Vienes con bolsitas (You come with bags)

I just recently moved out of my apartment where I lived for two months (a great view but still not quite right) to house sit for a friend  for the month of December.  I call it the Hacienda.  I live in a little casita with a livingroom, bedroom and bathroom and use the kitchen and dining room in the main house.  I also take care of 2 cats and 2 dogs.  Her house is about a 15 minute ride outside of Antigua.  And by the way, I have use of her car and am driving for the first time in Guatemala.

Today, I walked into Antigua, which is a 50 minute walk.  I wanted to see what the walk was like and get my exercise.  I went to the grocery store and returned by bus to the entrance into the houseing complex.  As I was walking to the house (about a 7 minute walk from the main road) a woman stopped her car and said to me "vienes con bolsitas".  I said, "si de la bodegona".  And she said, "no de el pueblo.  Vives lejos"?  I said, "no estoy muy cerca".  She told me 'yo puedo llevarla' but I told her," no estoy cerca". 

This woman, stopped because she saw me carrying groceries and wanted to know if I lived far away, in the housing community, and offered to take me to the house.  She thought that I'd walked from the local town, rather than having come in from Antigua via the bus and been dropped off at the main road.  The town is about a 15 minute walk.  This complete stranger, stopped to see if I needed a ride to my house because she thought that I'd walked a distance with really two small plastic bags.  It seems that no matter where you go in Guatemala, you are in one small community and there is no end to the neighborliness.

La Uva - Ninos del Lago's unveils its first cabin

November 13th, was a huge day for Ninos del Lago when the first cabin was unveiled and dedicated to the children of Guatemala from the Capgemini employees and Coca-Cola Enterprises.  Present was Capgemini management, responsible for selecting and tirelessly supporting Ninos del Lago as their charity for the Americas; Coca Cola Enterprises a Capgemini client and NDL Donor; Capgemini top performing employees; and of course, future Ninos del Lago children from Esperanza Juvenil, one of the organizations whose children will attend the camp.  Click Pictures to see all those smiling faces and the fun that we had.

The best part:  Kids running through the cabins all excited, asking all about where they'd sleep, what they'd do and when they would get to come to Camp Ninos del Lago.

p.s. I can't seem to make the 'tilde' over the n since my computer was ugraded.  I've already spent hours trying to make it work to no avail.  I'm not giving up though...

A day in the field

As part of setting up the clinic, I visited a couple of villages and talked with future clients of the clinics to find out what they’re already doing for their healthcare. My story for today, is about a family from Santa Catarina (above), or I should say the father and one of his sons. His other children were in school and the mother wasn’t home.

I’d been to several houses that day before coming to this home. Generally speaking, the kitchen is in a separate room with a dirt floor. Most of them have some signs of food, though it’s often just tortillas and maybe a vegetable. In this home, I saw no signs of food.

The man (above) is a carpenter by trade and the brutal rainy season that we’ve had this year has hurt his business (I heard this over and over again with those in agriculture as well). What happens is that because of all the moisture, the glue doesn’t hold. I suppose my point is that even if he were able to work, he still wouldn’t have much but in this case, he had even less.

What moved me is that as we were sitting in his kitchen/sala, he sent his son to the store to buy cola so that he could offer us a drink. I could hear him give this direction to his son and I wanted to jump up and stop him which of course would have been too rude for words. I still get teary thinking about it and I was glad to have on my sunglasses to hide my discomfort.

I’ve experienced this generosity before in other parts of the world too – families with very little themselves offer what they do have to the guests who are sitting in their livingrooms. I’ll bet you have as well. On one trip to Hungary, we arrived at 8am in a small house in a small village and we were given shots of vodka (I think some people call this an eye opener) and their daughters bedroom to sleep in (she slept on the sofa). This family didn’t have much but what they had they shared.

This was different. They had nothing and still gave.

And just so you know that I'm still OK and that it's still beautiful here....

Life happening

You remember that I began working with Niños del Lago more than five years ago and just a year and a half ago, joined the Founder in Guatemala in order to help build the organizational structure. Along the way, you’ve supported me and cheered me on and watched Niños del Lago blossom.

Well, recently, an opportunity to be a part of a health clinic in a village outside of Antigua appeared virtually out of nowhere. Along with it, came the opportunity to take on more direct responsibility and become more integrated into the local community. I think you know where this is leading, verdad? I’ve begun working with them this week to prepare the clinic for it’s opening (date to be determined) and manage the ongoing operations.

The name of the organization is called From Houses to Homes and the clinic, La Clinicas Medicas San Jose, is just a small part of what they do for the families here in Antigua’s surrounding villages. Take a look. I’m sure you’ll agree that this is a worthy venture.

And, so I say good bye to my current relationship with Niños del Lago though not good bye in total. You know that much of my heart is with them and that I will stay connected with the project and smile along with everyone else on the opening day.

In the meantime, I take on a full time employment role with From Houses to Homes as the Manager of the Clinic and look forward to further developing my work here in Guatemala.

Stay tuned!

My new name - Mira Kristina

"Mirar" in Spanish, means "to look". And, I go by Kristina here because it seems more understandable with a Latin ending- there is no such name as Kristen. Mira Kristina - Look Kris!

Yesterday, I took the kids to the zoo. When I asked the parents for permission to take them, one knew of the zoo and the other didn't really know what it was. None of the kids had been there before and asked me to explain it.

The most precious part was the planning; the girls, asked me what they should wear. I've only ever seen them in their one traditional outfit, well actually two different ones, in the year and a half that I've known them. I wouldn't have thought that question would even enter their minds and was really touched, not only by the question but, by the recognition that they are, after all, little girls with the same feelings that other little girls have. They showed up wearing their best huipil's (traditional top) and cortés (traditional skirt). They also all brought new purses (and Rebecca gave me a bracelet and ring as a gift).

I continue to be caught off guard by how the processes are different when you're dealing with those who have few resourcès. There are no clocks and there are no phones. So, even though I recieved permission from the parents of both families to take their children to the zoo at 12:30, departing from the park where they hang out, only 2 of the seven were there at the agreed upon time. In fairness to them, doce y media (12:30) sounds an awful lot like dos y media (2:30).

After tracking down the rest of the kids (I won't go into how we drove to their home to find them and then luckily found them on the way to our agreed meeting place) we were on our way, delayed only by about 30 minutes - a very acceptable delay by Guatemalan standards.

We walked through the zoo, very quickly I might add, as the kids were running, yelling (every 10 seconds) "mira Kristina" a lion, a zebra, an ostrich, monkeys, snakes, foxes (in spanish, of course). And the good news? Some of the older ones were able to read the signs.  The bad news?  Rebecca, 9, can't write her name.

p.s. I would like to thank my friend Emily for agreeing to come with me at the last minute when my housemate, Gina was too sick to join us. Also, Joe Collins, of From Houses to Homes, who paid for the transporation to the zoo and entrance fees, and our driver Mario, with 8 children himself, who was watching closely enough to remind the children to keep their heads inside the van.

Year two at the fair - impressed again

If you read the post 'impressed by an eight year old'(August,2009), you'll know that last year, we took 4 kids (2 kids from 2 families) to the fair in Antigua. I've since met all of the kids from both families and so our trip this year was with 7 kids.

It was a little more difficult this year to arrange because we needed to coordinate with the parents a day we could take them all together. What made it a logistical nightmare was that the older kids had to work (I'm talking about 11 and 12 year olds here selling ice cream and shining shoes)and so the weekends were not an option. During the week, the parents were OK with our taking them when they should be in school (only 2 go to school) but I wasn't. So we ended up settling for a Tuesday evening after school and a slow work day.

There's always something about these kids that impresses me. This time, when we arrived, all rides but two were stopped because the generator wasn't working and they'd had to go to Guatemala City for a new one. There were two manual rides where the operators physically spun them - a small ferris wheel probably no higher than 10 feet and a carousel - both really meant for children younger than the group we had.

Like last year, they were all allowed to select 2 rides. Since there were only 2rides available, and not the fun ones, I thought that they might prefer to leave and return the next day. I know kids are into immediate gratification and tomorrow may never come but what I expected was a little bit of sulking followed by agreement or disagreement. Well, no sulking and emphatic disagreement. They rode the carousel, threw their arms up in the air as if they were on a roller coaster and immediately settled into Plan B.


As promised, I just returned from Panajachel and watched the repair around the bridges and river banks and also crossed the mudslide that has blocked vehicular access to the camp. I don't know that the pictures do it justice.

Here is a picture of the workers passing heavy rocks from the ground up to their work level. I guess it struck me because I'm used to seeing machines do this type of work. They were enjoying themselves -- especially being in pictures.

This is the mudslide that blocked access to the camp. Transportation takes you to the beginning of the mudslide and then you walk across and pick up the transportation on the other side. The path now has built in steps and the path changes because it continues to slide as more rains come.

And lastly, mi amiga, Aura who is not only our architect but a masseus and healer who in one treatment did more for a pain I'd been having for over a month than 6 sessions of physical therapy. This shows you the large rock that is at the start of the mudslide on the day that we walked to the camp.

Check out the link if you want to see all the photos I took this day including a bystander who was having a little fun with his friends and posing for me on one leg.


After the Rains

I sometimes joke about calamities as they are going on because it's one of the ways in which I manage the stress and disappointment that comes from its interference with my plans. Afterward, when the damages are tallied, I feel remorse for having laughed at something that has affected people so tragically.

I no sooner joked about an earthquake we had here a few months ago and a major earthquake hit Chile. And the recent fun that I had with our Tropical storm has come back to remind me that while it helps me personally to laugh at my own situation, it is no laughing matter.

There are people who lost their homes and lives from volcanic lava as was the case here in Antigua just before the storm and from mudslides as was the case all over Guatemala when just days later we were hit by Tropical Storm Agatha.

I have friends in both the Panajachel area and in the Antigua area who were involved in search and rescue and getting aid to people who were not just looking for "stepping stones to cross the river that was the street" but whose cars were in the river and whose homes were buried in the mud. To them, I say thank you!

Lessons Learned during the rainy season

1) Do not get lulled into a false sense of security based on your prior year's experience. Just because last year's rainy season was unusually dry, remember that it actually rains and rains a lot during the season.

2) Make sure you have food in your house.

3) If you find yourself in the grocery store during a drizzle do not say "I'll go to the mercado tomorrow to buy my vegetables and fruits as I normally do” because it may rain, rain, rain - and you may not get to the market. See number 2.

4) Do not wait until the last minute to take a shower before needing to be somewhere. If the electricity goes out, you need enough time to allow your hair to dry naturally – especially if you are going somewhere where you need to wear a dress.

5) When the electricity does goes out and you think it's just that your lightbulb needs to be screwed in a little tigher, beware of your stress level so that you do not break it as you are tightening it. This is especially important if this is your last light bulb because you just broke one two days ago by knocking over your lamp during a breathing meditation.

6) Take your flashlight with you as you walk to the restaurant so that when the streetlights go out, you can find the stepping stones in the river that was the street.

7) Remember to laugh.

Who has lessons to share? Post your comments.

Too late to do what you were going to do.....

Sound Familiar? Last weekend, Antigua lost a Personaje - someone that is a part of the city - someone that everybody knows. Her name is Marcia and she died of peritonitis. Marcia was born with very short arms and non-functioning hands and feet. But, instead of finding her on the corner begging as most disabled people here do, you found her in the square, painting beautiful pictures with a paintbrush in her toes and a smile on her face.

Last month I said to myself "I am going to take a photo of her to share her inspiration with you and I'm going to ask her to paint me a picture".

I was "Going to do it ......". Another lesson learned many times over but not always lived.

All Hands on Deck for 2010

(left to right) Luis Briseño, Luis Enrique Pereira, Arlaine (in back), Gustavo Adolfo Azmitia and Evelyn Herrera.

Last weekend, our Guatemalan Board of Directors visited the site, assessed the progress, and considered our priorities for the year. You may remember that our international board members visited just a few weeks ago. Everybody is now fully engaged for 2010 as we plan on completing at least one full duplex cabin and begin construction on the Main building and perhaps the Education/Arts center (if we're successful with a pending grant application).

A little bit about the local team above -- Luis Briseño, our fountain of information about the inner workings of Guatemala, Luis Enrique, our attorney, Evelyn Herrera, another wealth of information and source of help with the local population (and my Spanish teacher), and Gustavo, whose staff beautifully print our brochures. After our visit, we relaxed and enjoyed a feast at a local restaurant, complete with a celebratory bottle of Scotch (brought along by I won't say who, though not me, to toast commitment to our work ahead) and had a plain old good time.

P.S. Also, our newest addition -- Our Guardiana and Architect at the camp have been caring for the cutest little puppy ever. She needs a home and Sandy, if you're reading this, I know Zelda's a cat but I think she has a little competition.

Niños del Lago Newsletter

Here's the first newsletter for 2010 which reports 2009 financials, construction progress and general news. Also highlighted are meaningful opportunities to participate at the board level through this period of tremendous growth and development. Take a look and let us know if you're interested in any of the areas mentioned.
Niños del Lago Newsletter

Niños del Lago Board Meets in Guatemala

Top: Joni Daidone, USA and Karin Baimaan, Holland
Bottom: Madelon Smelik-Eling, Holland; Emese Szorenyi, USA; Me, Guatemala; Arlaine Cervantes, Guatemala

Our most recent visitors! Last week, our 2 Executive Boardmembers from Holland and one of our Executive Boardmembers from the States (Joni), along with our volunteer web designer (Emese) came to Guatemala to get a first hand look at the results of their very hard work.

If you've been reading the Niños del Lago newsletters, you'll know that we'd not be where we are today without Karin and Madelon who have consistently raised the largest percentage of the funds for Niños del Lago. And if you've seen our brochure, you'll see Joni and Emese's work. In the near future, when you see the redesigned NDL website you'll be even more impressed with them.

Together, we had a demanding and fun schedule which included, on most days, a local activity and a Niños del Lago meeting. This was the first time we met in person as one team to plan the year - and you know how much better these things go when you meet in person. We laughed alot and held productive meetings around communication strategy, fundraising and financials. It doesn't get much better than that.

Lastly - a photo of our home cooked lunch the day after their arrival that has to be shared because Emese (she is not to be missed) was looking down in the above picture, and I wanted you also to meet the two additional people from our Guatemalan Board of Directors. On the left: Ana Maria (short hair) and Evelyn Herrera (wavy hair). Ana Maria heads up a project of her own, a school in Alotenango (future Niños del Lago children) and Evelyn is also my strict (but loving) Spanish teacher who gets that I don't like to study.

Left to right: Karin, Ana Maria, Evelyn, Joni, Madelon, Emese.
I think I was cooking or sitting at the kids table.

To KrisforKids Supporters

It's hard to say everything there is to say in less than 60 seconds and since my last statement was cut off, please do fill in the blank with something that makes you smile. And then, tell me what it is!

Gina and Kris of San Antonio Aguas Calientes

Since returning, I've picked up where I left off and continued to visit the small local towns close to Antigua. Saturday, my new housemate, Gina, and I went to San Antonio Aguas Calientes. This is a town known for its textiles and embroidery.

You might think that since it has textile shops and is so close to Antigua that they would be used to tourists. You would be right. We barely entered the park when the children - OK, just one boy at this point, followed immediately by his friend - were climbing a cement structure in the plaza and asking to have their photos taken. Generally it's the other way around (No, I didn't mean it's usually the tourists who are climbing on the cement structures. I meant that it's generally the tourists asking if they can take the picture). I do not pass up requests for pictures since I like to share them with you. After the first picture, the rest of the kids came swarming. Kids are kids no matter where you go. They love to look at themselves in the camera.

After having a little fun with the young ones, we went into a shop and met Maximilliana. Gina and I weren't shopping but we enjoy looking at the craftsmanship and after talking with Maximilliana, she suggested that she dress us up as if we were from San Antonio and that we take a picture. This was honestly her idea, not ours. She dubbed us Gina and Kris of San Antonio Aguas Calientes. The headcloth protects your head from the sun and serves as a covering for church.

What a pleasant afternoon. In some way, I felt like the local townspeople were the tourists and we were the ones of interest. Maybe since they outnumbered us to the extent that they did on that day, things did shift a bit.

p.s. Maximiliana has six children ranging in age from 8 to 22 and every one of them is in school. That's so rare and absolutely fantastic to encounter.

Traditional Maya Ball Game

This past weekend I went to a local coffee finca to see a presentation of a traditional maya ball game - it was to benefit the organization ChocoGuateMaya.

The game is a combination of basketball, soccer and volleyball and dates back to at least 2500 B.C. It was the first sport in the history of humanity and central to the Maya religious beliefs. It is believed to be a reenactment of a myth where the Hero Twins had to battle the gods of death of the underworld by playing a ball game. The goal of the game was to pass the ball through the ring (top right picture) without using hands and feet - hips, thighs and forearms were allowed. It not only doesn't sound easy, it doesn't look easy, but I saw it with my own eyes.

There is disagreement as to whether the losers went to sacrifice and some even say the winners went to sacrifice. Neither sounds too appealing to me.

Seeking Solar

The Solar Team: Alex, Blanca, Gaby and Blake

I came to the campsite for the first time since I've been back in Guatemala in order to enable solar experts to evaluate the camp for solar energy. With the group was Blake Manson, from Green City Development in the states, Alex, who works with Blake here in Guatemala, and Blanca and Gaby from ECO, a Guatemalan organization that works toward responsible, ecological construction for a more sustainable world.

Together, they will work with us and Capgemini employees in Poland to come up with a solar design to power the camp. We have some of the best resources helping us and I continue to be amazed at how everything just comes together when you are taking steps toward accomplishing your goals and are serious about it. Has that been your experience?

Sidenote: The world is so small. Alex is a friend of one of my house mates here and I'd met him on my first day back in Guatemala. Neither of us had any idea at the time that we'd be working together on a project. What a surprise it was to see him. I admit, I recognized his face and was having a hard time placing who he was - and he had been to my house. You know what it's like when you meet someone in one place and then you see them in a completely different context? It was like that. Sorry, Alex.

Things you see every day become normal, even when they shouldn't be

I came to Guatemala after learning that the average years of schooling in this country is four years and that 3 out of 10 children graduate the sixth grade. This is their normal. Niños del Lago is working to change that.

Niños del Lago is an educational recreational facility that gives children, who rarely see outside thier villages, the chance to experience first hand that their life is not the only life available to them. It may be the first time that the idea seeps into their being that it doesn't have to be this way.

Ninos del Lago works with the neediest children who don't have the resources to attend the public schools and are educated in local school programs offered through social development agencies. Unfortunately, many children end up leaving these classes. We incent them to stay in these schools by making it a requirement of our program. They return year after year as long as they stay in school and in their home programs and they take the lessons they learn at Camp Niños del Lago back to their peers in their community.

We're in our second year of major construction. Last year, I created the structure of the organization while Arlaine, our Founder, focused on construction. We completed cabin foundations, camp roads, roof structures and a storage facility. Together, with the help of our generous sponsors and donors, we brought Niños del Lago to the point where we can open in as short as 18 months if we stay on track with our funding.

This year, we begin construction on the main building and complete a minimum of 2 duplex cabins so that we can provide services while continuing to build to full capacity. When complete, we will receive more than 3,000 children per year.

I know many of you have met Coco before, but take another look and tell me, after you see his smile, if you'd like to help create "a new normal" for him. If someone like me can do this, we all can and you don't even have to come to Guatemala (though I would love to see you - it gets lonely sometimes). Please consider making a donation of $25 and pass this along to someone you know who wants to help make the world a better place for the children.

Let's begin 2010 by changing these things that should not be normal so that Coco can thrive and break out of his cycle of poverty! Donate

**All donations through KrisforKids through the end of Feburary, will be matched dollar for dollar to a maximum of $3,000.

En Español:

Las cosas que vemos todos los días se convierten en normales, incluso cuando no deberían serlo.

Vine a Guatemala después de enterarme de que la media de años escolares en este país es de 4, y que solo 3 de cada 10 niños terminan el 6 grado. Esto aquí es normal, y Niños del Lago trabaja para cambiarlo.

Niños del Lago es un campamento educacional y recreacional que da a los niños, quienes raramente han salido de sus pueblos, la experiencia de primera mano, de que las vidas que llevan no son las únicas vidas que se encuentran disponibles para ellos. Es posible que sea la primera vez que se encuentran con la idea de que no todo tiene que ser como actualmente es.

Niños del Lago trabaja con los niños mas necesitados, quienes no tienen recursos para acudir a las escuelas públicas y son educados en programas escolares locales llevados a cabo mediante agencias de desarrollo público. Por desgracia, muchos niños terminan por abandonar las clases. Nosotros pretendemos incentivarles para que permanezcan en la escuela haciéndolo un requerimiento del programa. Podrán volver año tras año siempre que permanezcan en la escuela y en sus programas, así como que lleven lo que han aprendido en Niños del Lago de vuelta a sus comunidades.

Nos encontramos en nuestro segundo año de construcción. El año pasado cree la estructura de la organización, mientras Arlaine, nuestra fundadora, se centró en los trabajos de construcción. Completamos los cimientos de las cabinas, las carreteras del campo, los tejados y el edificio del almacén. Juntas, con la ayuda de nuestros generosos sponsors y donantes, hemos traido a niños del lago al punto en el que podemos afirmar que abriremos nuestras puertas dentro de 18 meses si seguimos recibiendo donaciones al mismo ritmo.

Este año, hemos comenzado la construcción del edificio principal, y completaremos un mínimo de dos cabinas, de modo que éstas puedan empezar a alojar niños mientras continuamos construyendo para alcanzar nuestra máxima capacidad. Una vez en este punto, recibiremos más de 3000 niños por año.

Sé que muchos de vosotros habéis conocido a Coco ya, pero por favor, volved a mirarle y decidme después de ver su sonrisa si no os gustaría contribuir a crear un nuevo concepto de “normal” para él. Si alguien como yo puede hacer esto, entonces todos podemos, e incluso no es necesario venir a Guatemala (aunque me encantaría veros, a veces se hace un poco solitario). Por favor, considerad haced una donación de 25 euros y pasadlo a cualquiera que sepáis que quiera colaborar para hacer del mundo un lugar mejor para los niños.

Worldview 1/28/2010

Worldview Interview 1/28/2010

This is a revised posting which includes the link to just the Niños del Lago portion of the 1 hour Chicago Public Radio program. Thanks to my friend Jean you can now click on the link and go directly to the interview.

If you like what you hear, please share with a friend by clicking on the picture of the envelope.

Niños del Lago receives radio coverage

Before returning to Guatemala, I was interviewed by Chicago Public Radio's Jerome McDonnell for their Worldview program. The worldview program covers global affairs and has in-depth conversations on world issues and their local impact.

The program will air tomorrow, January 28th. You can hear it on the air on 91.5 at 12:00 and then again at 9:00pm. You can also listen live via streaming on their website at Chicago Public Radio. Otherwise, it will live on their web archive.

What I don't take for granted

I recently received a cool link to vintage ads and found a 1950's ad set in the foreground of the Antigua Arch, probably the most photographed spot in Antigua, Guatemala. I wanted to show you a then vs. now photo and realized that I didn't have a current picture. I have pictures of many things Antigua, but not the famous arch.

I'm not an avid photographer who likes to capture everything I see. I often rely on my mind's eye in exchange for being in the moment. It's just that it hit me that I'd been taking that arch for granted. I know the arch itself isn't a big deal. You get what I'm saying, though, don't you? I ran right out to get a picture.

Antigua Arch 1950's

p.s. Here's what I don't take for granted: everyone who has offered me a room to sleep and a meal during my recent visit to the states (especially Jean's most comfortable bed in the whole world); my renter in the U.S. - she is the absolute best; my new renters here in Antigua - they also are the best; baking cookies with friends; KrisforKids readers; Niños del Lago donors, volunteers and the entire Niños del Lago team; good leaders who move things forward; my family - snow days with my sisters, dinner with my brothers, Christmas Eve with the whole family, and especially the 4th generation; my enduring friendships, new and old; the list goes on......

The Children - Yes!

Have you read "The Invitation" by Oriah Mountain Dreamer, an Indian Elder? I recently ran across it while cleaning files on my computer and preparing for 2010 (I keep poems etc. in a file to look through when I need some inspiration). Here's an excerpt which especially speaks to me --

It doesn't interest me to know where you live or how much money
you have. I want to know if you can get up after a night of
grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what
needs to be done for our children.

Yes! (Full poem below)

En Español:

Los Niños - Si!

Habeis leido “La Invitación” de Oriah Mountain Dreamer, un anciano indio? Lo encontré hace poco limpiando archivos en mi ordenador y preparándome para el 2010. Guardo poemas y citas en un archivo para echarles un vistazo cuando necesito inspiración. Aquí hay un fragmento que me inspira especialmente:

No me interesa donde vives o cuanto dinero tienes. Quiero saber si puedes levantarte después de una noche de pena Y desesperación, cansado y sin poder moverte, y hacer lo que
Ha de ser hecho por nuestros niños.


Full Poem: The Invitation, May 1994, Oriah Mountain Dreamer, Indian Elder

It doesn't interest me what you do for a living. I want to know
what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your
heart's longing.

It doesn't interest me how old you are. I want to know if you
will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dreams, for the
adventure of being alive.

It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I
want to know if you have touched your own center, if you've been
opened by life's betrayals or have become shriveled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own,
without moving to hide it or fade it or fix it. I want to know
if you can be with joy, mine or your own; if you can dance with
wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers
and toes without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, or to
remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn't interest me if the story you're telling is true. I
want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to
yourself, if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not
betray your own soul.

I want to know if you can be faithful and therefore be
trustworthy. I want to know if you can see beauty even when it's
not pretty everyday, and if you can source your life from ITS

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and
still stand on the edge of a lake and shout "YES!"
to the silver of the full moon.

It doesn't interest me to know where you live or how much money
you have. I want to know if you can get up after a night of
grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what
needs to be done for our children.

It doesn't interest me who you are, how you came to be here. I
want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom you have
studied. I want to know what sustains you from the inside when
all else falls away. I want to know if you can be alone with
yourself, and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty