Sunday, December 29, 2013

Mixed Emotions

We spent our last full day in Guatemala City. As I mentioned in the last post there is far too much

western influence in the city. While they may be hanging tight to bits of their culture, there is a McDonalds around every corner like there are bars in Wisconsin. Next to our hotel was a McDonalds and across the street was a Pizza Hut and a Kentucky Fried Chicken. All are fast food places I would never visit in the states and it makes me sad too see how much of it is around every corner here. All of them had drive through and apparently they even offer delivery. I also noticed a McCafe full of Guatemalans. Some things I think are better not passed on to others...

Our hotel was in Zone 9, a short walk from some more typical restaurants in Zone 10 where Maia was able to order a big plate of black beans and tortillas while the rest of us could enjoy grilled meat, rice and fried sweet plantains. Our hotel offered a wonderful breakfast including fried plantains, of which I can never have enough and Morgan's favorite, that she doesn't get at home...Fruit Loops. The fruits and juices were all very fresh but we did have to be careful to only eat that which we could peel.

There was one main reason to spend 2 nights in the city. On Friday morning at 10am we met up 

with Maia's foster mom, Marina, her daughter Ana, and 

Ana's 2 sons. We met at the Relief Map and to get there we took a taxi. Most, if not all, taxis are used cars from the US that have often been in accidents or for some reason cast aside. There is a huge market for these damaged vehicles as long as the interior is in reasonably good condition. Mechanics will fix up or replace the engine and repair any exterior damage. The government will then allow a driver up to 15 years with that vehicle serving as a taxi. The girls enjoyed the novelty of an older vehicle when they saw this...

While Maia was very quiet during the time we were with her foster relatives, it was very emotional for me, and for Marina to see Maia again after 13 years. Maia was the 2nd of 13 kids that Marina had fostered and she was the youngest to leave at only 4 months. 

We talked about the affect on her and her family of adoptions closing in Guatemala. She told me how hard it was on her family as her husband had previously retired due to illness. She also clearly loved taking care of babies and misses that tremendously. Adoptions closed to the US first and later other countries. The last child they fostered went to a family from Israel that waited 2 years to bring their baby home. That child left Marina walking. She and Maia were the hardest for Marina to let go of as they had the longest and shortest stay with her family and Marina's first grandchild was born a month after Maia. Unfortunately We were unable to meet her oldest granddaughter that is Maia's age as she now lives in Coban. We have pictures of them together as infants.

Once there was no work for Marina or her husband the family from Israel helped them start a second hand clothing sale out of their house. They started with selling the many baby items that had 

been donated to them over the years. Today this work continues. Marina's husband has since passed away but she continues her work and has her daughter's family and her son living with her. While we met at the relief map, which was perhaps interesting for the kids, catching up with Marina was far more valuable than anything else we could have done.

After saying good by to Marina, Ana and family, we went to the city center briefly but it was hot and the kids really just wanted to swim. We took a cab back to Zone 10 where I got a picture of the apartment where Maia and I lived for a month and then headed back to the hotel. We spent the rest of the day at the pool which was a really nice way to end our time in Guatemala. 

Next post...Costa Rican Adventures.

No comments:

Post a Comment