New Hatchlings

Today we went up to the village of Santa Maria de Jesus and saw the new chicken enclosure, nearly finished, and the new chickens, who are being sheltered in a neighbor’s fenced yard until the big enclosure is finished.  Then I got to meet many of the Taq Rumial children and their mothers and grandmothers at a little party.

They made my mother and I a beautiful traditional dish called pollo pepian (chicken in a chili sauce).  We had speeches and lots of jokes and I got to hold one of the babies, and we handed out the school supplies.  The children and mothers and grandmothers were really pleased – lot of happy faces and hugs, and a few restrained tears as well.  The whole party was very bilingual, in Spanish and Mayan.




Elementary School Students

I need to find some way to make sure the older children can get to middle school, or in a few cases keep going to middle school, and that is really the worst challenge, as the middle schoolers have to take a bus and round trip is 7 quetzals per day, when some of the mothers only earn 20 or 30 Q a day.  Not all of the mothers are single, I was mistaken about that, Taq Rumial is a women’s empowerment group, and some of the ladies are married, some are grandmothers caring for their grandchildren.  The married ladies who have husbands working may get additional income of 30 Q a day, and some of the children work in the fields to help earn money for the families.  Family sizes range from two to five or six, with a larger number being more common.  With an average of five mouths to feed, and an income of 30 to 60 Q per day (that’s 4 to 8 dollars per day) affording a dollar a day for transport to middle school by bus is pretty unfeasible.  And then school supplies are not provided.
Our party was in a hut  in a small yard area made of cinder block half way up the walls, then tin, with a tin roof.  The floor was pressed dirt, and the light came from the door and the fire place and one window with no glass.  Even so, it was so cozy and hospitable because of how wonderful the ladies were to us.  The lady who lives there, Juana, also had flowers growing.
They loved meeting my mother and we made jokes about the group finding her and another older woman husbands, double wedding etc etc.  There is no running water in that living space, and in fact that part of the village does not have a good source of running water at all, it is on alternate days, and the ladies carry water on their heads in jars to their washing/water storage area.  I have photos of the washing area, of them teaching me how to carry water on my head etc but will just sent a few photos in a moment if I can figure out how to upload on my moms pc! – Oonagh

Oonagh carries water