Tuesday 1st October 2019
It is not often I get ill, once in every 2-3 years in fact, and when I do it really does knock me out of work for a few days. We all know how serious “man-flu” is and this one put me in bed for 24 hours. I can´t believe that I slept for 24 hours!
Please don´t feel sorry for me as I am now all OK and firing on all cylinders again. But I share that with you as I believe that spending the previous day in muck and dust did not actually help the sore throat I had.
We had decided that, as a team, we would spend a day together tidying up the downstairs area in the Casa Alexis home in the city. When the builders stopped one Friday earlier this year, when the money ran out, they left the place in rather a state and so a clean-up day was needed so we could make use of the space downstairs for the kids when they finish school at the end of the month.
The camaraderie led the team to work hard and have it all finished by lunch. A new space was created and all the donated gym equipment was now clean and all in one place, and many open spaces created for games, activities and hide-and-seek.
One of the instant uses was being able to host Moises´ family, who descended on the place to celebrate his 12thbirthday a few days later. I have known Moises all his life and he has been in mentoring with me since he was six. Now he is going through some big changes and is keen as ever to become the man and not the boy. It is fun as well as challenging helping him navigate this phase in his life and so the party to celebrate his birthday was an important step in this process.
In Guatemala there is a special celebration for girls when they turn 15, but for boys there is nothing. I have discussed this issue many times with my good friend James Hawes and what different cultures do to help boys cross over into being a man. I continue to believe that an event would be helpful, but also helping boys come to the point where they can acknowledge their own impact in the world and take responsibility for their actions is a good cross-over point.
But for now, it was party time and Moises loved the attention and presents and decided that this year, instead of a fun event for him and his friends, he would ask me to help him cook a meal for his family. This was the first time his grandmother (who now cares for him full-time) came out and celebrated with us. We enjoyed superb time together and Moises messaged me later to ask if he could call me dad!
The following weekend was busy as always, due to the fact that I focus most of my mentoring now from Friday to Sunday. A very kind friend in Guatemala had donated a box of bibles for young people and I was keen for the boys to try out their bible knowledge as we began a new series on the ten commandments.
The framework given to us in the bible makes it clear that certain things are for our benefit and other things are not. It really is rather simple and the boys could see that their lives had improved so much since joining the mentoring programme and that there was now hope for a much happier future.
Unforgettable moments in times of tough challenges.