Monday, May 7, 2012

Elvin & Mari

We are consistently impressed by the people we work alongside here.  With the amount of energy and love they are able to show us and each other, we often find ourselves wondering, "How do they do it day in and day out?"  Two such people are Elvin and Mari, who are houseparents for the youngest boys at J√≥venes en Camino.  They treat the boys in their care like their own sons, constantly interacting with them in creative, exciting ways.  
Throughout the month of April, Elvin put on a campus-wide soccer tournament, forming the teams with a mix of ages, naming each team according to bugs ('the flies,' 'the ants,' 'the cockroaches,' etc.), and scheduling the games weeks in advance.  He also kept a record of statistics, in order to award outstanding players.
Every team had to find a "sponsor," who would coach them and cheer them on, and 'the mosquitoes' found Mari.  She ends a game as tired as the players are, from jumping around, cheering, and shouting directions to her team.  And at the end of the game she has candy and homemade refreshments for her players. 

The picture below is of Elvin (black shirt) lining up the two teams for The Championship.  He orchestrated the start of the game just like a professional event, and you could feel the intensity from the players, the coaches, and the fans.

And here is a shot of the winning team, 'the mosquitoes,' with Mari as their sponsor.

Congratulations, Los Zancudos, for a great job in the tournament!  And thank you, Elvin and Mari, for your example of love and commitment.


All-night Bonfire - "La Fogata"

Ever since we began our 2nd year here, things have gotten a little easier, and in large part we attribute that to simply knowing what to expect.  Being in attendance at an event for the always-mysterious first time continually keeps us guessing, "What time is it really going to start?" "How long is it really going to last?" "What are we going to be doing for the next ___ hours?" and, "What's going to be expected of us during this thing??"
So with all these questions spinning around in our heads - on top of the fact that the event lasts ALL NIGHT - last year's "fogata" was pretty exhausting for both of us.  But just the luxury of knowing what to expect really helped us relax and enjoy the experience more this year.
If you're wondering what an all-night fogata looks like, here's a rough outline of the schedule (which might also give you some insight into Honduran culture):
7:00pm - people show up
8:30pm - event actually gets started
9:00pm - preaching & singing
10:30pm - snack break: tamales & coffee (or Coke)
12:00am - more preaching & singing
1:30am - snack break: bread with beans and cream & coffee
2:00am - 'talent show' with singing and "dramas"
4:00am - the bonfire is lit, and several men are designated to lead prayers 
5:00am - event wraps up and attendees are sent home with a thick, rice-based breakfast drink

The photo above is our youth group performing their drama, which was about a girl being tempted away from her dream of serving the Lord by things like a flashy career, 'cool' people, a love relationship, family, etc.  We were so proud of the job they did and the obvious amount of time they had spent planning it.