Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Reflection on July 12--By Dn. Mark Baker

We have discovered that Guatemalan drivers enjoy leaning on their horn. Last night, Father John and I made some guesses about when the evening cacophony would begin. My theory was that the World Cup revelers would be so drunk, they would not be able to riot until the next morning. Father John believed the infernal racket would begin much earlier, which it did. Perhaps that is why we missed the trivial matter of a volcanic eruption.

Today was the first day of summer camp – The Chocolate Train. The children can’t go to summer camp, so the idea behind this mission trip is to bring summer camp to them. The children are organized into four groups (named for St Matthew, St Mark, St Luke, St John, of course!). Each group has ten or eleven children, and there are two team members assigned to each group. Each group rotates through four ‘stations’, which are the designated areas for the various activities. There is one station for games, one station for crafts, one station at the bakery, and one station at the pool. It was difficult to tell who was having the most fun – the kids or the mission team.

In the afternoon, the children were gathered together in one of the classrooms, where each of the team members made a brief presentation about themselves. We told the children about our families and where we lived, and about our home church. The children had delightful questions for each of the team members: “What is your favorite color? Do you have any pets? …” Silly stuff. We had fun.

Many of the children at the orphanage have been abused, and many have learning disabilities. One of the team members, who copes with a learning disability and is also a survivor of abuse, spoke to the children about their own experience. The speaker encouraged the children toward self-acceptance and confident faith in God, the Great Physician Who heals all wounds. We wrapped up the classroom session with an eclectic slide show of world events presented by Madre Yvonne.

Madre Yvonne is the peaceful, serene, and unflappable head of the orphanage. Every good thing that happens at the Hogar takes place because Madre Yvonne makes it happen. She manages the children, the staff, the daily operation of the orphanage – everything – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. She loves the children with a passion, and is constantly watching over them like a mother hen.

BTW, the mosquitoes in Guatemala are of a different breed than those in the States. These mosquitoes are totally immune to insect repellent. One of the staff members told us, ‘the mosquitoes think repellent is a sauce or a condiment for their main meal.’

Your prayers,

Dn. Mark

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