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Latin America Abeja Dispatch

No More Small Talk: Stories of the Civil War (kids version)

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Abeja with Maria Eluisa and Miguel
Caption

We're reunited! Hurray! Jamila arrived in Guatemala City just as I returned from Quiche. Right away the black smoke and noise of the city made us miss the peaceful countryside of Belize and Quiche. We rushed back out of the city on a bus to Los Proyectos where I have been staying with a family from Quiche. Maria Elouisa, the eleven-year old daughter, opened the door of her house, smiled and hugged me. It felt like coming home! Off we went to the mercado, or market, to buy ingredients for our Sunday lunch: avocados, papayas, oranges, pineapples, yerbas (greens), onions, garlic and carne (meat) for grilling. Yum! While Maria Elouisa and her thirteen-year old brother, Miguel, started the grill, Jamila and I sat down with their mother, Maria, to prepare lunch and talk.

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Miguel and Maria Eluisa teach Jamila to use the computer
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Soon Maria was sharing the story of her life. She told us everything, from being a maid to a rich family at age nine, to the terrible things that happened to her, her family, and her friends during the thirty-six year long civil war. Maria's six children were separated during the war. They had to run away many times to keep from getting captured, and also had to change their names so no one would know who they were. Maria Elouisa lived with her aunt, and Miguel moved to an orphanage. This is the first year they were able to live together again in Los Proyectos. Maria kept reminding us that everyone has these stories--stories of the hard times during the war. The stories remind us of a history that we should never forget--including our own American history. The finca system here reminds me of the plantation system during the time of slavery in the U.S.

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Mother Maria (busy washing) has done all she can to make a better tomorrow for her kids
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Maria's house seems so happy now. The children provide love, laughter, and hope for a better future. They are so glad to be back together again. It was a great gift to be invited into their home.

Abeja

Abeja - No More Small Talk: Stories of the Civil War
Shawn - Smashed Eggs and Sacrificial Roosters: Shaman Healing in Todos Santos
Kavitha - Juventud por La Paz - Youth for Peace
Abeja - 100% Culture Clash--Handle With Care

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