Sheelagh Gallagher, aka Emma’s mum, arrived in the first week of August, carrying with her a replenishment of hooks and yarn and enthusiasm. She had a pattern for her favorite flower to teach to the crochet circle. (Oh, the image is just divine: Twelve sixth graders sitting around gossiping as they twist their hooks a couple of afternoons a week.) Throughout August, Sheelagh has joined the group and reports back in astonishment at how some of the kids can now simply look at a picture in a book and recreate, not even needing a pattern.
Maggie Bingham, aka my mom, got here on the fifteenth, bringing hooks and yarn and a friend, again another bump of energy for the final push. So, for a couple of sessions, there were five gringas in the group, the Mum and the Mom blending in and sharing tips, Debbie (the friend) more or less getting lessons from the group, our Earth Lodge regular Jess, and Emma as the head maestro. Everybody was making flowers, stockpiling for a fabric floral display something equivalent to the collection of throw-rugs in a 1950s nursing home.
Elfa Bingham, aka my grandmother, who passed away some years ago, finally received her honorable mention as motivation for Las Mano’s/El Hato school’s English classroom (2011), which now also functions as GUPP’s crochet locale. On the night my mother arrived, we had an appropriately humble dedication, revealing a beautifully painted wooden plaque (Emma’s artistic prowess) to hang in the classroom. For dinner that night, the Lodge served grilled cheese and tomato soup, Elfa’s favorite meal. In addition, we also created a keepsake for our two moms (this was their first meeting) with the names of each of our grandmothers and mothers on it.
So, the last couple of weeks of the project have, especially to my mother’s delight, been an ode to moms and matronly love. Perhaps, for me, the highlight was the collaborative yarnbomb our mothers created to add to Earth Lodge’s corner of colorful yarn displays. It was a mad rush of crocheting until the last moment of my mother’s stay, Wednesday morning, but in the end, she got to see it in all its glory, wrapped around a hammock post and bringing a smile to all involved. All in all the piece is about six feet high, and Debbie would insist that I mention her contribution of tassels, which she informed would blow out in the wind for added effect.
So, I must say that, as they did a couple of years ago, when we were here on behalf of Las Manos, Mum and Mom came through for us like champs: yarn, hooks, international support, personal visits, time contributions, and genuine interest in the project. We are lucky to have two lovely women willing to engage in the lives of their wandering children and the lives of the children we are working with and for. Sentimentally speaking, it does say quite a lot for the love that our mothers bestow. Thanks to both of them for wanting to be a part of this and us.
This blog occurs once a week, the entries being thematically mixed between expat life in Guatemala and life as an NGO groupie. The photos for this blog, website, and my life are all provided by my beautiful wife Emma.