Twenty Kids in One Kayak

 

Where I live is practically a paradise, the country is so beautiful. There are no big roads, and no cars. Only people can reach it. Everything is taken down the mountainside on horseback or else we carry it ourselves. 

-Rigoberta Menchu Tum

Finca Jocoro

Finca Jocoro

„Ivooooooo, Ivooooooo!“

We hear the kids calling from the shore.

„Ivooooooo, Ivooooooo!“

The kids have remembered Ivo’s name. The kids remember how much fun they had playing football with Ivo and his jokes. We told them we would return to play with them again and bring kandies and we kept our promise. They have been waiting for us for three weeks, and now they have seen the boats near the shores again. They have been expecting us. They are excited and happy.

 

The kids waiting for us to come ashore

The kids waiting for us to come ashore. Fata Morgana and Friendship anchored in the distance.

 

Three weeks ago we sailed to Finca Jocoro and spent a day there playing with the kids. Finca Jocoro is not one of the tourist attractions in the cruising guides, as there is nothing there for the tourists to see, no beach, no waterfall, no cave, no restaurant, no shop. Only a tiny village of a few wooden houses populated by kids who speak Q’eqchi and a little Spanish. There is a school, a church, and a football field. When we approach the place from Lago Izabal we recognize the great hundreds of years old ceiba tree, a few small buildings and a bunch of children playing near the waters.

 

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View of Finca Jocoro from the lake

 

There are no streets in the village but a few narrow paths between the houses.

 

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The main „street“

 

The houses are small wooden constructions with dried palm leaf roofs, same as they were a thousand years ago. It takes a couple of weeks to build such a house, and the entire community helps.

 

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A traditional mayan house.

 

Up to twenty-thirty people could be living in one of them, along with chickens and other domestic animals.

 

A boy and a pig in front of a house

A boy and a pig in front of a house

 

The houses are grouped in communes: six or seven homes separated from the others by a fence. In Fnca Jocoro there are four or five communes, or aldeas. We walk around escorted by kids. For them a visit by „estranjeros“ is a huge event.

 

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Kids in one of the aldeas

 

Every time I pull my camera to take a picture, the kids pile up in front of the lense. For them it’s a fun game. They pose, often very serious, and then come around me to look at the picture on the small screen of the camera and lough.

 

Posing for a picture

Posing for a picture

 

Then we play football. The field is at a slight angle and there is cow poop everywhere, but that doesn’t stop anyone from enjoying the game.

 

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Football game in Finca Jocoro

 

At the end of the day the kids don’t want to let us go. They devise a plan: to steal our kayak so we cannot return to the boats.

 

The kids steal our kayak

The kids steal our kayak

 

Their mean plan works for a while, but is overall unsuccessful. Ivo brings them back making sure all of them fall in the water once or twice at least.

 

Ivo pulling the kayak loaded with kids back to shore.

Ivo pulling the kayak loaded with kids back to shore.

 

As we paddle back to the boats, the kids swim after us and try to convince us to stay a bit longer.

 

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„Ivooooo! Ivoooo!“, they shout.

We promise, again, we will return.

The kids of Finca Jocoro

The kids of Finca Jocoro

 

 

 

 

 

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