Sara in the Land of Dengue

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Hard times

Here again in Jorge Dimitrov-it has become my favorite barrio to work in. The community members here are so welcoming. Furthermore, they are so adaptable and are able to work through just about any difficultly or change in plans without skipping a beat. I think that the situation of their barrio, both in terms of the financial difficulties and everything that comes with that has created a group of very strong youth. They are always joking around with each other and giving each other a hard time but you can tell that it is all in good nature. At the same time you definitely know and can see that they have grown up fighting for what little they have.
One day when I was there, Maciella had a couple 1 cordoba coins in here pocket (which would equal about 50 cents) and Theresa tried to take them out saying she was going to buy candy. Maciella sung around so quickly and vicously crying out 'no' with a voice that told how much those cents meant to her and that money had been taken wrongly from her in the past and that she was determined no to let it happen again. Theresa backed off and Maciella was able to give her money to her 'chancho'--piggy bank.

The picture above is Carlos. We where sitting in the back yard with the chickens one afternoon and he picked this one up and held it with such a relaxed pose. Both he and the chicken seemed completely at ease with one another-he started petting it and playing with it.
The picture below is of Maciella's house-a bedroom and living room together.

There are 2 beds in here basically just metal frames with springs and a thin mattress. I am not sure how many people sleep in here but I know it is more than 2.
I have been to this house a couple times but it was really the last time that I realized how intense the situation was. There are normally 4 children under 10 in this room, half dressed and dirty with mud and food and who knows what else. I am not sure who the children belong to because the only adult I have seen in the house is the grandmother of Maciella. Darling, Maciella's older sister (22) seems to take care of most of the children, bathing, feeding, washing and dressing. She performs these duties with the same ease that Carlos held the chicken. As if she herself has been a mother for many years already. Although for as much as I can tell she does not have any children. I have been trying the situation in order to determine ways in which I can subtly donate and help out everyone here in one way or another that is not a conspicuous act of charity. I would like to buy Theresa a new pair of sandals because she has to stop and fix hers every 10 feet because one side is broken. But for the time being I have just taken to bringing elegant pastries everytime we have a meeting. It has been going over quite well so far and after a couple times of bringing an assortment, with everyone fighting over who would get the Torta de Leche I have learned and only bring Tortas de Leche.
Maciella is having her quinciera this weekend. I am looking forward to with a sense that it will be a great experience and a very different one too. I have always pictured quincieras to be elaborate and overdone events but given their situation I cannot imagen this will be in that nature but we will see.


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