No matter where you go in the world, kids are pretty much the same whether they live in the snowy mountains of Nepal or the steamy jungles of South America. Kids are curious, open, and usually friendly. They accept you for who you are and are generally willing to show you around town. At least that's how it was for me in a little village in the Chiapas jungle.
The kids in this village were so willing and eager to show me and a couple teammates the town. They reveled in showing us their bridge and their way of fishing. The bridge connected to a cow pasture that spread up onto a mountain so they were excited about showing us that too.
Here are a few of my favorite memories from that special afternoon in Caranza: In order to help you picture this you must understand how stinkin' hot it always seems to be in the jungles of Ch'ol. It seems like there is a constant oppressive heat wave whether you are in the shade or not. There are also many insects that seem to thrive on sucking the blood of unsuspecting gringas :)
Our team arrived at Caranza in the afternoon and after unloading all our gear, I was sitting inside the house we were staying at playing with a little girl and a couple little boys. The boys were showing me how to write their names then asked if I'd like to see their bridge and the creek outside. Of course I jumped at this oppertunity. We went down to the bridge with a couple girls from my team and just sat and had the best time of my whole trip!
At nighttime the boys asked if we wanted to go to la cancha (a central basketball/soccer court in the town) to play the sport of choice, soccer. We had so much fun cheering for the teams. Of course I wanted my american friends to win but they didn't.
After we were there for awhile, some of the kids came and told us the rest of our team were up a couple mountains away sitting in a field reading a devotional and did we want to go to them? Sure, why not. To get to that mountain, unbeknownst to me, we had to cross the bridge, go over about three cow pastures and climb two mountains to get to the team. Oh, and did I mention it was the time for the snakes to come out? And we were walking through tall grass with flip flops on? Yeah, the Lord sure was holding the snakes back for us thankfully. Anyway, we crossed the bridge with all the little boys helping us helpless gringas. To get off the bridge, you have to sit down and kind of jump to the ground. It was dark when I attempted to do this but it seemed straightforward enough. I sat and jumped but instead of my feet hitting the ground like I expected, I found myself hanging by my pants several inches off the ground. I had gotten hung up on a piece of rebar and could not for the life of me get unstuck. Thankfully a guy from our team was there to help get unstuck. I found I had a good 12 inch rip on my backside. Never was I so thankful for darkness as I was that night!
We finally were able to continue on our little adventure. Since my mishap with the rebar, the little boys figured I was more helpless than the rest so there were at least three boys grouped around me at all times, hovering I guess you could call it, in case I slipped in the mud.
We got to the top of the mountain where my team was and instead of sitting and listening to my leader read, I went off a little ways with a girl my age. We picked a rock to sit on and talked on and on. It was easy to understand her for me because Spanish isn't either of our first language. Girls are kinda funny. We love talking and will make ourselves understood no matter what. The stars were so incredible that night too. Millions of glittering diamonds in the sky. Oh what a glorious night!
How often I wish I could go back to that night high in the mountains with those sweet little boys and girl. It's hard to realize how many of these dear people I'll never meet again in this life. Years ago, a missionary was visiting my family. I asked him why he wouldn't go to Papua New Guinea. (He already traveled extensively in Mexico). He told me he couldn't give his heart to another people. I never understood his reasoning until I traveled to PNG then Mexico. Each little village I visit, I leave part of my heart there with the people. I guess that's part of the cost. A very small price to pay for serving the Lord.
Well this is all that's in my heart for tonight. I hope it ministired to someone in some small way. Bendiciones!
The infamous bridge
A view from the bridge of the creek and cow pasture
A sweet little girl who didn't even speak Spanish yet. You don't need to speak her language to love on her though
An example of one of the deadly snakes that lurk in the jungles. Thankfully this one was in the zoo in Tuxtla!
The group at la cancha playing soccer. Gringos vs. Mexico. Pretty sure Mexico won :)
The gorgeous mountains in Ch'ol
Me and the sweet girl who sat up on the mountain and talked for hours it seemed about our lives. Notice my hair looks incredibly wet. Yeah, that's the humidity...
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