Having a baby in Guatemala



The news that I was pregnant was  received with a lot of shouting, hugging and kissing my  belly (which was not even showing at this stage).  It was lovely to share this joy with so many people.  It seemed to me like the pregnant figure in Guatemala is idolised, people never stopped touching or stroking my belly.  Even people I barely knew would want to pat the baby growing inside!  From then on, friends and strangers poured out advice…

You shouldn’t watch tv just before giving birth, because the baby will be born blind.

Neither should you listen to music, the baby might be born deaf.

Wear a red ribbon around your waist to ward off the “evil eye”.

If it’s a full red moon, wear something red, or your baby will be born without a head.

You shouldn’t be walking upstairs.

You can’t lift that plastic chair.

Getting a bus in your condition…

The comments and advice were endless, some amusing, some ridiculous but all said with good intent.

A surprise to our friends was that we didn’t know the gender of the baby.  But how will you know what clothes to buy? I could give you my baby bath, but its pink, what if the baby is a boy?  ‘Baby Showers’ are very popular in Guatemala, and whenever I’ve been to one, everything is either pink or blue, the balloons, cake, table cloths, wrapping paper…everything.  It seemed that for babies only two colours existed:   blue and pink.  This resulted in all our baby gifts being white (and we were very grateful for everyone’s generosity).

In private hospitals in Guatemala 85% of births are delivered by caesarean and the public hospitals are avoided if one can afford it.  So with doctors performing caesareans for any minor reason, we decided to go with Hannah Friewald in her natural birth centre.  This meant forfeiting any access to pain relief but ensured I would only have a caesarean if it was absolutely necessary.

Many of my Guatemalan friends were shocked to hear I would not be giving birth in a hospital and even more surprised to hear it was just with a midwife and not a doctor.  They then kept asking me when my birth was scheduled, to this I replied any time around May 1st.  They didn’t understand, but what day will you give birth?  I explained that the baby would come when it was ready.  This was an unusual concept to people who had planned dates for their caesareans.

The Birth

We are so glad that we decided to go with Hannah, having a trusted midwife at the end of a phone line if we needed anything was very reassuring especially in the days waiting from when my waters broke to when I gave birth.  In those four days, we became very impatient and worried that something was wrong.  I went walking for miles up hill, did Pilates and Yoga everyday and drank different suggested teas to induce labour,  but nothing seemed to work.  I realised, it was something totally out of my control and that I had to trust it to God’s timing.  In my desperation, I found comfort in Psalm 121.  I memorised it in English and Spanish, recited it and sang it out loud.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains –
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip –
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you –
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm –
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and for evermore.

I prayed that God would protect my baby and trusted that he was watching over us.

In public hospitals, husbands or any relatives are not allowed into the ward when you give birth, whereas with Hannah, Tom was able to be very involved.  Tom sat in the birthing pool with me holding me up and with every contraction he applied strong pressure to my lower back to help me endure the pain.  I kept telling him to push harder.  Hannah commented that it was the first time she’d heard the dad being told to push harder instead of the mum.  She also noticed that Tom was working extremely hard during the birth to support me and saw the pain in his eyes too!  Apparently in shorter labours the pain can be much more intense.  This was the case with mine, Elicia was born within 6 hours of getting to the birth centre.  But from arriving there I could hardly stand up and the contractions came seconds apart.  There were moments when I thought I could not go on, but what could I do?.. this baby had to come out!

Elicia had a short umbilical cord which is why when my waters broke on Monday, the baby couldn’t come down low enough to start the contractions.  It meant that when I came to push, for every cm she came out she would come back in two, until the cord had stretched enough for her head to be born.  This was a bit of a demoralising hour and a half of pushing but unquestionably when the baby popped out and was placed on my breast it was most definitely worth it.

I admit my first feeling was relief and exhaustion when I first held Elicia in my arms.  Then as I looked at this tiny beautiful, wrinkly, wet, waxy baby with wide blue eyes I was amazed.  What a wonderful miracle of life!  Thank you God!  That night and the following day  Tom and I kept breaking into tears; amazed that God had blessed us with our beautiful daughter.  As parents, we felt nervous… should we really be allowed to care for such a delicate precious creature?  I was overwhelmed by the love that poured out from me for this creature that I had just met.  Perhaps this will help me to understand more about the love God has for his children.

Support after the birth

During the sleepless week and a half following the birth when I was recovering and it was painful to sit, stand and walk , we were so blessed by our Latin Link team.  They brought us round a meal every night, we ate the best we had that week than we had all year!  Our friend Suzanne meant so much to us visiting, washing up and so generously being there for us.  It truely was God’s community in action.

We were also touched by the excitement of our Guatemalan friends who were desperate to see us. We appreciated church friends, colleagues and neighbours visiting, however at times it was a little intense and we needed to have time to learn how to be parents without attending to visitors.  It was lovely to share our joy with our friends and family in the UK, What’sApp and email messages never ceased accompanied by numerous Skype conversations!

Guatemalan motherhood Advice

I must first acknowledge that advice was always given out of love and care.  Also, that it is difficult to think analytically about concepts that are embedded into one’s culture, and realise that what one has grown up seeing isn’t necessarily the only way to do things.

40 days at home

It is cultural in Guatemala not to leave the house with your new born baby for 40 days.  We first ventured out of the house in the second week.  As we walked through our condominio, neighbours and shop keepers came out to see the baby.  Even people we had never spoken to, but who had seen me pregnant, came to have a look in the pram.  They were all shocked to see I was outside the house and worried that the fresh air would damage the baby.  One lady told me I should put cotton wool in the baby’s ears to stop the air coming in!

Not only did we walk around our condomino but got on the bus to a local shopping centre to get Elicia’s passport photos taken.  Elicia, oblivious to it all, returned home 2 hours later still asleep.

Imagine what our friends thought of us taking Elicia to this countryside farm and the beach!


After the baker had congratulated me and excitedly taken a look at Elicia, she told me off “How can you go outside the house without a jumper on?  Your milk will go cold!”

During refreshments at church I queued up to receive my tostada with tomato sauce and oinon.  When I asked to have some of the parsley sprinkled on top, the lady serving me’s face dropped:  “Parsley?”  she looked at me in shock.  “You can’t have parsley, it will cut off your milk supply” Perhaps, being culturally insensitive I assured her that it wouldn’t damage my milk supply and asked for some on my tostada.  Very reluctantly, going against all her beliefs, she sprinkled it on my tostada.

Colleagues at Potter’s House, friends at church and neighbours all asked me looking surprised:  Why aren’t you giving Elicia a bottle? I replied that the mother’s milk was the best thing for a new born baby.  “But you need to give formula as well so the baby gets enough and puts on weight”. 

The paediatrician that I visited when Elicia was three weeks old asked if I was using formula.  When I said no, she prescribed me a list of vitamin drops to give to the baby and told me Elicia was not gaining sufficient weight.  Doctors often use weight tables for formula fed babies which don’t correlate with those breast fed.  They don’t always take into account that babies grow at different rates and in our case, Elicia was born only weighing 5 pounds 14.

It is astonishing that even in such poor areas of Guatemala, mothers are encouraged to use formula milk to feed their babies, discarding their readily available, sterile, natural breast milk which boosts their baby’s immune system.

Wrapping up

This is one aspect where I have felt most judged as a mother in Guatemala.  Here, when the temperature is over 30 degrees and the sun feels burning hot, mothers wrap their babies in at least two layers of clothes and then big fleecy blankets that completely cover the baby.  Sitting in my hot classroom, Elicia is red faced and sweaty in just a light cotton baby grow, the children scold me:  “Why haven’t you wrapped her up?  Put a blanket on her.  Doesn’t it make her ill  if she’s not wearing a hat?”  My most accepted justification has been to tell my Guatemalan friends that if Elicia becomes accustomed to wearing blankets in the blazing heat of Guatemala how will she cope when she’s back in England where Winter temperatures fall below zero?

Holding the baby upright

When a baby is born the bones in their head are soft to facilitate the birth and they gradually get harder as the baby grows.  Guatemalans believe that you shouldn’t stand the baby upright because this will enlarge the gap between those soft bones in their head.


When Elicia gets hiccups, everyone immediately rushes around anxiously telling me i need to get rid of them.  People believe that tying a red ribbon around the baby’s wrist will stop the hiccups.

Out and About

I have been able to resume a few of my activities at Potter’s House and at church with Elicia.  She is very much loved by everyone at church and Potter’s House.   Being quite a tranquil baby,  I have been able to lead bible studies with her on my knee and participate in planning meetings about the 2015 Holiday Clubs.  Our first trip to Zone Three (around the rubbish dump) was met with so much excitement as my pupil’s parents came out of their houses to hold Elicia and even strangers in the street came to look at the ever-so-white baby!

Thank you all for your messages, prayers and gifts we have felt very loved.

Trip to Comapa with Don Amor

The department of Jutiapa is known as “El corredor seco” the dry passageway as it is notably dry and has the highest rate of malnutrition in the country.  We certainly noted the brown fields as we drove around the bends and uphill to Comapa to run a mini holiday club with Don Amor.  Indeed, once there, we witnessessed and heard about the difficulties of collecting water from the nearest river.  Families are allocated an hour a day when they can collect water from a pump or walk a kilometre away to the river.  We saw lots of children carrying water in big plastic jugs on their heads. When we arrived outside the church, children were waiting on the street to greet us and excited to come in.  More and more children trickled in, until there were about 90 sat on chairs and benches when we started he activity. The church was started by Obed, a pastor from Guatemala City who felt called to this area with his wife and 2 children.  The church is made up of mostly children and Obed has good links with a few local families.  The area is predominantly Catholic, and Obed has received a lot of opposition to starting an evangelical church.   However  starting with social action; organising family events and being able to give out medicines has provided a good way in. After projecting  a children’s version of the Easter story on the walls of the church we taught the children about God’s love through songs, games and talks.

Once the sun had lowered a little and the breeze began to flow, we set out to visit some families who Obed knew were particularly in need.  They were glad to receive some vitamin pills, a bag of clothes and to be prayed for.

Many of the houses were built of adobe bricks and covered in tin roofs.  Inside the small homes chickens and pigs were often walking around or tied up by the bed.  There was no access by car to these homes, we walked up dirt tracks and climbed beneath bamboo and banana palms to reach the houses.

Tom and I stayed the night with an elderly couple who had a kind of farm house.  Outside the house there were lots of banana palms and space for their chickens.  We were especially pleased that this house had a toilet and a sink filled with water.  We felt priviledged to stay with this family and to be hosted by other families for lunch and breakfast.  We were generously fed beans and tortillas for breakfast and dinner and chicken broth for lunch.

It was certainly a different experience from being in Guatemala city.  Two different worlds perhaps.  It is interesting to see the zone 3 shanty towns where we work.  Hundreds of tin houses built precariously on top of each other and adjoining.  The smell of rubbish from the dump and the stigma of living by it and working on it.  There is also the widespread selling of drugs and the fear of gangs.  However there are more opportunities for the people in zone 3.  They live close to working hospitals, there are more schools, there is water.  Furthermore, there are at least 4 charitities working in the communities. Comapa may not have so much gang influence and the  temptaion of drugs on its teenagers, however it is more of a forgotton, neglected place.  There is no one to notice that the municipaliity is not playing its part in providing water.  It is difficult to get hold of healthcare and children stop education after primary school because they can’t afford to pay the materials for secondary school. It is always surprising to think of the many worlds in Guatemala, the extremes in rich and poor, the influence and development of the USA and the complete lack of improvement to essential human rights in other aspects. I’ll  end this blog post with a few statistics from the UN World Food Programme, showing a desperate need for prayer for Guatemala as well as social and political action. The chronic undernutrition rate for children under 5 is 49.8 percent, the highest in the region and the fourth highest in the world. Guatemala is one of the 36 countries which account for 90 percent of stunting in the world. Chronic undernutrition in indigenous areas is 69.5 percent. Fifty-three percent of the population lives in poverty, and 13 percent in extreme poverty.

Video (Spanish)

Joy’s work in the new year


After a slow start, the children have finally all returned and the building work in Potter’s House is just about finished.  There are now 80 more children registered in the Education programme.  This is great as more children are benefitting from sponsorshipm meals, resources and tutoring, however the logistics were not completely thought through.  I have some delightful new pupils in my classes who are are picking up English fast.  However I miss being able to teach all of my pupils from the previous year.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


It has been a pleasure to lead a more personal group with the teenage girls.  These girls help teach the children in Treasure’s club so I thought it was really important they were supported themselves.

The girls show great leadership skills but all have different things to deal with at home.   Several of them live with alcoholic fathers and life is very unpredictable at home.  In one home the whole family sleeps on the church floor a few times a week to avoid conflict with their father.  One girl was telling me how she couldn’t keep living like this and was doubting her faith, God and everything.  It was hard to know what to say, I could not pretend to understand what she was going through.  We ended up reading Psalm 42 where the psalmist is in the depths of despair and questions where God is yet still manages to praise and rest in Him.

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
    and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
    my salvation and my God.

It is humbling to see the girl’s problems, but there are lots of positive things too.  They are in good schools and are coping with the heavy workload.  There is potential for their future and they are in deepening relationships with God.


One of the key events in the week is Saturday’s Treasure’s Club.  This is when the Potter’s House is open to a whole new set of children in the commmuntiy to come, play and learn about God.  This year we have 125 children registered and rely on a team of 35 volunteers, (most of whom are young teenagers). Previsouly the target has been to receive 300 children but this has proved hard to organise and manage.  The first treasure’s club started off on a great note.  There was a calm atmosphere and the chidlren were sorted into small groups, ideal for managing and getting to know each other.

I have enjoyed the responsibility for preparing and  modelling the lessons for the teenagers to teach in their small groups.  I pray that across different cultural and educational backgrounds the leaders understand my plans!

Church outreach in a children’s home

On saturday afternoons in  January and February we have gone with a team from our church to visit a children’s home on the other side of the city.   The home has a nice atmosphere, as soon we walked in we heard the parrots squawking and the children excitedly came up to hug us.  It was a great chance to have fun, get to know the children and share truths about Jesus with them.  All of the children have been sent there by order of court as their families have been unable to look after them or they are orphans.  The youngest child is 6 months old and the oldest 12 years old, some are in the process of adoption.

Church Holiday Club December 2014

Our local church does not work on such a large scale as Potter’s House, allowing for perhaps a more personal and intimate environment.  I loved leading the 10-12 year olds all week and investigating with them the evidence for Jesus Christ.  This kind of holiday club material is quite unusual for Guatemala, and the children were certainly not used to questionning and examining evidence.  So hopefully this has given those already with faith, a stronger basis for explaining their beliefs, and those who are not christians a chance to see the facts about Jesus’s life.

Holiday Clubs 2014

Highlights of the Holiday Clubs 2014

One of the best things about the holiday clubs this year was seeing our young leaders (teenagers from the education programme) leading small groups and facilitating with such maturity, love and energy. In fact, I think the holiday clubs really give the young people a purpose during their long holidays, and now it’s over they are not quite sure what to do with themselves. Here’s one way where the Potter’s House vision is being fulfilled; young people are being empowered to make a difference in their community. However I’m concerned for some of the young people who are in relationships with gang members please pray for protection for them, now they are not occupied with the holiday clubs.

On the last day of holiday clubs, a special meal was provided for all the volunteers and each group presented an act as part of the closing event. It was wonderful to see such an array of talent; rapping, dancing, acting, singing. Again I’m reminded of the potential there is amongst the young people living around the rubbish dump.

It was of course lovely to see some of the children grasping hold of the truth that God created them for a purpose and wants to be in a relationship with them. Pray that these truths hold firm as they go back into their families and different situations. Other holiday club teachers commented on how much they loved teaching the story of Joseph to show how God accompanies us through every moment. Wendy commented that some of the children spoke of their parents’ abusive relationships and needed to know God’s presence with them at home.

Low lights

Amongst the noise and fun of holiday clubs it can be easy to forget some of the desperate situations going on around . Walking back from holiday club one day, I saw 10 year old Emerson, one of my English pupils on his way to the dump. Children aren’t officially allowed on the dump, but they find ways of getting in there. Emerson had a big empty sack ready to fill with what he could scavenge.

It came out in the local news this week, that a mother had found a container of soup of the rubbish dump which she then fed to her four children who tragically died as a result.

El Gallito, shanty town under the bridge

In the last week of November I had the chance to visit the different holiday club sites and interview different children and volunteers to hear about their experiences. One day they allowed me to visit El Gallito, a shanty town built on the edge of a ravine under a bridge that joins zone 1 and zone 7. The leaders were a bit reluctant at first as the area was dangerous. When we arrived at the closest road to the shanty town I was told to open the car windows wide. Apparently the Narcotraffikers like to check exactly what it coming in and out of the town and therefore would not like the tinted windows. Narcotraffikers controlled the area, this had one advantage:   that it kept the gangs out.

Once we left the road we started the long walk down hundreds of steps on narrow streets down to the bottom of the ravine. The houses were tightly packed together made of concrete with tin roofs. We past a nicely painted primary school and the pastor Fabiola told us that even though they had this facility they struggled to get teachers who would make the long walk down the hill. Often the children were left in the classrooms alone. Pastor Fabiola told us about her ministry in the Tesalonica church of El Gallito. They reached out to parents, trying to help them get off addictions to sniffing glue and ministering to their families. Her own husband was murdered by people from the shanty town yet amazingly that does not put her off serving the community.

Finally we arrived at the church Thessalonica and the holiday club was in full swing; about 60 children dancing and singing along to the songs. Across the road from the church we could see the bridge and up the other side of the hill, tin houses stood precariously at different points. There were no paths connecting these houses to the road or any cables to electricity points. I wondered how people even managed to leave their houses having to scramble up the side of a cliff to get anywhere. At the bottom of the ravine is a river where the town’s waste is thrown.   On our way back we passed another mini rubbish dump and saw a child scavenging through the rubbish.

It was sad to see this place. Guatemala is such a country of extremes; pent house apartments, shiny malls and then places like this. This area suffers more than the dump communities, as they draw a lot of attention from local NGOs, whereas El Gallito is left to the mercy of the Narcotraffikers. The testimony I wrote down of one of the girl’s in the church further highlighed the desperate situation they live in. She spoke of seven people living in one room. Her parents both addicted to drugs and herself in need of brain surgery which they could not afford. Apparently her and her siblings are the first to arrive at all the church meetings, and the holiday club this week has provided her with a glimpse of light in an otherwise dark situation.

Holiday Club Video

To see a glimpse of the holiday clubs, watch this video.  Its in Spanish so if you want to practise your listening skills go for it!

Holiday Clubs 2014

Holiday clubs begin tomorrow! (Monday 3rd November 2014) At 8:00AM 100 volunteers will arrive at the Potter’s House ready to be divided up into the 6 different locations where the holiday clubs will take place. 50 children in each club, 12 clubs a day, 4 different weeks, meaning 2400 children will be reached. That’s a lot of materials to prepare and a lot of snacks to provide not to mention a lot of volunteers to be found!

I have had a hand in preparing the lessons and training the volunteers as well as getting the resources ready. Each lesson is based on Psalm 139. Through different bible stories, dramas and activites the children will learn a different truth each day:
Day 1: I’m created by God
Day 2: I’m known by God
Day 3: I’m loved and forgiven by God
Day 4: I’m always acompanied by God
Day 5: I’m created by God for a purpose

Growing up in the dump community the children suffer from a lot of stigma, its our prayer that the children will understand in their hearts how they are valued by God and consider their reaction to this fact.

Please pray that:
-The children will understand these truths
-For the logistics in organising the volunteers in the different locations.
-For safety in the differnt areas
-For mature volunteers who grow a real heart for serving these children.

Changes to Treasures Club: Chaos to organised chaos!

Some of you may have been aware of the struggles we have had in the Saturday Kids Club called Treasures Club.  Some brave visitors namely Katherine and Nick Barker even endured the 4 hours of not very well directed children moving noisily through the Potter’s House.  I have felt frustrated guiding between 50 and 90 4-6 year olds through activities where the teachers have not known how to engage the children and found myself not blaming them for misbehaving.  Having few mature helpers and up to 200 children each week made Saturday a bit of a headache, but time are changing…

The directors of Potter’s House decided to intervene and organise the children into groups of 10 with one adult each.  Within that intimate group their leader takes care of the lesson, games, prayers and snacks without having the chaos of 200 children moving through different activities.  Of course there are still problems; volunteers not turning up and different children coming each week means the “intimate small” groups are hard to maintain.

What has been great for me is that I’ve been able to use the material I’ve written for the teaching part.  For the first time the lessons have been interactive, differenciated according to age and encourage discussion on different topics about the bible.   I’ve also been able to model the lessons with the 50 volunteers before they teach them and help support them in their teaching.

I have thoroughly enjoyed this challenge and feel more that my gifts are being taken advantage of.  The bosses have been impressed meaning that they will provide more future opportunities.

End of a year of Teaching English

It seemed like the end of the academic year in Guatemala suddenly landed on us.  Topics on animals, fruit, sports, likes, dislikes, colours, numbers, parts of the body, days of the week….so many subjects finally finished.  Last week, fighting against timetable changes and lesson cancellations  I finally handed in 123 reports and certificates detailing the children’s achievment and behaviour in English Lessons this year.

Some of the classes have been a real joy to teach, the children sitting on the edge of their seats desperate to answer the questions.  Its been a pleasure to  watch the children carry out  practical work with playdough, shaving foam, drawing and singing related to the vocabulary we’ve been learning.  Somewhat different to the education they would receive at school.

Of course there are the classes which i’ve struggled with.  The teenagers who don’t see the point in learning English and display a complete lack of respect.  Then there’s the disappointment when after months of teaching some children can’t answer the question What’s your name?  Its all part of the challenges of teaching.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

In my classes in the UK I remember the children being very excited to break up for the Summer holidays, however here I have seen a different perspective.  In our devotions we prayed and talked about the Summer holidays.  For some of the children its harder than a school day.  They leave at 5 AM and return home at 8PM accompanying their parents selling food in the streets.  I have noticed a lot more children working on my way home since the holidays have started.  One girl was keen to help during the holiday clubs, but when I passed her the other day she was dressed in dirty clothes sorting through recycling in her dad’s warehouse.

One 9 year old  boy G’s dad passed away after a series of health problems relating to alcohol.  He missed the last few lessons as he now as to stay at home with his disabled sister while his mum is out working.  So holidays are not always the easiest of times.  Hopefully I will at least meet up with some of the children during the November holiday clubs.

Another thing that has come to an end our my devotions with the teaching staff.  It has been a pleasure to start the day studying a bible passage and focusing our attention on God.  Although sometimes its been a struggle for me to think of new ideas to use, its been good to keep me thinking and reading  the bible in new ways.

I am the resurrection and the life

After a 15 month battle with aggressive cancer Sary Rodas closed her eyes and fell asleep during the night of Wednesday 24th September. Months ago she had explained to her family; 2 daughters and husband that she was ready for what the Lord had planned.
Together, with her husband Rodolfo, she founded Education for Life which works to expand the horizons of young people in Zaragoza. This is what took us to a kids camp in Zaragoza before Christmas 2013.
The 25th contained a day long wake with a praise and worship service in the evening. The 26th was the day of the funeral. The Cemetery Las Flores is a peaceful place with a chapel and reception area then vast acres of green grass and trees and like most places in Guatemala has armed guards. The reception area houses a lobby with a courtyard and rooms off that. Sary was in one of the rooms in a large wooden silver coffin. People stood around chatting and sharing stories. The family, who had been on the go since Wednesday night, were tirelessly greeting people.
Having been ushered into the T-shaped chapel the family followed the coffin in. The chapel was large and full of people from Zaragoza, Church friends, University friends, Christian Union friends and family. The chapel contained varnished wooden pews with integrated kneelers. There was a staging area with a simple cross behind. In the corner, behind a velvet curtain, was a cross containing a sculpture of Christ Crucified. It is likely the curtain is open when it is a Catholic Funeral.
We sang songs of praise and worship to God, including Santiago Benevides ‘Who but you’. A friend, who first met Sary at University, spoke of this amazing woman of faith in Jesus. A half hour sermon on Psalm 16 followed. More songs followed and the two daughters bravely shared their and their mother’s faith in Christ. We also watched a video of the couple discussing the Christian Union. As the service finished we followed the coffin out through the parking lot and into the lush green cemetery with trees around and sculptures of sheep along with white and coloured peacocks and a large pond with relaxing fountain. It was a fare walk to the burial spot so people were swapping in and out of the pole bearer role.
The coffin was laid upon a lowering platform, surrounded by green mats and covered by a green gazebo on wheels. There were three gazebos behind, again on green mats, with seats underneath. We crowded round and read Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Many people shared stories and encouraged the family.
Sary was a flower fanatic and had planted a flower for each of her daughters, these were due to flower in December but had flowered this week. Rodolfo shared, while looking at the coffin, ready to go into the ground, of his partner in life of over 30 years. John 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;
While the two grounds men, in their blue suits and number 1 dress hats, lowered the coffin everyone let their white helium balloons ascend into the sky symbolizing Sary´s spirit ascending to heaven. The coffin was covered with a thin slab and then a green mat covered the grave and the many many wreaths were laid on top.

Quien sino tu
Tu nos has traído hasta aquí no nuestras fuerzas ni nuestra bondad tu nos has traído hasta aquí por eso toda la gloria, y la gratitud, por eso todo el honor para Ti. Pues quien sino Tú has sido refugio y quien sino Tú calmo nuestra sed y quien sino Tú has sido el sustento cuando todo faltaba Señor sino Tú que por siempre eres fiel. Tú nos has traído hasta aquí tu viento ha soplado con poder y verdad y hasta donde bien nos quieras llevar que en nosotros hable tu voz y brille tu vida y vengan tu justicia y tu paz. Pues quien sino ti has sido refugio y quien sino tu calmo nuestra sed y quien sino tú has sido el sustento cuando todo faltaba señor sino tu que por siempre eres fiel. Y quien sino tu nos dio su palabra quien puso sus sueños en el corazón quien edificó con sus manos a casa planto la semilla señor sino tu traspasaban de amor. Quien edifico con sus manos la casa y planto la semilla señor sino tu traspasaban de amor

Who but you
You have brought us up to this point not our own strength nor our own kindness. You have brought us up to this point so all the glory and thanks and all the honour are yours. For who but you has been our refuge and who but you can quench our thirst and who but you has been our support when all else fail, Lord, but you who is faithful forever. You have brought us up to this point your wind has blown with power and truth and until where you want to take us and in us speaks your voice and your life shines and brings your justice and your peace. For who but you has been our refuge and who but you can quench our thirst and who but you has been our support when all else fail, Lord, but you who is faithful forever. Who but you gave us your word who put your dreams in our heart who with their hands built a home and planted the seed Lord but they pierced you for love. Who with their hands built a home and planted the seed Lord but they pierced you for love.