Hola friends and family!
Although I haven’t taken any trips in the past two weeks, I think I’ve had more new experiences than any other two-week period thus far! I am continually amazed at how many opportunities continue to arise for me to learn and grow from. I’m also extremely grateful for all of the friends and family I now have here in Santa Cruz. What a beautiful blessing it is to have relationships and connections with people all over the world!
To start things off, last week I rescued a tiny, extremely malnourished puppy, whom I named Ria (pictures #1-2). I was walking home from work and, in the distance, I could see several kids kicking stones at a small object. As I got closer, I realized it was an innocent little puppy, curled up in a ball. I was horrified and ran over to the kids, telling them to stop. I asked them if the puppy was theirs, to which they replied, no. So, I promptly scooped up the puppy and took it back to Casa Gloria. There, Jenna and I bathed her (she had oil all over her), gave her medicine, and put a healing cream on her wounds. At first, Ria had trouble keeping her food down and didn’t want to move at all, so we were concerned that she might not make it. But it’s been a little over a week since I rescued her, and I’m happy to report that she is much healthier (picture #3), eating lots, moving around… and barking nonstop. I guess you win some and you lose some!
More recently, I, along with Casa Gloria’s Social Worker and a translator (to help translate between Poqomchi’ and Spanish), took three kids to visit their family in a remote village about an hour and a half away. To put it simply, the trip was quite eventful. During the drive there, it rained without ceasing and the roads were extremely curvy and unforgiving. Of course, I was the one driving, so that was a little stressful. By the time we made it to the village, we were all happy to be out of the car and the kids were excited to see their family. Something I wasn’t expecting, however, was for the entire family and their neighbors to ask to take a picture with me. I didn’t want to say no, so I ended up being in more than a couple pictures. This made me a little uncomfortable, though, mostly because no one was interested in taking pictures with the kids. Nevertheless, it was a good experience and, after the family served us lunch, we headed back to Casa Gloria with sunshiny skies (picture #4)!
Other notable experiences in the past two weeks include arm wrestling a 13-year-old (in case you’re wondering, we tied) (picture #5), celebrating Thanksgiving a second time with friends, and finally getting those Christmas cards finished (pictures #6-7)! Casa Gloria also received a 6-year-old girl on Monday who had actually been here previously a few years ago. There was a mixture of emotions when she arrived, but the reunion between her and Jenna was one of the most heartbreaking and heartwarming moments I’ve ever experienced (picture #8).
As always, thank you for your thoughts and prayers!
Much love y hasta la próxima,