This past Saturday was my first off since I became a volunteer. I have spent all of the previous weekends leading tourists up to Tajulmulco, the highest point in central America. Tajulmulco is 4200 meters of unforgiving mountain, and the trek is often quite uncomfortable. But this is not what I am moved to write about, I’d rather tell about the reason why I get up at three thirty in the morning to summit a mountain in the rain and hail… for the 16 boys and 3 girls that live in the dormitory whose sole support is our treks.
On my day off my friend Henry, whom I know because he lives in the dormitory, invited me to watch his futbol game. Henry is thirteen, he loves soccer, the captain of his team, he is the golden boy of the Hogar, everyone adores him. He was abandoned by his family at a very young age and spent a lot of time on the street, but you would never guess by his manners. I meet him at the dormitory and we ride the bus together with another team mate to the field. This perspective is a new one, I’ve never traversed the streets of Guatemala with adolescent boys. We are rowdy, hanging out the back door of the bus, watching the city flash by, knowing exactly where we are going. The field is at the edge of town, in the middle of random garbage dumps and corn crops that butt up against the high mountains surrounding the valley. There is more grass that I expected and I sit some on the sidelines and watch the boys warm up. Pasion Inexplicable vs. Cebollinas. Henry introduces me to his coach, who tells me of his passion for the late “Meekal Yakson” and asks me to translate the lyrics to Beat it and other favorites. This is not the first time I’ve been asked this here. A truck with a huge speaker atop parks along side the field and blasts latino pop hits into the afternoon, “viene la musica!” The sun is high as the game starts and I ponder how many paths have lead me to this specific point in my life. I think of something my friend Ana was doing the last time we were together, writing her self at her current age a letter from the perspective of her self at eighty years old. Mentally I ask what I would tell myself now. I conclude, with all the knowledge and wisdom of my eighty years, that right now I am doing exactly what I should be doing at this moment, in this chapter. I can see the effects of my work here. I am watching Henry play.