Sunday, July 27, 2014

Saturday post by Pat Strong

Today was our last day in Guatemala before catching our flights back to the U.S. and experiencing re-entry. We drove from our base in the lakeside town of San Lucas Toliman through scenic vistas of volcanoes, coffee trees and small villages as we headed to Antigua which is about 45 minutes from Guatemala City. This Spanish colonial town, the former capital of Guatemala, had a catastrophic earthquake in 1773. Many ruins and old cathedrals remain today and are seen throughout the city. Antigua has varieties of people including many indigenous people wearing their customary weaved clothing and headdress to very cosmopolitan shoppers in heels and short skirts which we would never have seen in the small villages of San Lucas or San Jose where we were building the cook stoves. The city offers artisan markets, crowded local markets with everything from chickens for sale to beef hanging, cowboy boot shaped pasta to salsas, local made chocolates to Nivea skin cream. There were many stalls with colorful weavings from around the country and a special artisan market with examples of the many combinations of traditional clothing weaved in the chosen colors and patterns of each indigenous community.  
From special chocolate shops to art galleries there was so much to see.  We were able to photograph El Arco, watch the constant traffic in the local main square and go into La Merced Cathedral and atop it to view ruins from the earthquake. From high we could view the volcanic mountains and the city. One of the favorite places was the hotel Casa Santo Domingo which had extremely  scenic grounds.  The runs here show the preservation of the old blended with the comforts of the new. We had dinner together and a poem was read for our fantastic and fearless leader of Transformational Journeys. Tomorrow morning we head back home and are sad to be leaving this gorgeous country with its welcoming peoples. As we think about how much there is to do for others we are a bit overwhelmed. One of our group gave great advice as he quoted, " Think globally, change locally". That is excellent advice. Here is to hoping we can all take this experience forward to continue to make a difference in the world and we can do it locally and globally.

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