Sunday, September 29, 2013

New cell phone number for Marielos

Olga, the psychologist emailed and indicated that Marielos had something "muy serio" (very serious) to discuss with me and that she would be taking Diego's session the following Monday at my house.  I assumed that it was about money, that she was getting threats from some of those whom she owed.  As the children were all happily ensoncsed in my living room with various tech devices the three of us went into one of the bedrooms to talk.  I found myself thinking "anything but that you are pregnant again."  Almost immediately my worst fears were confirmed when, through tears, Marielos blurted out "I am pregnant."  And then to compound matters she had quite obviously convinced Olga that the imprisoned Alex, six years into a vasectomy was the father of the baby.  This new unwanted life was allegedly the result of her visit to the prison to tell Alex that she wouldn't be coming to see him anymore.  She had blamed me telling him that I would pull my support of the children if she continued to visit him. Not true and being made the fall guy made me a bit nervous in this land of little justice but I had decided that any excuse was OK.

No wonder Diego had been having issues with his mother.  And all this time I thought those television novelas were based on fiction.  I told my maid who was around when Alex had the vasectomy.  She indicated that Alex had gone back twice for re-checks and had been assurred by the doctors that he could never father another child.  Further she said that he had been issued a "sperm free" certificate.

Consequences are not something often considered at this socio-economic level.  Just say what is necessary at the moment. This is likely a result of growing up thinking that there may be no future as a result of dire poverty. Marielos has succeeded in destroying an already fragile relationship with Alex's older children. For once, their father is innocent.  Denis tells me that Diego is on the verge of leaving home. Estela has said that he could come and live with them.  She has always maintained the innocence of children and has always been willing to make room for one more, if necessary. "It would be good for Denis, " she told me.

I gave Diego some bus money to keep in his backpack along with my cell phone number just in case but I think his extended family will offer him the support he needs. I have not had the chance to confront Marielos as she spent a week in the hospital threatening to miscarry which, unfortunately, did not happen. She is now hiding out at home while her older, fairly sensible sister is filling in for her at work and in caring for her children. When I ask Gladys about Marielos she shakes her head and says "mas o menos." When I question whether she is referring to her head or her body she indicates both.  She agrees with me when I say that Marielos needs to tell the truth. She has even told her family that Alex is, miraculously, the father of the child she is carrying.

In the meantime Olga tells me that Diego is very angry with his mother.  He does not believe the baby is Alex's and questions how his mother can care for another child when she can't take care of the ones she has. A lot for a ten-year old to absorb.

As I had been asked to give a demonsration of both on and offline educational content to group of business people concerned about the shabby state of education in Guatemala, I decided to have Diego accompany me and run the computer.  He was a great success and went around the room helping people he might otherwise never have met to log on to the offline content from running on a $35 device called a Raspberry Pi. I drove him home around 8:30pm and noticed that his face was glued to the car window.  I asked him if he had ever been in Antigua at night before and he said "no." Ten minutes from home a whole new world of people wandering around at night, having a good time. This is unknown in the villages for a number of reasons: poverty, lack of security, long work days and no place to go.

Diego, 10, showing business people how to access offline educational material

Jackie has returned to her studies and seems determined to succeed academically.  I think that her mother is making room for that one more innocent child.  Jackie turned up yesterday with Astrid looking and acting brighter than she has since prior to meeting up with her sperm donor.

Astrid is dreaming about a visit to the United States next summer at the invitation of my brother and his wife. She was overwhelmed to learn that it might be possible to visit the US legally, with papers. We shall see. Once she has a passport we will tackle the visa process.

Denis often doesn't say much but his wheels are apparently always turning.  I recently took him to visit an NGO sponsored school in a nearby community and asked him to take photos for me.  He has a very good eye for photography though is still lacking in some technical skills. On our way back to my house he asked me if I would be going back to that school and I told him that I would be in about a month's time. "Can I come?" he asked. I wondered what it was that had so intrigued him about the school. It might have been that much of their funding comes from the Manchester United Soccer team in the UK.

School of Hope by Denis Turuy

School of Hope by Denis Turuy

The littlest ones remain oblivious to the pending addition to their family.  They continue to thrive in school and show tremendous potential and I am hopeful that the behavior of their mother won't ultimately compromise their progress.

Little interest in television.

Mishelle, 5, showing the owner of her school her
favorite learn to read app, "Learning with Homer"

Diego and I have another gig to demonstrate how motivated kids can circumvent the government system and educate themselves at a minimum cost in hardware and no cost in software.  We are hopeful that one of these days Diego will be invited to demonstrate his "home schooling" to the Ministry of Education.  You might recall that Diego is receiving no school credit for this year as that was the deal we cut to get him enrolled in a bi-lingual private school.  Our goal through his "home schooling" and English tutoring is to have him be placed where he belongs at the start of the new school year in January.

So, the rainy season ends on October 15th according to the locals, the volcano Fuego never stops going off, school vacation (also the coffee picking season) starts in six weeks, earthquakes come when they may, eggs, vegetables and fish are delivered to the door, drama occurs with great regularity and travel is curtailed when the roads wash away. But all in all it makes each day an adventure.

A typical brief but serious September downpour.

Fuego doing its thing most any day.

Organic eggs delivered to the door.

No comments: