Dia dos is under wraps!
Or, maybe tortillas, as we’ve had them with every meal so far. Except for today’s breakfast, when we ate delicious homemade banana pancakes with honey instead of syrup. Though different than what we are used to back at home, many agreed that the honey was a great touch.
Today our limits were pushed when interacting with the locals and people living in the village we are working in, Porvenir. Some of us with a Spanish background were used as translators while others sat there knowing nothing but two Spanish words. Shockingly to many, overcoming the language barrier was simpler than expected. Picking up some words and using tone of voice was very effective. It was overheard that some youth wish they paid more attention in their Spanish classes (we won’t name names!).
Early this morning, the twenty-something team split into two pick-up trucks to take our drive through the mountains. We were reminded if we hear a thunder-like sound, it is just the volcanes (volcanos) and we should not worry - a noisy volcano is a good thing!
Our drive was a bumpy one, and it didn’t help that we all were standing in the backs. As Pastor James mentioned, it felt as if the potholes were similar to the ones we see on Chicago roads! Besides that, it was filled with curvy mountain roads with palm trees and coffee bean farms surrounding the streets.
We instantly knew we had arrived at our destination when saw balloons tied to posts and trees as we drove in the village. Women and children were standing besides the cars smiling and waving to greet us.
We sat in a community room and listened as Candace translated stories the women shared with us, continually thanking us for our service. We were given a gift basket filled with freshly picked fruits such as oranges, bananas, papaya, cantaloupe and pineapple. Then they guided us to each of their houses to show us their current living conditions. This consisted of poorly built and/or operating stoves. Some common problems were smoke leaking into the house and rotting inside roofs and walls, the sides of the stoves getting too hot to come close to while cooking, and open flames that could be hazardous especially to young children.
After lunch (served with yummy homemade pineapple juice), we split up to our assigned family’s home and started working! To sum up our experience today, we mixed cement, used a machete to chop cinder blocks, and pieced the two together to make the base of our ovens.
The teams’ goal (with the encouragement of Transformational Journeys) is to complete 20 ovens during our stay. However, we are reminded to take our time and spend it getting to know the families as well.
Prior to breakfast we read and discussed a Lectio Divina, a divine reading. We ended our discussion with this:
Please, God, reveal to me through stories something of what it is like to walk around in someone else’s shoes. Show me something about myself in the stories I read, something that needs to change, a thought or feeling or attitude.
Deliver me from myself, O God, and from the parochial and sometimes prejudiced views I have of other people, other nations, other races, other religions.
Enlarge my heart with a story, and change me by the characters I meet there.
May some of the light from their lives spill over into mine, giving illumination where there was once ignorance, interest where there was once indifference, understanding where there was once intolerance, compassion where there was once contempt. Amen.
Thanks for reading!
-Guatemala Mission Team