As Laura and I walked back to the centre after picking up lunch, the earlier downpour had turned to drizzle, and the sky was beginning to brighten. We turned up the street to the centre and there he sat. Rex is a dog I know well, he is a gentle soul and belongs to one of our families. He follows the grandma (abuela), and girls everywhere and today was no different. He was sat by the door patiently waiting, guarding, protecting.
My heart grew heavy as I knew that earlier there had been an accident involving the grandma. We went inside and up to the office. Inside we found Frank sat with Lucia and Elena, two beautiful young girls who adore their grandmother dearly. Their eyes were red and damp, I placed my things down and approached Elena. I bent down, gently embracing her in my arms and she burst into tears, heart wrenching sobs left her body and I looked at Frank, desperate to know. Had their dear abuela died?!!!
Finally Frank’s phone call ended, and he spoke, their abuelita was stable and well. A deep sigh of relief and wave of hope passed over me.
This family have suffered much in their lives and their abuelita is the glue that holds them together. She cares for her grandchildren on her own and welcomes others into their home when they are in need too. She has a generous and compassionate heart and is loved by many.
I continued to sooth Elena as Laura sat with Lucia, they called a friend to pass on a message to their brother, Jonathan, to come to the centre.
Elena's sobs increased as Frank spoke gently, expressing that we were there for them and that they are not alone. Through the cries I heard her saying that all she wanted was to see her abuela.
Tears pricked my eyes as I fought the urge to join her as she wept. I knew that without their abuela these children would be without any family to care to them, with both parents in prison.
Jonathan arrived and as he embraced his sister his eyes searched the room. I could see the worry, the fear. He asked what had happened and Frank explained calmly. Jonathan sat and explained how he had felt a pain in his chest earlier in the day and knew that something was wrong. He was hurt and worried, and angry too. He kept on asking about the car, the car that had hit his beloved abuela.
I know Jonathan well, he is a happy, sweet, gentle and kind young man, who happens to also be on the edge of a dangerous life within the gangs. His anger was apparent, and I prayed in that moment that he would not act recklessly in response to this accident that had hurt his family.
Our attention turned to the TV screen where we could see our security cameras and there sat outside the front door was Rex, still waiting and watching. His devotion apparent. Jonathan commented on this and Frank said that Rex knew something was wrong, he could sense it. Loyalty runs deep. While his beloved owner is in hospital Rex will guard his girls. It is a comforting thought to know that these children will be well looked after by us, and of course Rex, while their abuelita recovers. Here at SKD Guatemala we are a family, dysfunctional like any other, but a loving family non the less.