Festivities and Graduation at La Pedrera
On Tuesday evening (16 Diciembre), Casa Xelaju hosted a Posada for students and their families that included students, teachers and staff at Casa Xelahu. The Posada is a Christmas tradition that involves walking through neighborhoods with candles, blowing whistles and beating on tortous shells. Fireworks seem to be obligatory, as well as a float with Joseph and Mary kneeling in the manger. When the parade arrives at their destination, a special song is sung. A group on the outside sings the story of Joseph and Mary asking for entry at the inn. A group inside responds in song that they cannot open the door for strangers. The two groups respond back and forth in the song: “Para Pedir Posada” (To Ask for Lodging). Finally the group on the inside understand that Mary is carrying the child who is the son of God and of course open the door, welcoming everyone inside. Speeches, benedictions and traditional food complete the celebration. I was really impressed by the connection between the school and the families of La Pedrera and the enthusiasm with which the teachers and staff of Casa Xelaju welcomed and fed the crowd of nearly 50 people. It was quite an exciting evening.
Graduation and a Sad Goodbye at La Pedrera
As I mentioned in the last week's posting, I have been working with a group of kids, shooting photos, preparing them for the web and having the students write stories to accompany the photos. The stories are quite different from one another. The story of Heidy, celebrates the blessing of the generations of families. The story of Camilo is a ficional story of a young Guatemalan who dreams of playing professional soccer. The story of Eva and the story of Lilian tell of their experiences in the La Pedrera Project.
So at the end of the week, I presented diplomas to these four students who completed "Level One in Computer Graphics". I don't think they were expecting this so they were quite pleased. I was also pleased to get smiles, handshakes and farewell cards from many of the students. I hope to return to the project in January so that a few more students can get diplomas as well.
On Thursday, we also paid a sad farewell to a long term volunteer Chris Boegner. Before I arrived, Chris and his co-worker Brian were already hard at work on evaluating the computer lab and getting things ready for my arrival. Chris poured his heart into working with the kids. He and Brian played futbol daily with the boys and also counseled them continually on having respect for the girls. Even though he is on a very limited income, he made the decision to provide sponsorship for a la Pedrera student in the coming year. He hopes to make more regular visits to the school in the coming years as Xelaju (and a certain Guatemalan gal) have captured his heart.
Give the Gift of Education
Finally, I want to remind everyone that it is never to late to give the gift of education to a Guatemalan child. In the link below, you will find a PDF file that you can print and send to a friend announcing your gift to La Pedrera as a gift to them. If you are still looking for the perfect gift for a concerned and conscientious friend, donate to La Pedrera now!