The kids had been looking forward to this for weeks—the day they would be promoted to the next grade! Unlike in the US, this calls for a special ceremony and celebration, and each of the four students in the Bethel classroom, as well as three who attend school in the community, could not have been more excited. Nineth, the teacher, and Chris and Donna Mooney who head Bethel, had been gracious enough to invite me to the celebration.
|Donna Mooney and Sonya|
|Chris Mooney and Henry|
Each invited adult was thanked for their support of the school program, and we were presented with photos of the entire class. Believe me, a pop-cycle stick frame has never been so precious, especially knowing the struggle the kids went through to make it. Mine proudly hangs on my bedroom wall.
One of the most tender moments of the day was when Fidel presented Chris and Donna with a picture he’d drawn for them. This may not seem like a lot coming from a twenty-something year old, until you realize that Fidel can only write, draw and operate his computer by using his foot. This simple drawing was a work of love as well as a beautiful present.
As with all Guatemalan celebrations, graduation would not be complete without food—and we had plenty. Again I teared up as I watched each adult tenderly helping the children eat their treats. These staff members are amazingly dedicated to the welfare of the kids, and know each of them and their stories. These folks make it a joy to go to the orphanage each day.
This may have been the first time I was able to participate in this ceremony, but I surely hope it will not be the last! Thanks, Nineth, Chris, Donna, Fidel, Sonya, Veronica, Moises, Byron, Henry and Maynor for including me. I love each of you!