We enjoyed a nice Mexican-style lunch with a number of friends from the church here in San Juan. Most everyone brought something.
Our hosts, Francisco and Gaby, are a young couple, and like many in this working-class city, live very modestly and survive on very little income.
This was the first time we’d been to their home which we’d heard was very rough when they first moved into it. It still is very rough. The house is right on a busy street and the front is painted with a yellow and black sign for “Bardahl” auto products as well as a painted sign indicating it is an auto mechanic shop. Actually, it isn’t an auto shop but it was some time before they moved into it. There were just two or maybe three concrete block rooms. The bathroom was not connected to the house from what I could tell. There was plenty of room to build but they have no money and I’m not sure they own this anyway.
But they seem very content and happy and are making the best of their situation. We were glad they invited us. Many people might be too embarrassed to invite “rich gringos” to their home so we’re very glad we could join with them and enjoy the afternoon together.
One of the other guests is a single lady, Yolanda, who has always struggled financially as she raises her kids without a husband. Bethie is trying to help Yolanda with her son, Luis, who has lacked motivation in school and might flunk out. She promised that if he did his work for school and reached a few goals she set for him, that we would give a scholarship for 1/2 of his summer camp (about $25 USD). This is a big deal for him and I think he’s working harder now.
Since Bethie’s mother had brought a few pounds of meat that apparently wasn’t needed, she told Yolanda she could take home all the meat she had left (all or nearly all of it). No doubt this was more meat than they see in a week…possibly a month. Bethie said she noticed Yolanda was obviously holding back tears at the gift. Can’t beat that for a Mother’s Day reward…it is certainly more blessed to give than to receive.
Beth’s mom put up some photos on her blog from our day as well. Take a look there too: The Ice Cream Grandma
Here’s a few video clips of a bit of the food preparation by our friends.