Friday, November 30, 2012

The Pig Family

The family with the pig

In a place where it seems everyone's name is Carlos, Jose, Maria, Sandra, Perez, Lopez, Hernandez, or Valesquez, etc., it's difficult to remember the names of people.  We visited a couple of families recently  and later I asked Chris about a certain one.  He didn't know who I was talking about and I didn't know their names so I said "The family with the pig living in their house....the pig family". From here on out, they will be known to us as such.  We also have "The Tree House Family" because they live a little ways out of town, up on the side of the mountain, in the woods.  Being there reminded us of being up in a tree house.  There was "The Plastic House Family" because they lived in a home made of plastic.  Sometimes the reference is funny and sometimes not.

This couple, Paulina and Casimiro,  live in a home/area with one of their sons, their daughter and grandson. They sleep on their only bed and Paulina and Casimiro sleep on the floor.  This is one of the roughest homes we have seen - made out of sheets of lamina with gaps at the top where the cold air blows in and probably rain too, dirt floors and of course, the pig right in their cooking area with a few chickens.  Do you know how dirty pigs are?  If not, check out Google because if I go into those details I would be talking inappropriately and I tell my boys not to do that.  It's disgusting, not to mention a health hazard. He's not their only hazard though.  There are the elements they are exposed to and they cook over an open fire on the floor.  Just from meeting this couple, you can tell life has been hard for them and they struggle to get by.  They have a son and his family who live next to them in a small, two-room concrete house.  We have seen this before - kids and their families live "inside" while the older parents basically live "outside".
pila where they wash
the pig 
their stove

where they sleep
their son, daughter and grandchildren
their granddaughter 
guys from Church on the Way bringing food
great guys from Church on the Way

Difficult story but it has a happy ending....they are getting a new home - thank you Church on the Way.  Can't wait to post the update!  The gift giving season is upon us and this family will receive one that will change the way they live and put a little hope in their hearts.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

School is Out!

We've whined and complained for 10 months, but now it's time for a little break - school is out.    Woohoo - we could not be happier!  Jed had a little Prekindergarten program and Jack had a fancy graduation.  Nothing special for Jon other than pure joy.  Here are some pictures....

So excited to be going to our little brothers program

A little toy soldier

The paparazzi of parents

Very proud of our boy!

Jack's cupcake was the only one with blond hair :)  

A Wedding for Miriam

The Tulio Family
We've met many couples who live together and are not married.  In spanish, they refer to each other as "spouse" but we've learned that it doesn't necessarily mean they are "casado" or married - they are "unidos" which means together.  They love each other, are committed to each other, have kids together but never had the wedding.  In asking a few questions, the answer is always the same - they didn't have money for a wedding.  No surprise for people who live in poverty.  Here, weddings are a big deal and expensive. You have to feed and entertain LOTS of people.   The same goes for funerals.  The moment someone dies, the family starts buying food to prepare for all the people who will come to pay their respects - it can be over 100 people.  There is no option.  They will borrow themselves into great debt for a lost loved one.  I'm sure some will do the same for a wedding but not the ones we know.

The happy couple

Marco and Miriam met in their youth group at church.  One day there was a picnic at a park.  They got to talking and here we are, 10 years later. They have lived together for 8 years and have two precious kids - Selvin 7 and Kelly 1.  We met them because they received a 12x12 house - read about it here.  A few weeks ago, we had some friends in town.  We went over to visit and got to talking. They told us about their upcoming wedding at their church. Every 2 - 3 years, the church puts on a wedding for couples who want to get married but don't have the money.  They provide all the food, music, cake, ceremony, etc.  The whole church helps out to make it a special day.  As Miriam was sharing, she told us that they were going to wear their regular clothes, nothing fancy.  Now, if you haven't read about their house yet, they are POOR.  They barely have money to eat and sometimes don't even have that.  We asked them what they needed and they said "nothing" - they never want to ask us for anything and rarely do.  They feel that we have blessed them so much with their house that they do no want to take advantage.  It was like pulling teeth out of a bear to get them to let us help pay for the cake, punch and flowers - at this point we didn't know the event was for 500 people! so we only helped with flowers and part of the cake.  As we were leaving, we were all thinking the same thing - we have to get them proper clothes for the wedding.

At the paca - we found the dress! 
A few days later, we headed to the paca (used clothes market) in Antigua.  If we were in the US, we would have gone to a place like David's Bridal to shop but "Dorothy, we aren't in Kansas anymore."  So where do we go?  The paca.  This is the place that stuff  Goodwill can't/won't sell goes to die.  There are different vendors set up who have tables with piles of clothes to pick through, some have things hanging up and sometimes there are piles of stuff on the ground.  Nothing is in order according to size, etc.  It was a small task to try and find all the clothing this family needed but after a few trips, we got it all - dresses, shoes, shirts, pants, jackets, ties, right down to little tights for baby Kelly. 

Natalia (Miriam's mom), Kelly, Selvin, Marco, Miriam

The wedding was lovely and the church was so kind in hosting this event.  There were 3 other couples who got married that day as well.  The mayor came and preformed a civil ceremony first followed by a church ceremony and then a big reception.  I've said this before and you will hear it again and again,  it really is a privilege for us to be part of all what  God is doing here.  I don't know how Miriam felt about what she would wear to her wedding or even if she prayed for God to provide something nice but He did.  God has used us and a few of our friends many times to help this family with food, medicine, clothes and now their wedding.  It's not us, it's Him and it's an honor to be His hands and feet. 

Baby Kelly