Today was the benefit for the Children's Soup Kitchen at Young English David's house in Jucanyá out near the lake. The last couple weeks of preparation and advertising paid off. Sergio of Al Chisme had fliers printed up and I passed them out all over town and taped them to windows or walls when allowed. So many put quite a bit of time and money into the event in hopes of a good turnout. As it is, more than 50 (almost all non-Guatemaltecos) showed up, which is a huge crowd for Pana. What a party.
The large, modern, two-storied stucco house surrounded by a tall wall looked like something you would see in a good southern California neighborhood. Sergio and his wife, Bonnie, donated the liquor. Many others donated food. Marco, Kevin, Descancillo Chris, and Michael from Brazil played music. Lovely Linda and I tended bar. The price was Q20 to get in. Altogether we raised about Q5000. Now the Kitchen can supply food, clothing and medicine for the many poor children who come to them for services. Success!!!
Hours later, the party wound down and Kathy, who owns a tipica shop on the Santander, gave me a lift into town. She told me I fit in perfectly with the people in Pana and that I should get a job and stay. I began hemming and hawing, drunkenly telling her that my lifestyle was different. She interrupted and bellowed a raucous "Fuck You!" which only brought us to newer heights of hysterical laughter. It was after midnight and we bounced up the dry riverbed in her truck, spilling our drinks and laughing all the more.
It has been a heartfelt day for me. I am finally leaving Pana and heading for Todos Santos. Over the course of the four weeks I have been here, I have come to know many wonderful people. I have listened to stories of their lives, shared in their disappointments and enjoyed happiness with them. And I finally received my own journey name. Actually, I received two, but one will stay with me now. To those I have met since the day I went to Nahualá with Brenda from Montana and she introduced me to an old Indian woman who is a long-time friend, my name is Jeremías.