Guatemala Reflections from Tuesday/Wednesday:
The past few days have been unbelievable. Every day has some new surprise. The last three days, we have been in San Juan teaching at the school. It has been an incredible time, yet it has also been very physically demanding. I’ve been having a great time, and I’m exhausted. We (The P.E. group) have been teaching hockey to the children. It’s unbelievable how much such small stuff can make a difference. Just teaching this game to them has put an extra smile on their faces, and they’ve grown to love the sport in just 2 days. It amazes me how content people are even when they don’t have ideal circumstances.
Today, we had the goodbye ceremony. Essentially, we played soccer against the teachers, and then they said some words of blessing to us. It was such a bitter sweet moment, saying goodbye to the kids. It was great to just see the smile on everyone’s faces, but at the same time, it was so sad to say goodbye to the incredible children. This past week has been great, and i’m looking forward to the great times that are yet to come in Guatemala.
What to say….. I’m not really sure if I can put my experience so far into words but I’ll try. The second we got off the plane in Guatemala City I felt like I had been here forever. The first night was pretty interesting- Kristin, Cathryn, and I ordered a salad but we didn’t realize there was no lettuce so our dinner was sliced tomatoes with cheese. It wasn’t bad just not what we expected. Then on our drive to Panajachel, there was a mud slide so we couldn’t get across for about two hours. All the girls had to pee really bad so we walked to a house and used someone’s “bathroom”, which was an outhouse with no toilet paper- it was really humbling and I realized how lucky I truly am. While I was waiting for the other girls in the bathroom I attempted to talk to the locals but failed majorly: instead of saying “wow there’s lots of wild chickens here!” I said “we don’t have chickens in america.” Oopsies!
The day we first saw the kids we are teaching my heart melted. I remembered so many of them from March and it was soo fun to continue those relationships with them. Art has been so fun to teach and I think the kids are really loving it too 🙂 Today at our goodbye party I bawled my eyes out- I’m gonna miss the kids so so much! It has just been so amazing so far and I have learned so much about myself and had so many answered prayers.
Hasta la vista amigos!
Tim said it was my turn to blog and I for someone who likes to talk, I find myself at a loss for words. My time here has gone by so fast and I wish I could just sit down and talk to people, hear their stories. I have gotten up at 5:30 for three days in a row, a time I never see, and it was to a rooster no less! The day starts early here and sound proof rooms are not a thing of Guatemala so each morning I hear tuk-tuks (little smart car/taxi/scooters with roofs) horns, truck horns, people passing on the street laughing, dog fights, roosters, other birds and anyone else who is awake in the hotel – even if they are whispering 🙂 It’s kinda an overwhelming thing at first but when I walk up the stairs to the bathroom and see those red clouds above the mountains behind the lake and the reflection of both on the water and it’s still dark enough that people on the other side of the lake have their lights on creating an overwhelmingly gorgeous picture, I say a word of thanks that I am awake, and I can understand why they start their day early!
The People here are unreal. We walk down the streets saying “hola!” and “Buenos dias” getting smiles waves and holas back. Then there are the children who just look at you with big brown eyes and your heart melts!! The first day we were here we were taking a prayer tour around San Juan and two little girls came running at us and gave us hugs- no one recognized them from previous trips – they just wanted to say hello and all you can think is “we are not in Kansas anymore.” Teaching is fun and seeing their excitement when you are able to talk to them in spanish even if your tenses and vocab are wrong – there is no joy like it. But I must say that the most moving moments for me were not in the school. Yesterday (tuesday) Haley and I were talking to one of the older girls, Lillian, and she was telling us her dad is an artist and invited us to see his shop. Since it was across the street from our hotel, and Reuben had said yes, we agreed. On our way there, for we were at the school, we saw Emma in the art shop next door so we thought we’d make a quick stop in. We met Gloria, the artist, and her two children – the oldest girl who is 6 and I know I would butcher her name but it sounds like Shaley, and the little boy who is 3, Dalion. Or so it sounds. Anyway, we got to talking/signing/saying como? aka- What?! and in our conversation us three girls found out that Gloria’s husband, these children’s father had died june 19th and that the kids still don’t understand. Her and her mothers eyes were moist as they told us that they kept trying to explain that he was with Jesus now – but they they had only gone to look for him at the church. To make a long conversation short Gloria told us that she was sad before we had come but was now happy and very grateful for the love we were giving her children, who we held the whole conversation. When we finally explained it was time for us to go Emma Haley and I were in utter awe of what had just happened. But our art tour was over for we still had to fulfill the promise of going to Lillian’s. When we got there her mother greeted each of us with a kiss and a hug and was sooo excited to show us her work and just share with us about their lives and thank us over and over for being here. ( btw Shaley just came up to me and sat on my lap while Im typing, plus no matter how i word this i can’t do Guatemala justice, so Im gonna wrap up) Another great experience was going to band practice at the casa de the worship leader of the church last night- soooo unforgettable.
I don’t know how to end this but I am so thankful for all the prayers and for God giving me this opportunity. It has been truly amazing
Dios le Bendiga