School is in session in the Department of Solola, Guatemala. Our youth leaders of Reading Village are deeply involved with their personal studies, learning daily how to engage young children in reading activities, and assisting their families with daily chores to keep households running. And all of this during the rainy season.
In Solola during the rainy season it rains almost every day. Not a soft rain. Usually a downpour. I love the Spanish word for downpour: aguacero. I remember the day I learned that word. I was in Guatemala taking Spanish classes in the American summer. I admit that when I first traveled there, I had no concept of weather and its affect on daily life in Guatemala. I chose to study for two weeks in August. One afternoon, after class, I was attempting to read the daily newspaper, Prensa Libre. I kept reading this word: “aguacero.” I had no clue what it meant, even though the paper was covered with photos of landslides and closed roads due to rain. I finally gave up and looked up the word. Of course, downpour. Just then the clouds opened up and the small patio where I was sitting filled with water. I had to put my legs on the table and wait out the storm. I was lucky, I had dry shoes to change into and an umbrella.
Most of the people in the Reading Village communities have neither. Newspaper umbrellas, plastic bags as ponchos, and getting soaked anyway are the common experience. Despite heavy rains, closed roads, landslides, and mud, mud, mud, our teens greet this season with excitement and enthusiasm to learn and teach and give to their community. The opportunity to make a difference outshines the obstacles of harsh weather. I imagine that some of our teens one day will be part of the teams in their communities figuring out how to build better roads or shelters, to solve challenges that come with tough weather.
That is what the work of Reading Village means: an opportunity to see possibility and go after it.