By Father Mark Lane, CFCA preacher
I wonder whether I will ever forget Juana’s tears.
In October I found myself in a corn field on the outskirts of Solol·, in Guatemala’s central highlands, as a CFCA representative handed over the keys to a new home for Juana and her family.
Juana cries tears of joy upon moving into her new house.
Juana was crying because she was moving 15 feet from her old home ñ a 6-by-6-foot stick and adobe hut with a tin roof and dirt floor ñ to a new 10-by-20-foot concrete, three-room hacienda (Spanish for the main dwelling on an estate or other property) with steel windows and doors, a covered porch and a pristine concrete floor.
Having had to crouch to enter her old house without windows, where every surface seemingly hid under a thick layer of creosote from the open fire, I got a sense of the emotional weight of the gift of her new home: a home as open and full of light as her heart now appeared.
“I keep waking up and touching the walls,” she said. “I can’t believe I am so blessed to call this my home.
“Es un milagro,” she kept repeating. “It is a miracle.”
Now Juana has enough room for her father and two children to sleep in their own beds with a mattress and blankets, instead of huddled together in a hollow in her former hut’s dirt floor.
Despite its poverty, Guatemala is a spectacularly beautiful place. No wonder the Mayans are proud to call it home. High in the mountain range that crosses from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean are 30 or so volcanoes, some active. In the center of that range is Lake Atitlan, which some describe as the most beautiful lake in the world.