Hello from Guatemala!
Today was another amazing and sunny day. We started the morning with lectio divina, which was about entering God’s Kingdom (Mark 10:17-27). It opened our minds and prepared our hearts for the first full day of work ahead of us.
After a wonderful breakfast prepared by Felipe and Marbila, who own our hotel, we left the building to go see what Candace’s friend Jose had for us to purchase. Jose was offering customized pencils, bracelets and many other beaded options that he sells to make a living.
We headed out to work and crammed into our pickup trucks (don’t worry mom we didn’t have seatbelts). During the ride to Porvenir, the community that we work in, we saw beautiful views of at least two of the volcanoes in Guatemala along with sights of the many coffee fields here.
We jumped right into work on the stoves, putting together cinder blocks and maybe even getting the chimney up (btw that is one heavy half of a chimney). The groups worked hard up until lunch time when we ate another wonderful meal prepared by Felipe and Marbila. Many of us played soccer with of some of the children from the community, and let me tell you, those games got intense. Everybody came back slightly sweaty and tired, but we continued to work.
Our group including Kaylee, Ruth, Skyler, and Manuel, our mason, struggled with getting Manuel up onto the roof. We used some wood to make sure that Manuel and the chimney would not fall through the roof of sheet metal. As I (Skyler) handed Manuel the heavy chimney half and ushered him up the ladder, Kaylee, Ruth, and Skyler rushed to the stove to help him get the chimney in position. While waiting inside the small kitchen, we heard many thuds and were worried for Manuel’s safety. We three said a quick prayer and were thankful to God when Manuel and the stove were both perfectly safe. We were all so grateful for everyone’s safety and the progress that we had made on this incredible project. Then Candace showed up and commented on how I was super duper strong because I lifted the chimney, and I responded by saying (while flexing and pointing), which way is the gun show? Of course everybody had a laughing fit after that.
All of the groups got very close to finishing and will most likely finish our first stoves tomorrow by lunch time. When we were all getting ready to leave, we began to play with the children again, some playing soccer, some simply carrying the children around or playing silly games. The children were extremely happy that we were playing with them and spending time with them, and it left all of us in an even better mood as well.
When everybody had showered, we headed out for a tutorial, from the mason’s wives in tortilla making, which is much more difficult than it seems, carrying lots of firewood on your back, or water on your head, all of these being customary to Guatemalan culture. Laticia, one of the masons wives, told us that she makes up to 180 tortillas a day, but we could barely even make one during ten minutes. Not pointing fingers, but I heard that someone threw their tortilla across the room (AHEM Lauren). But anyway, she wasn’t the only one. On the way home we either tried to play sardines in the pickup truck, or rode the tuk-tuks. Tuk-tuks are basically a tiny top-speed taxi. The rest of the night was relaxed with card games and with some of us creating a video for everybody’s entertainment. Now it’s off to bed, but we’ll be back with another update tomorrow!