August... part of a shipment arrived from the States (thanks to Transitions) of bilingual and Spanish books: a breath of fresh air! They include favourites like Tomie de Paola's 'Strega Nona' and Shel Siverstein's 'El Arbol Generoso'. Thank you Rosita. Thanks to Omi for extra chairs. And to Andrew Ross for 'James y Melecoton Gigante'. And the Kloss family for the pile of books they left us. And Rodrigo Callejas and Cecilia Bonilla of Carillo y Asociados, the lawyers who are donating their time to set us up as a foundation. And to Fred, Carlos, Melvin and Hugo for teaching us how to make up and about Bertol Brecht's ideas of peoples' theatre. And to Herbert for the bags of vitamins. And to Neri, our most persistant volunteer. And to Elwin Hernandez, the mayor of San Antonio, for lending us a tanoi. And to Derek who never tires of putting us in touch with people who can help... .
Activities this month have included building a dolls' house, making paper mache beetles, carrot cake, animals from clay and a board game. But the kids are strangely hooked on oragami: we've made penguins, tulips and sharks.
The themes have been dinosaurs, magic, animals and fables. The kids queued up to excavate bones buried in a hard clay block which took them a week of painstaking digging. The magician costume is almost worn through with wear. And Samuel and Walter brought their pet cat, much against its will.
The latest is the clown show which will run every Saturday for six weeks in the town plaza. Making-up in front of jostling kids, music playing through a tanoi from the pick-up, on a hot day is a new experience for us. We gave out strawberries and balloons, did gymnastics, juggling, exercises, charades, played games, sang songs and told the story of stone soup (caldo de piedra).
Stone Soup? The story of the hungry traveller who stops in a famished village and knocks on an old lady's door. She has nothing to eat.
'Nothing? I'll show you how to make stone soup.'
And from his knapsack he produces a big, black stone.
'Have you a pot?'
'And some onions?'
'No but my neighbour, Maria does.'
'No, but let's ask Juan.'
'Luisa grows them in her garden.'
'How about a chicken?'
'Uncle Chepe keeps chickens.'
And so it was that stone soup was made by the entire village, who ate their fill at the old lady's house.
Which pretty much describes how Caldo de Piedra came to be... two travellers arrive in San Antonio with a few books and with a bit of help we have started the community library, Job Vuh.