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Kristen & Joe: A Special Dedication for a Special Family

The new house

Today we went to a house dedication for a very special family.  Nicolaus has worked with Porch de Salomon for years helping Lloyd and Melanie build houses for people.  Now, it was time for Nicolaus and his family to have a house of their own.  Just a few days ago, his wife had a brand new baby boy, so between the new house and the new baby, I thought this would be a very happy occasion.

Nicolaus and son with the new house.

Towards the beginning of the dedication, Nicolaus’ mom came over.  She was crying really hard.  Her brother had just died.  He was just fine the day before, then he started running a fever and was taken to a hospital in a nearby city and just died without any warning.  When she was telling us this, her husband came up and he didn’t even know.  We watched while she told him the news.  I think he was in shock.  To make things worse, one of her other sons Danielle tried killing himself the week before by drinking poison.  It really messed up his brain and did something to his tongue, so now he can’t eat.  So, what should’ve been a happy occasion for the family is now a really difficult situation.  We were all crying, especially Lloyd and Melanie, who have been close to this family since they came to Guatemala 6 years ago.

In spite of all this, we finished the dedication,

visited with the new mom and baby,

The kitchen

and sat down to a delicious meal Nicolaus’s sister, Linda, prepared for us.

It is really amazing what I am learning from the Mayan people.  Death is so much closer to them than we Americans can ever dream of.  The Mayan people are very superstitious of hospitals.  They see them as houses of death and only go to them as a last resort.  The family treats themselves with good reason.  The public hospitals are in dire situations.  Many of them don’t even have medicine and the conditions are appaling.  That’s why other family members step in and take charge of whoever is sick.  Women don’t go to the hospital to have babies, they stay at home to have them.  I feel truly blessed to come from such a rich country.

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