Wednesday, October 31, 2007

This weekend Brian and I were the padrinos (godparents) for my neighbor Roberto’s graduation from kindergarten. I was confused at first why Reina, his aunt, asked me to be madrina instead of Aneth who has been in Cabrican for almost a year now, but Brian and I determined it was most likely a result of my blonde hair. People here like to show off the gringos and Aneth, although she grew up in the states, is still Guatemalan in appearance.
Roberto is six years old. He’s a little monkey who clambers under my gate to break into my place and constantly pesters me to spend time with him. We’re reading the first Harry Potter, if you can consider it reading. We never finish more than five pages in one sitting because Roberto has the attention span of a goldfish. It most often evolves into a language exchange, where he teaches me words in Mam, and I teach him words in English. This at least is educational. I try very hard to think of educational things to do with him because I know the education provided in Cabrican is below even the Guatemalan standard of education. This is why we’re reading Harry Potter instead of watching the movie despite how much it tries my patience.
Roberto lives with Reina because his parents were killed when he was two. I think they are a great source of comfort to each other, both giving the other the family that they needed. Roberto got a mom and Reina got a child. Not that the extended family isn’t close. Reina’s brothers and sisters are always over with their children and the grandparents are around often as well. We got to spend Saturday with most of the family as they all came in to watch Roberto’s graduation.

Roberto was visibly enthused about his graduation. He arrived with a giant grin on his face and looked adorable in his little cap and gown. The ceremony itself was long and drawn out as all Guatemalan ceremonies are (even more so because the electricity was out, and they waited a long time hoping it would come back on), but it was fun nonetheless. Brian and I, as padrinos, got to escort Roberto to the stage and make a little congratulatory speech to him.
After the Ceremony, we all went back to Reina’s for a large lunch. She has a small basketball court in the back of her place so we played basketball and hung out with Roberto and all his cousins. Reina and I took on her brother and brother in law in basketball, and although Reina was decked out in corte (the typical Guatemalan dress) she still kicked ass on the court. It is so interesting to see the mixing of cultures here. You would never expect to see some of the local women playing basketball in their corte, but they can and do, and do it well! It was a great day and really made me appreciate being in Cabrican and the people I am getting to know.

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