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A Casa Guatemala Christmas Story PDF Print
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In the light of a beautiful full moon, Santa's sleigh heads to Casa Guatemala
December 29, 2015
by Jody Aston, Editor
 

Once upon a time, in the jungles along the river called the Rio Dulce, there was a home especially built for children. The home still exists today, and provides food, education, and healthcare to over 300 children. Its name is Casa Guatemala. Over time, many families who lived in nearby villages with very little resources, brought their children to the home, so they could also be educated and have healthy little bodies. This means that at Christmas time, Santa has about 600 children for whom he must provide a bit of holiday cheer! He gets lots of help from the Executive Director, Heather Graham, the 35 teachers and staff, as well as many volunteers and donors from all over the world. Another volunteer who definitely deserves a quiet mention is Jim Kenworthy, of SV Dream Away. Shhhhh! The night would not have been possible without his help and "Ho, ho, ho." This is the story of this year's magical Christmas Eve celebration that all these people helped create.

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Santa and his helpers arrive at the Casa Guatemala dock...
  
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...and are greeted with a song by all the children eagerly awaiting his arrival.
 
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A Christmas tree was decorated by the children. Dinosaurs, Crocodiles, Mr. Potato Head, and even Bert and Ernie were all there at the nativity.
 

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Lots of presents were donated by the Rio Dulce community, and international friends of Casa Guatemala.
 
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Santa gave gifts and hugs to every girl and boy.
 
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There were lots of smiling faces that night.
 
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Meanwhile, in another building, a gathering crowd anxiously waited for Santa to appear.
 
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Director, Heather Graham, wished everyone a Feliz Navidad.
 
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Some of the residents were stationed at a table to hand out gifts...
 
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...as Santa greeted more excited children.
 
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Camera-shy at first, the workers soon warmed to having their photos taken.
 
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A few presents were taste-tested.
 
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A big bunch of happiness.
 
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A polite little girl gingerly opens her gift as proud mom watches.
 
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Is it real? Santa received several curious tugs on his beard during the evening.
 
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Esperanza, whom many boaters know as the former grocery delivery person for Casa Guatemala, introduces Santa to her princesa.
 
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After the last child sat on Santa's lap, everyone went to the comedor/dining hall...
 
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...where children's meals were ready...
 
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...to be gobbled down.
 
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The comedor is bustling.
 
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Smiling as she goes, Heather captures lots of memories.
 
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Younger residents finish their meals inside...
 
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...while traditional Christmas tamales are provided outside.
 
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Twinkling eyes are on Santa...
 
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...and he gets one last photo request.
 
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All around the grounds and in the buildings, the children's creativity and resourcefulness abounded.
 
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Christmas Eve at Casa Guatemala was rich with this kind of love.
 
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We hope Santa made Heather's Christmas wishes come true, as he did for 600 happy children at Casa Guatemala!
   
 
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