Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Guatemala 11/21

I’m only 15 and so I’m traveling with my parents who keep throwing me into situations where  my Spanish, and awkwardness are challenged. Today was the first day that a game of “How many people can we have talk to Luna!”, began. We were at the mayors office waiting to hear a presentation about initiatives to save the environment when a man came over to me and began talking to me as I was a native. He gestured toward my dad who was grinning ear to ear and nodding to me as I had a short conversation that mostly consisted of me nodding my head and smiling. As we were leaving the mayors office my friend saw a kid playing basketball and wanted to ask if we could play with him but was too shy, so my mom quickly offered my amazing Spanish skills to my friend. After a lot of failed attempts to get up the courage to go talk to the kid I finally went up and asked him, and he nodded and threw me the ball. To my surprise I didn’t die of embarrassment, or other such causes... I was completely fine. Later in the day when we were working with our mason, Araldo, on our stove without the help of our fearless leader and translator Candice I found I wasn’t dying even though I  was speaking with a native speaker. The day of near “death” by embarrassment and my parents throwing me into another situation where I  had to relay on my Spanish “skills” led to me being on Canal 24. That’s right I was on TV speaking Spanish and I still didn’t die. If not for being in uncomfortable positions we don’t get the opportunity to see how much we can thrive under pressure, and besides dying of embarrassment is harder than it looks, trust me.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Guatemala 6/1

Started our second set of stoves today and even with lots of rain, we were still able to get a great deal of work done. After work we drove to get icecream in our tarp covered truck, we asked our masons to join us as well. We got to treat them to ice cream to show gratitude for their help all week. Man, did chocolate ice cream hit the spot after having had a chocolate craving for the entirety of the trip. We returned home and watched a documentary on poverty, (Poverty Inc.), ate dinner and yes got Icecream once more...Things are so sweet here, the thought of leaving seems too bittersweet for me to swallow. 

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Guatemala 5/31

Today was not a day for work, today was a day to see what you could call, the other side of things, compared to San Juan El Mirador and San Juan Tomilán. We visited 3 other areas around Lake Atitlán,
Santiago Atitlán, Panajachel, and San Antonio Palopo. We took a boat to each place and spent a portion of the day there. Each area was very touristy and we shopped around for the day practicing our bartering. One of the girls in our group had a friend from the States, infact she lives in the same town as us, in Guatemala. She's here for the summer working. Her friend joined us to eat lunch in Panajachel at a restaurant called Guajimbo's. The remainder of the day consisted of visiting churches, a ceramic shop, feeding our chocolate craving, and dressing up in traditional Guatemalan women's garbs. After we returned home, we prepared dinner, Chilis Rellenos, with Marbila and Gríz which was filled with lots of laughter as is every interaction with those two. Loving each and every moment here. Can't believe our trip is half over. 

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Guatemala 5/30

Day 2 working in the community, and by the end of our work day we all finished our first stove! How satisfying it was to present a finished & efficient stove to our family! All of us were very excited, proud and overall, tired. Of course there was lots of play time with the kids again, which probably added even more exhaustion to each of us. On our way back home from the community, it seemed as though our freak flags had been set to fly as we laughed deliriously in the truck bed with each other and our masons on the other hand laughed at us in our tired and strange behavior rather than alongside us. We returned to Los Posados Volcanes where Candance had invited two of her friends to share their experiences pertaining to immigration. The talk was very informational & inspiring. Towards the end many of us were personally touched. How interesting it was to hear about our own country from another country's perspective. After our talk, we had a swollen tonsils incident from one of our group members, so a doctors visit & medication was the closing to our night. Continue to keep us in your thoughts & prayers so that we are able to fully enjoy the remainder of our trip and fulfill our intention here in Guatemala. Much love from San Lucas Tolimán! 

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Guatemala 5/29

A more traditional Guatemalan breakfast this morning with eggs, black beans and plantains. Also, coffee, of course. After breakfast, on to San Lucas El Mirador where we went with our masons to began our stoves! Formal introductions were made once we arrived in the community as we split off into our groups. We got to work shortly after with a few demonstrations to get us comfortable with the materials. We worked 9-4 with a lunch break where Marbila & Grís served us a lovely lo-mein dish with tortillas of course. Lunch also gave us time to meet and play with kids. Kickball, dancing & talking were popular activities with the kids. What a refresher during our hard and yes hot work. We finished at 4 as we said our goodbyes to the kiddos whom have seemed to already find attachment to us. We reminded them we'll returned tomorrow to work & play! Back in San Lucas Tolmilán after work, we visited Candace's friend Letícia for a tortilla-making workshop, as well as water jug carrying demonstration. Are we feeling Guatemalan yet? Dinner consisted of egg-battered, fried green beans as well as meat & veggie patties and lemonade. The lemonade was almost as sweet as our day spent in San Lucas El Mirador, but I'm not sure it could match the sweetness of the kids and relationships we've started to make in the community. Today was most definitely sweet. 

Guatemala 5/28

Coffee, banana pancakes & sunshine, what a way to start the day! Breakfast was followed by a scenic truck drive with sights of massive mountains & erupting volcanoes to San Lucas El Mirador, where we will be building stoves for families. Today was meant for meeting many new faces, and getting a subtle introduction into the community before we go to work on the stoves. We got to spend time learning all about the various technologies there are when it comes to stoves within the village. This helped us gain a better understanding of the impact we will be making on the families we are building the stoves for. After visiting San Lucas El Mirador, we visited a connection of Candace's, Juan, (a basket weaver). Juan is the only basket weaver in the community, and his kids have no desire to pick up the trade, which classifies it as a dying art in the community. This made our time spent with Juan that much more special. Juan is a very patient & kind man who preaches practice. His wife, Rosaria also told us that the ones who have the passion, will finish with a great basket, wise woman. Afterword back at our hotel, Marbila and Grís served us traditional Guatemalan soup & salad as well as fried chicken. ¡El mejor pollo en el Mundo! Lots of laughs & reflections to be shared at dinner. San Lucas is treating us well. 

Monday, May 29, 2017

Guatemala 5/27

What a busy & exciting time we've had so far here in Guatemala. I was so tied up in everything that was happening around me, I forgot about wifi completely, (hence my lack of a first day post).
Anyways, our travels were safe & comfortable, as well as our quant hotel, Casa Blanca in Guatemala City, where we rested our heads for the night before heading to San Lucas Tolimán. So much to see on our way to San Lucas Tolimán. Busy streets in the city turned into winding roads into rural area where mountains, volcanoes and fields of coffee sat. Eventutaly through the rural areas and into the city of San Lucas Tolimán, we found our hotel Los Pasados Volcanes where we were greeted by our lovely and friendly hostesses, Marbila and Grís. They love to laugh and are GREAT chefs! Candace's friend Goyo, a local agriculturalist and permaculture expert, gave us a highly informative and interesting presentation about two anchient seeds important to the Mayan culture, Chia & Amaranth. We then made Amaranth bars under his direction, which then turned to granola instead. Haha. Afterword we enjoyed a walk around town to the bakery as well as the lake. Finally, we enjoyed a fantastic dinner made by Marbila and Grís, grilled chicken, avacado, lemonade with Chia seeds Chirmo and toasted tortillas