SOZO. A word that means “to save” or better yet.. “to heal.” If you’re a Seacoast Gracer you’ve probably heard this term by now. But for about a day this word was mine.
When we were at The Dump – a village in and of itself – I felt completely destroyed. Bawling, toeing the ugly-cry line. How is this possible? How is this fair? But we weren’t here as individuals who had the luxury to self-obsess and ponder these questions; we were here to “sozo” on these people. Love on them. This word repeated in my head over and over was what gave me the strength and knowhow to figure out how to proceed. Move past my emotions.
Well so here it is. A recap of all the sozo-ing the 27 of us put forth all over Guatemala with the help of the beautiful Hope of Life.
Side note: Not all these pictures are mine. Shockingly enough I managed to put my phone away for the bulk of the trip. Yeah yeah I know. Shocking.
First up, THE PEOPLE. The souls who make this place what it is:
This little baby ran through her town yelling in Spanish, “The Gringos are here! The Gringos are here!” I die.
Their main source of water. Hope of Life comes in and installs pumps enabling them to have access to clean water.
Always in pairs. Always looking out for one another.
After so much abuse this little lady wouldn’t talk. She could only ask for hugs and then hold on for dear life. It sounds too private to write about. But it’s the truth of their country and shouldn’t be ignored in my humble opinion.
Anthony and Abdi. Brothers who spent every day with us at the construction site. The sobbed the day we left.
Abdi was two but couldn’t hold his head up on his own. Once he got to know me a little better he let me hold him.
This beautiful girl watched me play soccer with the boys and then granted me the honor of kicking a ball back and forth along the sidelines. Claudia. I will never forget you. I hope you continue to play no matter how many times the local boys steal your futbols.
Local children who live at the dump, waiting patiently in line to receive something clean they can drink. I so desperately wanted to know why all the purple.
The families go through the dump and collect items that will hold water. Trash, as it turns out, is relative.
They also collect pieces of plastic, Tupperware, bowls.. anything that would hold the food we distributed.
Games at The Dump are just as fun as at a park in Orange County. if not more so. So much joy. So much purple.
Natalie was my favorite. She, along with her two brothers, were pulled out of a “home” in a local village after their father beat them all.
The orphans. Instead of being stuck in one, big, Annie-like home, have individual “track homes” surrounding the church and the school. At the end of the day the kids have a “mother” and a “father,” along with “brothers” and “sisters” to go home to.
The most special sweet peas of all.
The beautiful, all knowing, all seeing (even if blind).
Their home and simultaneous source of income.
6 acres of Hope of Life.
Thanksgiving Day celebrating. Microphones out!
Before we knew one another.
Starting a dance party at The Dump.
I love that her phone is on her bed. Same as me. All the same.
The Orphans putting on a Thanksgiving day show for us.
The Gringos trying to attempt said dance. Failing miserably.
Guys I helped build a friggen house. Carried cement up a hill (walked on mud and everything), cemented bricks, the whole shebang. Stoked.
Also.. turns our I can still play a decent defense game in soccer. Be. Aggressive. B. E. Aggressive. (Lord knows I’m good at that)
Fireworks with the neighborhood boys.
This beautiful soul offered to do my hair before our Thanksgiving Day celebration. Didn’t have enough time to get ready herself after all that she did for everyone else. And she didn’t even care. I pray she rubbed off on me.
The hand holding killed me. Such sweet peas.
The worshiping in a bright room where everyone can see your face was hard. Turns out I prefer dark rooms, sinking into crowds. The more people there are, the easier it is to be invisible and do my thang.
Last but definitely not least – the local, homemade ice cream. Err Day.
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