Dick called about 8 this morning, to tell me we would be leaving later than expected—he needed to wait for his clothes to dry! Why did this not surprise me? I’m in Guatemala. . .it’s Dick. . .’nuff said.
About 10 he called, saying he and the boys, Abner and Daniel, were leaving Chimaltenango and would meet me at Pollo Campero’s in about 15 minutes. So, I went, caught a tuk-tuk, and beat them there by about 5 minutes. Was feeling pretty self-satisfied at getting a suitcase and a backpack down there by myself—until Dick confessed that he thought he’d driven right past the house where I’m staying! Why am I not surprised? I’m in Guatemala. . .it’s Dick. . .’nuff said!
After stowing my stuff in the back, we were off for the area around Santa Rosa. The two and a half hour drive was beautiful, and quite restful for me. . .of course, I wasn’t driving. This was actually, though, one of the calmest trips I’ve been on with Dick—no real narrow misses and I only have a few more grey hair from his passing two to four vehicles at one time. The trip gave us a good chance to catch us, as Abner and Daniel were busy with their MP3 players in the back seat. I not sure they said more than 2 words in the car the entire way. Boy, my kids NEVER traveled like that! We took a fairly leisurely pace, even having time to stop for ice cream in Esquintla.
Arriving in Barbarena we stopped at our hotel, checked in, had lunch, and headed for Chilapa to pick up Erik. He runs a bicycle repair shop near the home of one of the families we were to visit today. Erik has invested much time and effort attempting to help the people in his area, and was instrumental in setting up a wheelchair distribution there a while back. He is a genuinely kind man. He rode with us up to Wilmer’s house.
Wilmer is a great little guy who Dick met at this wheelchair distribution. Together Dick and Erik were able to find a teacher to work individually with Wilmer since he experienced too much ridicule when he tried to attend school. As we got to the house, Wilmer greeted us at the gate, riding a small trike that he seems to prefer to his wheelchair when in the house. We had a short time to visit with him and his sisters and brothers before Mama returned home. She could not wait to show us Wilmer’s school work, which was top-notch. His teacher was coming up with things for him to do that were not only at his beginning reading level, but age-appropriate and even interesting.
We then set off to pay Betty, the teacher, who we were told lived only a short distance up the road. Now, you have to realized that time and distance are measured differently in Guatemala than in the States. I’m not quite sure what their unit of measurement is in reality, but, let’s just say that a “short” distance tired me out (especially since it seemed to be all uphill). And I’m not sure if it’s the altitude or the proximity to the equator, but 10 minutes takes a lot longer down here.
After Dick threatened to have a heart attack at least twice, we finally arrived at Betty’s home, to find she was not there. After talking with her sister-in-law, it was decided that we would leave Betty’s pay with Wilmer’s mom. We also discovered how Betty had chosen to work more hours than she knew she was being paid for, because Wilmer was willing to work so hard and was excited about this opportunity to learn. I’m sad I didn’t get to meet this dedicated and creative woman.
For some reason, the walk back seemed much quicker (downhill?). After we discussed arrangements for Wilmer’s trip to see the doctors at Hermano Pedro, Maria, his mom, asked if there was any way his younger brother Walter could possibly see a doctor also. Dick and I had been discussing how to approach this topic, since Walter appears to have a number of medical problems that need attention. Once again, God came through for us, and Mom herself asked for this help. It’s great to offer to help people, but it’s also so easy to come across as “know-it-all” Americans that it’s better when the request comes from the person themself. When this was settled, Maria had one last request before we went—she knew of a little girl in her area who could not walk and didn’t have a wheelchair. Would we have time to measure her for one? Well, if you know Dick, you know the answer was an immediate “yes.”
Maria went with us to show the way, knowing full well she would have to walk home the distance it took us about 15 minutes to drive. I am continually humbled by the willingness of people who have so little to do so much to help others. How she and her young daughter would cover the distance home, I couldn’t imagine. Then there was Erik, who left his shop with no notice in the middle of the day to go with us. Here I’d been complaining about the walk to Betty’s house. Forgive me, Lord, for my addiction to my own comfort.
Our activities had taken us quite a bit longer than planned, and I was a bit disappointed that I would not get to meet Bayron until tomorrow. Bayron was the deaf child I’d brought down a communication system for. Little did I know what God had in mind.