It is almost dark and Celia invites me to come to her home. At least that is what I think she is saying to me.
I accompany her up the fine grey dirt road into the village and at the end, just before it spills into the plaza, a very tall girl is standing there with two other children and a man.
It is Celia’s family, waiting for her to come home from work. They are curious about me, but not surprised or hesitant. They welcome me and we walk a few feet towards the river.
There we enter one of the homes I was admiring yesterday morning when I first stumbled through this village. Her property goes all the way to the river and is surrounded by many trees and a high fence.
Celia opens the gate and welcomes me in. She has two patios: one is full of plants, some growing out of the ground, some in pots. And lots of clothes lines.
The other patio butts up against her doorways. It looks like she has three rooms too, each having a door onto the patio.
There are many bird cages hanging on the walls around the inner patio, that also has its share of plants and trees. Celia’s oldest daughter tells me her father rescues these birds when they fall out of trees or when they are found on the ground. He hand feeds them as babies and nurses them back to life.
Life in a cage, that is. Okay. I want to set them free but the children laugh at me. They will not survive in the wild. The birds sing and flutter around their little spaces.
The children bring out their books for me and read to me in Spanish. They do not have to return to school until the 10th of January. They both love school and are doing very well.
They find books for me. They know I am trying to learn Spanish so they give me a workbook about geography and another about history, books they say they don’t need anymore.
As the air cools, we move inside. It is spotless, with not a thing out of place. There are three beds in this room, two larger beds and one smaller. I think they all get to sleep together in this room.
There are two woven chairs and a couple of cupboards line the corner away from the beds where the clothes must be. Celia tells me she washes everything by hand.
No wonder her eyes are so sad. I wonder how old she is – I am asking the children but get distracted before I can ask her or Roberto their ages.
Another womon, Roberto’s sister from Arkansas, drops in with her daughter. I find out that most of Roberto’s family has stayed here but this sister only comes for vacations and summers. She’s the mom of one of the young boys I spoke with earlier today.
The children talk and talk, and the parents join in. The little boy has disappeared, I don’t know where he is but none of us are watching him.
I finally yawn my way through a polite thank you, what a pleasant evening, and I will let you go to sleep. They insist on walking me home. They all want to come, but Carina, the oldest daughter, has to stay behind. I think the boy has fallen asleep somewhere.