Chapter 14: Ruca, Maté, and Guests

“Would you two like to stay for dinner? I was expecting guests, but I have more than enough food made to include a couple youngsters.” Quidel asked as he poured the maté for Rich and Milly. “YES PLEASE! Rich and I are starving!” Milly exclaimed. Just as Quidel finished filling a couple of bowls and gave them to Rich and Milly, Milly’s father entered the hut and with him was Richard’s father, Joe. Quidel welcomed them. “Richard?” Joe said with a pleasantly surprised tone in his voice. “Hi Dad!” “Well, you seem to have ventured a little further than usual. And if you’re hanging out in the ruca of the Flaming Torch, you must have had some day!” “Yeah! This day has been a crazy one. I still feel like I’m dreaming.” Joe took a knee in front of his son to speak to him on his level. Meanwhile, Milly ran over to hug her father and tell him about her day. Joe said to Rich, “Yes this place is very different from the home we know, and these people are a wealth of hospitality. They have created a beautiful community in these hills. People don’t visit this village very often because their town is falling apart. Most people where we are from believe that this place is a slum, and avoid this area. One thing I’ve come to learn is that they may be short on change, but they are tall in spirit. Their commitment to each other has overcome great challenges that I hope you and I will never have to go through.”

Quidel said to Rich, “while you all eat, I will work on these stones for you. I can extract a piece from each one that is more manageable to carry around, and I’ll polish them up for you too.” “Wow, that would be great!” Rich said. “Thank you, Quidel.” said Joe.