Began our day with Daily Prayer & Reflection led by Rev. Ted. An almost ‘American’ breakfast followed of banana pancakes, pineapple, papaya and the usual delicious coffee and juice. Honey replaced syrup. Ted mentioned this was his favorite meal!
Today, the Sabbath, is a well adhered to day in Guatemala---a day of rest except for the vendors at the expansive market extending all around the streets in town. Market would be like going to the grocery store for us, but with limited refrigeration, the people must shop often. Our hotel hostess, Marbila, accompanied us today, and she and Candace educated us on some of the food not indigenous to the States. Guatemala’s fruits and vegetables were much larger than ours. A little disconcerting for me were all the raw fish, seafood and meat lying out in the open air, usually with someone swatting the insects vying for sustenance. Add to that the many dogs everywhere hoping to find a scrap or two. In addition to food, you could buy clothes, toiletries, household products, live chickens and on and on. Marbila bought some fruits and vegetables, which she later incorporated into our meals.
We toured the town, including a stop at the cemetery---very different from ours, with mostly crudely constructed mausoleums. There were many mounds of dirt for those who couldn't afford a mausoleum. Standing in the center of the cemetery was a beautiful mausoleum, the burial site for Father Gregory for whom San Gregorio is named, and two other prominent Priests. A brief stop to buy some souvenirs and back to our hotel for a short rest before noon lunch. Marbila prepared a dish called pache, which was mashed potatoes mixed with salsa surrounding a piece of chicken, wrapped in local leaves and cooked. A special treat of chocolate covered bananas topped off the meal.
Our afternoon trip took us to the Café Tzampetey Coffee Cooperative for a tour and detailed explanation of the coffee making process. Candace has been supporting this business by importing their coffee to Kansas City. We even saw her next partial shipment being held under lock and key. For a sample, go to the Broadway Cafe in KC. Before departing, we bought bags of coffee to take home with us. We thanked the President and General Manager for our tour and the handmade bracelets they gave us and were on our way home, stopping at two scenic overlooks for photo opts.
After a two-hour break, we gathered for an Educational Meeting with Dennis Evans, a local educator, originally from England, who has devoted the last 22 years to promoting education in San Lucas Toliman. It was an hour of enlightenment in understanding how the school system works in Guatemala.
Our usual devotion was followed by another delicious dinner. We ate pork chops and fresh green beans from the market today accompanied by a tomato based sauce. Did I mention tortillas?
Today was truly a cultural experience.
Photos: Gabe Hopkins
Photos: Gabe Hopkins