The big negative is short and not-so-sweet: it appears that I've lost an entire community. It's possible that it will be revived in the future--we do have all the names--but I doubt it will be the same as it could have been.
The positives were the comments made in my other community today:
1. "You did what you said you'd do."
This should not have to be listed as a positive. So many times these people are promised help and they do not receive it, not from the government and not from the outside world. These people took a chance on me, and they are slowly learning that I'm not here to let them down. God willing, I never will. Granted, the program isn't running as smoothly as I'd like it to yet, but we're all stumbling through it together.
2. "My son is whole thanks to you."
I can't really take the credit for this one, but they give it to me anyway. As I've told others, I often serve merely as a bridge. Some rivers are harder to cross than others without a bridge; some rivers are so wide that they seem more like oceans than rivers. Such was the case of one of my families. They have a daughter who was basically constantly seizing, and they have a son who was born without a hand. (Now, I think the son was still in school thanks to not having the hand, but that's hopefully not going to be an issue with the educational program.) When we last met, in May, the boy was still waiting for his prosthesis. It isn't anything fancy, but he has it now and it works for him. His mother is happy, and I'm getting the credit because I got on-line and found someone who could help him. (Anyone know and ophthalmologist? I need one of those for a girl and haven't had any luck yet.) Besides all that, her son already was whole; they all just feel like he is more whole now.
3. Not a comment, but the majority of grades are improving!
This is good. This is what we want to see. Unfortunately, that also means that the people have more points to spend which means more funds are needed. I had some people who said in May that they were going to help me out with this up in Michigan, but I have no update from them. (As one of them is a teacher, I figured I'd give him time for classes to be over for the summer before I expected anything.)
4. A lot more things I'm sure, but...
One negative is that I have made almost no progress on improving my Kaqchikel. I say "almost" because I did meet someone who said he would teach me. It would be a Q40 round-trip bus ride to meet with him. Maybe we can split the cost and travel time and meet in the middle, trading languages. It's a thought. While some of the people here in San Antonio speak Kaqchikel, it's certainly a different dialect than they speak in Solola. I often get weird looks when I use my San Antonian Kaqchikel in Solola. (When I use my Solola Kaqchikel, they laugh at me just because they think it's funny to hear those words coming out of my mouth, but they do understand and appreciate it.) I would love to understand them more and in their own language.
Another negative from today was little Griselda. She's about 7 years old, and she doesn't want to go to school. Her mother is a widow. She says she sends the girl to school, but she doesn't go; she goes and hides. So, the girl failed this marking period. So, I had a talk with mom about being in charge of the family, that if she says something has to be done, it has to be done or there are consequences. I guess I'm as close to a truancy officer as there is around here; anyway, I hope and pray that Griselda goes back to school.
So as to not end on negatives,
5. I talked to both Mercedes and Wendy today. They are my two girls in 8th grade. (The most advanced in the program.) I asked them what they wanted to do with their lives. Mercedes wants to be a secretary, and Wendy wants to be a lawyer. The first is a high school degree, and the second is a university degree. I'm behind these girls 100%; I hope you are too. Mercedes's little sister is another one of our special needs girls, and she admitted today that her father is somewhat of an alcoholic. (She had a really low grade in one of her classes, and when I asked about it, she said that because her father had drank all the money in the house, she didn't have the money to buy the supplies to do her project. So, she didn't do it and didn't turn it in.) That means that when her mother dies, taking care of her little sister falls on her (and her brother who only completed 6th grade and doesn't want to study any further). It's a tough situation, and probably the only way that the family will make it through together is if Mercedes finishes school. Wendy is the one we need the eye doctor for. She was ill about two years ago, and since then her eyesight has been diminishing steadily. Her mother figures the girl only has about a year to go before she would be considered blind. Please pray for my girls.