl for selflessly supporting me during this transition.

I’m back in my hometown now doing some final visiting with my parents and brothers and sisters and some non-Chicago friends. I fly to Guatemala on the 16th of this month. I’ll see you then. In the meantime, take care and stay tuned for Round Two and when the real work begins!!

Meet Coco

video

Coco would normally be one of the 67% of Guatemalan children who don’t attend public school but he is lucky because he attends a school funded by a Dutch organization in his village, Alotenango.

Through his school and its partnership with Niños del Lago, Coco will be able to experience a time away from his poverty and his chores, in a beautiful place where he can exercise his imagination and receive unconditional support and loving kindness.