|Veronica, 13, lacks confidence, could use a tutor|
I was expecting to see Veronica, 13, and Elmer, 8, but there was a third child with them. Diego is 6 and indicated that he is very eager to go to school so he will. Elmer and Veronica both demonstrated their reading skills. They are both in the same grade despite their age difference. They will enter fourth grade in January. Elmer is an excellent reader while Veronica is coming along (Jackie needed to help her). She is perhaps inhibited by a lack of confidence not uncommon in girls in this country, sadly. I gave each of them a package of educational games, one math based and the other language based. I found myself wishing I had the time and the patience to tutor Veronica.
|Diego, 6, wants to go to school|
|Elmer, 8, reads like a champ|
|Which 8-year old grew up in the US?|
The very poor neighbors next door have been discovered by an aid agency that is building them a very small cinder block house and is now sponsoring the girls to continue in school. Every December I send them replacements for their two water filters filled with staple food items. There are seven children in this family. The eldest son is married and I was dismayed to see his young wife cradling her third child. Estela reported that she had tried to get her to go to the WINGS (www.wingsguate.org) office in Antigua for some family planning assistance but that she was not interested. Perhaps this family will only ever understand the hazards of 7 children bearing 7 children and so on when they run out of space on their tiny little plot of land. If we can just keep the girls in school there is a chance that they won't all have seven.
What does 2011 bring for Guatemala?
New York Times columnist, Nicholas Kristof, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/30/opinion/30kristof.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=nicholas%20%20kristof%20spanish&st=cse is recommending that everyone study Spanish which could help the Spanish schools and teachers in Guatemala.
CNN recommends Guatemala as the #8 out of 9 places one should visit in 2011.
Elmer and Veronica can read and Diego will get to go to school Hopefully, Amadeo too. Jackie starts a bi-lingual "diversificado" (high school) this month and spends most of her free time with my old Kindle that I loaded up with books in Spanish for Christmas. Denis is using iTunes to put music on a Nano for his mother.
Two well qualified women gained high government posts based on merit over male contenders.
The Mexican drug cartel, the Zetas, has moved into the Coban area and has declared war on Guatemala.
Although the tourist areas are quite well patrolled the average Guatemalan suffers daily from a lack of security and corruption at all levels of government.
ABC News launched a year long series called "Be the Change, Save a Life" with a piece on malnutrition and stunting in Guatemala anchored by Christiane Amanpour.
http://abcnews.go.com/2020 Look for the December 17th piece entitled "Tortillas and Coffee as Baby Food."
The first North American producer of Plumpy Nut, a highly acclaimed nutritional supplement, Edesia, is seeing that their products get to some of the neediest in Guatemala.
Riecken Guatemala has received a donation to build a new community discovery center in nearby Jocotenango which will not only change the community but be conveniently accessible to visitors to Antigua.
So, it is still a muddle but a pleasant, always entertaining muddle. Where else can you experience perfect weather, stunning views, $15 gourmet meals, devastating poverty, AK-47s, talented craftsmen and happy smiling people on any given day?