Luke has gone by his name in three languages during our time here. Of course, Luke to our native english-speaking friends, but since "Luke" in Spanish doesn't really make sense, we have introduced him as Lucas to anyone who asks. In addition, we've learned that his name in Cakchiquel (the Mayan dialect spoken in this region) is Alicox (Ah-lee-cosh).
Ever since we moved to Las Manos and I began walking our long street everyday, Lucas/Alicox has made many friends on our road. To the point that often when we are elsewhere in town, children playing in the road, women at the market and men on bicycles will holler his name out, giving him a big smile and wave. It is really sweet and something I am quite certain won't be happening in the US. I'm afraid Luke will go into shock when we get back at the lack of attention he gets from strangers :)
Two of Luke's most favorite friends on our walk are Eduardo (who asks to be called Mike) & Julio. Mike operates a small tienda right outside our compound and is so sweet to Luke. Always telling me how big & fat he is (which is a compliment here and sounds nice when said in Spanish somehow) and giving Luke juice for free. Today he pulled out a brand new beach ball for Luke, pumped it up and gave it to him.
Julio operates a small outdoor welding shop with a gorgeous view. No matter what he is working on or who he is with, he always stops what he is doing and yells a hello and goodbye to Luke. Luke always looks for him as we pass his shop/home.
Living here with a baby has completely changed what our life here would have looked like without Luke. While there are times that I feel a bit sad at the change in activity/travel level because of Luke, I also know that our experience here in Pana was so so much richer because of him. He is an automatic "in" with any and (seemingly) all strangers. No one hesitates to come up to me and begin talking to me about Luke. I realize that most of the people who speak with me would have never approached if it weren't for Luke. I have also felt like he kept me safer than I would have been, which is weird to think of a baby keeping you safe, but that's the truth. And I am thankful for it.
One of Luke's other special friends is Esthela, a Mayan woman who teaches Cakchiquel at AMA. She tells me everytime she see us how much she loves Luke -- today was the AMA graduation and the last time he'll get to see her.
A picture of all the staff before everybody moves on --