Soccer, Spiderman, and Tecate
category: Jims Guatemala

I just got back from playing soccer with a mob of local kids. That’s a very Peace Corps thing to do, and I really should get out and do it more often. It was fun because I knew almost all of the kids. Also, i FINALLY got to use my soccer ball that I won as a free prize when I bought my cell phone about a year ago. It had been sitting deflated on the top shelf of the panty all this time, for lack of a pump and inflation needle. Chalio has asked about it almost every time’s been over in the last year, and a few visits ago he said that he recently discovered Don Palxun (the guy that owns the one store in the village) has one and he would fill our ball for 2 quetzales.

“Do you have 2 quetzales?” Emily asked as she gave the limp ball to him and Ronald.

They shuffled nervously. “No.”

We normally don’t give handouts, but these kids are awesome, and 2Q is about 25 cents. So we caved, and forked over the cash. “I better not find out that it costs less than 2Q and you guys bought candy, or else I’ll never trust you again,” Emily warned as they took off with their prize. That is a pretty routine ploy that all the kids pull with their mothers. That, or walking part way to school to get a lower bus fare, then using the change to buy candy.

spiderman_sm.jpgA few minute later, Chalio came back with feigned surprise. “Whaddya know? It was only one quetzal!” he said, returning the change. That’s why we love that kid.

Here’s a picture he drew in our house yesterday. In case you can’t guess, it’s el hombre de araƱa (Spiderman).

Kids here are funny, they sortof make do with whatever they have, invent their own toys, play with dirt, stuff like that. It’s kindof sad that they have nothing, but at the same time, their ability to cheerfully make the best of their situation is uplifting. But sometimes I see something that is so shocking (from my American perspective) that I have to post it. Here is a picture of Delmi, the cute 2-year-old that lives next door. She’s playing with her grampa’s leftovers from last night’s drinking. When he was drinking a few months ago, I was talking to him in the yard (though the conversation was pretty simple after a dozen beers) and Alberto was collecting the bottles, Corona that time. Alberto is 6, and collecting the bottles is apparently how the kids can enjoy what’s going on and partake in the festivities. They seem to enjoy it, anyways.


Posted by: jfanjoy