Books Worth a Look

  • Little Bee by Chris Cleave - This book is a must read. Better than anything else I've read, it takes you vividly into the life of a person in the 3rd world who has no choice but to escape. It is brilliantly written & works well as an audio book. Often I've sent info about the wonderful refugees I've met in Europe. We know only so much of their plight as it is painful for them to recall much less live through again by recounting it. But over time it is clear what they've lived through. This book is excellent as you discover the horrors of their world. Somewhat how to me, it is like being in Europe near a Concentration Camp. One has an obligation to visit it. 'Never to Forget.' In this case, to have our eyes opened.
  • Garbage King by Eliz Laird - The book is set on the streets on Addis Ababa, in Ethiopia and here lives Mamo and his sister Tiggist. When Mamo's "uncle" offers a job, he soon sets out on a bus to work. Little does he know that he is actually being sold into slavery...

Monday, November 15, 2010

An Afternoon to Remember

Servando, Pat and a young lady from Guatemala City visiting Santa Cruz,

In August while at Santa Cruz on Lake Atitlan, I met Noê & Servando. Servando who was then 15, lives in Santa Cruz. He is quite a personable young man. He gave me his email address & has kept in touch regularly on Facebook.

To be honest I was a tad unsure as my Spanish is still in its formative stage! Not to worry! Servando is an amazing, talented and affable young man. We quickly began talking over the lunch menu. He asked me many intelligent questions:

  • What music did I like?
  • What my family is like?
  • Was I religious?
  • Is futbol popular in the U.S.?
  • Have I heard of "Rammstein," a German industrial metal band formed in 1994?
We talked at length about careers. He wants to work in cinema. We talked about the advantage of researching several possible options just in case the cinema field did not work out.

Enter the young lady from Guate (Guatemala City). She overheard us talking. It turns out she is familiar with cinema in Guate & has specific contacts for Servando. Gracia a Dios! This was terrific for him. Later in the conversation, I was able to obtain recommendations of Guatemalan & other Latino films to use to improve my Spanish at home. A muy amable chica!

Enter Pat Tropie I met Pat on Servando´s Facebook friends page. Pat is from Washington State & lives in Santa Cruz 6 months a year. She is head of an NGO which assists Santa Cruz youth in many important ways. Please check the site out at

There we were, the four of us, talking animatedly about the experience of Lake Atitlan and their youth. As is often the case, words cannot adequately express how impressive a young man Servando is. A truly gifted individual personally, in his contributions to Santa Cruz, in his interests, and I think future.

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Thoughts on the amazing people I get to meet.

Rich, my 19 year old friend, soon to be Franciscan and recent community member at Haley House in Boston. An article he wrote.