José Ignacio Garrida Santana, the second son of Luz María's youngest daughter, Sarai, was born June 19, 2008. He weighed 3.5 kilograms (7.7 pounds). His older brother, Edwar José,weighed a little more than 3 kilos, or about 7 pounds, at birth. This is Luz María's seventh grandchild.
José Ignacio's parents were expecting a girl and even had a feminine name chosen. I, too, was supposed to have been a girl. There was no ultrasound in Kadoka, South Dakota, in 1958, but we did have Doc Sundet and his years of experience with childbirth. He returned early from a pheasant-hunting trip to attend to my delivery. I am told that he was rather vexed, after cutting short his vacation, to find that he
had erred in his professional judgment. Perhaps it would have been some consolation for him to know that in this higher-tech era, even ultrasound scans can be misinterpreted.
Sarai cooks for the children in our preschool. She and her husband, José, live more than a mile away. Normally Sarai rides her bike to the preschool early in the morning, with Edwar José on
her back. As she entered the final stage of her pregnancy, however, her sister Charli took over her chores in the kitchen.
Charli will soon graduate from AgustinCodazzi Technical University in Barinas with a degree in preschool education. She then will be qualified to work as a teacher in our preschool.
The preschool children continue to learn the Lord's Prayer. For the peticion, "Thy kingdom come," we had them make crowns with a cross above their names. Luz María's oldest daughter, Yepci, used a Burger King crown as a template.
She brought the crown back from a trip to Caracas. Although Barinas is the state capital and a regional trade center with a population of over 200,000 people, there are only two McDonald's here. There are no Burger King or Wendy's Hamburgers outlets in Barinas, although both
companies have a presence in Venezuela. Other restaurant chains that North Americans would recognize include KFC, Church's Fried Chicken, TGI Friday's and Pizza Hut. But we do not have any of those in Barinas, either.
McDonald's recently has done heavy promotion of its new breakfast menu in Venezuela. The centerpiece is a local staple, the arepa. To make an arepa, you roll corn meal into a patty, slap it on a grill to fry, then slice it open and stuff it with ham, cheese, fried eggs or whatever you
want. I don't particularly care for corn-meal arepas, but up in the Andes Mountains they make arepas from wheat flour which I like much better.
In Venezuela people think of McDonald's or Burger King not so much as places to get cheap food fast, but rather as a treat for the kids (maybe a once-a-year treat). This is because of the freebies these franchises hand out.
Anyway, Eduardo and his brother, Francisco Rafael Flores, were on hand to sing "Padre Nuestro" with the children and help with the crafts. Francisco Rafael returned to Caracas last week after visiting his brother for three weeks, but now he wants to come back to Barinas.
When I first met Francisco Rafael, he was 14 years old, about half Eduardo's height, and known as Rafael. Now he is 18, a little taller than Eduardo, and prefers to be called Francisco. I first encountered the brothers Flores in Maracay when I was living with Pastor Ted Krey and preparing to serve as a volunteer in the eastern Venezuelan state of Monagas. Little did I imagine we all would be working together in a
mission project on the far western edge of Venezuela.
On Saturday, June 14, Eduardo, Francisco and Charli led an activity for the youth in La
Caramuca. There were about 15 in attendance. The theme was learning to value people for what they are like on the inside, as God does, rather than paying attention to external things such as fashionable clothes.