Thoughts, prayers, meditations, and poems from Rev. Magdalyn Sebastian. Maggie is an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). She is currently serving as a Staff Chaplain at Legacy Meridian Park Medical Center in Tualatin, Oregon.
Monday, February 10, 2014
First Night With Host Family
written night of 2/9/14 I can't describe how I'm feeling right now except to say I'm grateful and exhausted. After a four hour bus ride in a very comfortable first world type excursion bus and lunch at a "sit down" taqueria with my new friend and fellow Oregonian, Russell, we arrived at Proyecto Lingüistico Quetzalteco de Español.
Sólo en español, por favor.
I was able to access the internet, shoot an email off to Tim, and play a little mindless game on Facebook. A las cuatro de la tarde (4 p.m.), Rosario and her daughter, Jessica, collected me from the school. Of course, I'm traveling with too much, so Rosario helped me with the smaller suitcase. In defense, one suitcase is full of medicines and my nebulizer.
The courtyard and "laundry"
To receive such a warm welcome into the intimacy of someone's home is a humbling experience. Such gracious hospitality they gave; I believe this family embodies Christ's call to embrace the other. By American standards, this family is quite poor. The kitchen has an "apartment" sized stove, one cabinet on the wall, a sink and small refrigerator. The table, when I arrived was full: sisters and brothers and Abuelita (Granny) sat around the table. Two little boys, Danny and Randy, giggled and took repeated peeks at what I was doing. Laughter filled the space and was holy.
Rosario, who knows the role she plays for the school, spoke quickly in Spanish. When her explanations were met with blank stares, she would repeat or rephrase until I got a clue. My room, which is off of the courtyard, has a bed and an old kitchen table with small table lamp. Es todo. That's all. There is one outlet, so I type this in the dark. While there is an overhead light, the school has reminded us that electricity is expensive for my family. The bed is comfortable and toasty with many blankets for the chill night. Typing in the dark is not bad. Todo está bien. All is well.
My table filled with medicine and toileries
The courtyard, unlike how most of us Americans would imagine, is not a garden spot. There are pots with some plants, but this is working space. Rosario does the laundry using a large concrete sink with a shallow place where she scrubs the clothes clean against the ridged surface. Rope criss-crosses the air above me with items hanging to dry. She smiles broadly at me as she attacks a few articles of dirty clothes during my tour of her home. The courtyard also has also a place to cook outside and a tiny bag for trash. I have the feeling that little is wasted.
Much of the family left after I arrived. After sitting and chatting with Abuelita for a while, I went with Rosario and 15 year-old Jessica to the market. We stopped in Parque Central and watched a male and a female clown entertain the crowd. I even understood bits. We moved on to a panadería (bakery) which was wall to wall with many varieties of bread and people. The smell was amazing. We walked back to Rosario's where she made me a simple and delicious meal of tortillas, black beans and an egg.
While eating, I teared up. Gracias a Dios. Thanks to God for this day, this family, and this opportunity. I will sleep well nestled with this family.