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...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

How nice and 6 hours in San Pedro

How nice!

Arriving in San Pedro la Laguna via mini van and lancha, I met a delightful couple from England /New Zealand. We plan to meet later this week for lunch.

Ah, the sun, so warm - all 3 layers off!

After checking in with the school, I was off to the Tuch family. Like coming home, such a warm welcome. After sharing small gifts I brought from Andalucia, I headed out for lunch and a nice walk.

6 Hours in San Pedro vs. 48 hours in Xela!

Ah, que bueno! There´s nothing like returning to a place you like without the need to figure everything out.

My homestay is in a Mayan neighborhood. As I made my way toward the lake, I entered what the locals call ¨Gringo alleyIt´s actually not that bad. Lots of little restaurants, wifi places, Spanish schools, tiendas. What makes it quite pleasant is that the road is wide enough, barely for a smaller car, and it makes sharp 90 degree turns several times.

Along the way, I went into Tony´s, an ex-pat from Holland. He sells used paperback books - great found a Jack Higgins book whichwill require no sustained thinking!

After a very delightful lunch, I went to Zooland, which in Hebrew means a place to rest. As I sat, reading ´Prensa Libre,´ a good Guatemalan newspaper with an insert of NY Times Sunday news, I could not help observing a Hasidic young man talking in a very animated fashion to 6 young Israelis.

When I was leaving, unsure but fianlly decided yes, I asked them if they minded me asking what he was talking about. Apparently there is a worldwide Jewish mystical religous group. He was trying to get them to come visit it.

I´m glad I got over my hesitation to approach them because we began an interesting conversation about religion in Israel, Israeli military service, events in Cairo etc.

As I prepared to leave them, Itay, a young Israeli asked me if I would ask my Mayan homestay if they would be willing to sit and have tea. I said I´d ask and get back to him.

How wonderful, an interest in meeting with local people. It just occured to me though, that their Spanish is basicaly non existant and my local family´s English is worse - hmm I´d best get back pronot to my studying!

I completed my walk along gringo alley making my way toward the Pana dock. All of a sudden, the magnificent lake comes into view. Along the way I met a young man from Switzerland who promptly asked me ¨Do you not speak spanish?¨ So we did. An interesting feeling of being with a person who demanded full out effort!!

So a quite different start to a week! Mrs. Tuch made a point of saying my room this time was their best. Indeed!

So it´s back to my homestay and then to Mass at 6 p.m. Mrs. Tuchs did make a point of telling me to get there early as it will be packed. Otherwise I will have to stand. Nice, but I am so happy to be here that standing is just fine.

Oh and BTW, a hard to take 77F 25 C here at 4 p.m.

Have a good week all. I´ll post pics on Facebk of gringo alley later. Cheers!

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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.