feeding the elderly, playing Bingo, and visiting with our sponsored students

This morning’s breakfast of champions included pancakes and bacon.  That was our fuel and headstart for another great day of service and fun.

We were picked up at 9:30 this morning and taken the Guate way (standing in the back of a pickup truck) to a preschool where we were audience to young children performing the corn dance.  They wore traje from various villages in the area and were an example of how the colors and designs of the indigenous clothing represented their Maya culture and “home” village.

Afterward, we visited the new office location for FundaMaya, a major supporter of indigenous causes in the Lake Atitlan region.  It was wonderful to see the cohesion of staff and logistics, and the mutual respect the leadership and staff had for one another.  They made our day special, and even provided us the ability to visit with three sponsored students on very short notice.

The main activity we did today with FundaMaya was to feed the elderly at the community center in San Jorge La Laguna.  I’m not exactly sure how we “rated” but we were honored to be able to serve them pulique, a Guatemalan dish that is normally reserved for weddings and other very special occasions.  It was delicious!  I’m so glad we were given the opportunity to eat with them, as we also had meatless tamales  and a special hot corn drink called atol de elote.

But, in addition to the chance to feed them, we also got to play with them and enjoy their company.  We played Bingo before the meal, and handed out prizes to the winners.  We ended up playing until all of the participants had won, as we had prepared two prize bags per person and weren’t “dumping the cards” after each win.  Check out the joy of winning at Bingo!

Scott called the numbers, and all of the rest of us helped the elderly find the called numbers on their cards. Trent was responsible for handing out prizes from the prize bag.  We collected a variety of prizes, including food and hygiene items, and each prize bag also included quetzal coins or bills.  Ironically, the items in the highest demand (winners wanted to trade if they didn’t get them) were bars of soap and tubes of lotion.  We’ll know for next time to bring more of those things!

When Bingo and lunch were both cleared from the table, the elderly had lined up to greet each of us with hands slightly uplifted in a prayerful pose to show their thanks for the meal and to offer blessings to each of us that helped provide it.  What a wonderfully warm and friendly group!

When one woman came to the “receiving line” for everyone in our group, she broke down in tears and told Gloria and Sharon (two of the founders of FundaMaya) how she had been kicked out of the home she was living in and had to be out right away.  She has nowhere to go and no family to support her.  She didn’t know what she we was going to do.  That was hard to process.

The last part of our day with FundaMaya included the ability to visit with our sponsored students.  Elder, the 11th grade young man that is studying with a focus on accounting,  wants to go to university after high school and aims for a degree as an auditor.  He is doing well, is happy, and is getting good grades.  He is also on the soccer team at his high school.  His mother works as a cook at the feeding center, so it is easy to arrange visits!

While Trent visited with his personally sponsored students, the rest of us toured San Jorge.  Check out these photos!

At the end of the day, we enjoyed a jovial dinner at Guajimbo’s, one of our favorite restaurants in Panajachel.  Tomorrow we head to Antigua, with a stop at the Backyard School.

2 thoughts on “feeding the elderly, playing Bingo, and visiting with our sponsored students

  1. Jennifer, thank you for sharing your adventures. I am absolutely loving being able to follow along. You are doing such wonderful things down there for so many people. Very inspirational!

  2. That was so interesting and fun to read about your visit. Great experience for your kids to travel and see how the rest of the world lives. I hope the elderly woman finds a place to live. My dream is to win the lottery and build a senior living facility in Pana or San Jorge.
    Have a safe return home!

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