Friday, February 25, 2011
My plane leaves tomorrow morning at 6 for Atlanta and them on to Cancun, Mexico (weather permitting, of course). From there, fourteen of us will pile into two large trucks and/or vans and be driven several miles into the Yucatan to a small village called Leona Vicario.
We'll live there for the next week, in fairly primitive conditions. We travel an additional 100 miles or so inland to a tiny (and I mean tiny) Mayan village deep in the jungle called Tres Reyes (Three Kings in Spanish), where we will work with the Mayans finishing the little Sunday school we started four years ago. My middle son, Zach, went last year. But he's staying home this year because of his job. I know he wanted to go back, even though I suspect it was a hell of lot harder than he had anticipated. :)
The picture is of me (kneeling on the left) in Tres Reyes last year with my friend Jim Witmer and a young Mayan boy we called Pistol Pete (since we couldn't even begin to pronounce his real name). I can't wait to see little Pete this year.
This is my fourth consecutive trip and, as always, I'm both looking forward to it and dreading it.
I look forward to it because it is extremely rewarding work. The Mayans are very poor and live in appalling conditions. Despite a huge guilt complex (because I have it so good here), I fall in love with the villagers every year. Especially the children. They are the sweetest kids in the world.
I dread it because, well, let's face it: It's damned hot and hard work. We work hard in the hot Caribbean sun all day long. After a day or two, I always wonder just why in the hell I am there. Sometimes, we bicker. Sometimes, things get scary because of the drug cartels and the ever-present threat of violence and kidnapping (especially if you are American).
But in the end, I always end up having an awesome time, meet some incredibly special people and learn something about another culture that I didn't know before.
It's also, dare I say it, a very spiritual week. I always feel tired but mentally refreshed when I return, ready to get back to my writing and my exceptionally lucky existence.
I know I have been awful at blogging lately, and for that I apologize. I've been really sick with a nasty case of bronchitis (which is about 80 percent over finally), and I have been working hard on my novel. Now, I'm packing and spending some precious time with my family before I leave the house at 4 a.m. tomorrow for the drive to the airport.
So until me meet again sometime next weekend, please be well and write a lot. I hope you all find agents and multiple book deals when I'm gone. (Ack. I just thought of something. I won't have much Internet access, so I hope if I get any agent news, they don't give up on me. Oh well. I suppose that's a good problem to have, huh?)
Adios my writer friends.