Santa Clara is the nursery that International Samaritan runs in cooperation with the city of Guatemala. There we met Sonia La Roche, a small but strong woman, who runs the nursery; she has worked at Santa Clara for years, since she met Fr. Vettesse. She shared with us that the people in the area told her she had to talk with “the crazy gringo who was giving away money .“ Their partnership has grown over the years, from a small program where the goal was to remove babies from spending as much time in the garbage dump, to a large program that works with small children until they are up to 5 years old and ready to go to St. Francis Coll. The original participants’ grandbabies are now in the nursery. Sonia, like Sr. Esperanza, and the people we met in the dump, repeated over and over her gratitude for God’s blessings, for International Samaritan, for the students we had brought. Continue reading
Slow down, take your time. There is enough. All will be well.
This mantra began on Sunday, when my friend canceled our meeting and I was able to ease into my trip instead of rush rush rushing.
That meant the 3 hour movie (already mentioned) to get some quality time in with my family before I left; how I didn’t realize it was 3 hours, I’ll never know. Once the movie was over, however, I rushed home, thinking that I needed to be up and out by 6 am. And then I saw that rather than leaving at 12:30 pm from Dulles Airport, my flight left at 2:50 pm. The later flight time meant that I could take my time, yet again.
When I woke up on Monday, I followed my routine of skinny coffee and reading a book. I snuggled with my cat, Jade; I was worried about how she’d do with me being gone for 2 weeks. I ate breakfast. I put gas in my car. What a gift it was to begin my trip in the present, rather than running around, stressed and anxious because so much needed to be packed in to such a small amount of time.
Once at Dulles, this leisurely pace continued. I felt wealthy, calm, relaxed: I had all the time in the world and I was headed to Guatemala for new adventures. I stumbled into a short line for security, as my ticket was a “premier” ticket. I waited at the gate and this amazing woman sat down next to me. She had a copy of Defy Gravity: Healing Beyond the Bounds of Reason. We began to chat: she was a social worker, originally from Hawaii (all of her kids still lived there) and had only lived in Virginia–near Williamsburg–for the last 6 years. Her travels had taken her to India for 2 years doing service (Never listen to a monk who says “You can’t miss the installment of the newest rinpoche”!). Then, she pulled out a book on Julian of Norwich from her bag and I knew that again, I was wealthy beyond all imaginings and that this moment had synchronicity: all will be well and all will be well.
Over the announcement, the flight attendent stated, “Well, the plane taking you has been deboarded, and we thought that this flight crew was going on to Houston with you, but they’re not. So, we’re working on finding a flight crew.” Everyone immediately unplugged from their iPads, iPhones, laptops, headphones, and started chattering. I laughed: more time with my friend.
Once our flight boarded, more amazingness. I had brought an empty water bottle with me and when the flight attendent filled it with water, she speared lemons and limes for me and added them to my drink: