Saturday, February 11, 2012

Yes we're home and the adventure continues...

Thanks to all of you who have followed our travels to this country filled with amazing people!  The last days photo's have been added to the album on the St. Elizabeth Service Peace and Justice facebook page.  Pat and I continue to process the experience, answer questions, and share the stories of many beautiful Guatemalan people.  Fr. Tom told us before we left and again last night, that's it's impossible to go on a trip like this and return unchanged.  We know in our hearts just how true that is and look forward to hearing your ideas on becoming more involved. Paz de Dios!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Adventure over...or just beginning

We arrived home early Friday morning.  It was a long day, starting at 4am on Thursday (Guatemala time), leaving for the airport at 5am (what a hair-raising trip! and it was 1 1/2 hours. Thank you, Oscar, for your careful driving), and three planes.  Luckily two of those connections allowed us to stretch out in our rows and catnap.  We arrived a half hour early in Anchorage, 12:30am on Friday (3:30am Guatemala time).  Caroline has more photos to load, most on our last two visits to pueblos.  One of them received computers funded by Bowman Elementary School here in Anchorage.  It was such an honor to participate in the delivery and see the absolute excitement these items created.  I'll be looking forward to hearing how they are used.  Now that we are back, we realize how much more there is to do.  Already we have been talking with friends about the different experiences but also answering questions as to how others may be involved.  It'll be up to us to share our enthusiasm and spread the word that travel to Guatemala is a wonderful, enriching, positive, rewarding opportunity.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Visiting Pueblos

The last two days we have been visiting different schools that are assisted by Avivara.  One more tomorrow.  Check out the pictures on the facebook page.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Making the most of our last days

Had a leisurely start to this morning before heading out to sightsee and SHOP.  Don´t worry, Spouses.  Also spent some time at La Merced.  Built in the mid-1500`s, damaged and rebuilt many times over the years, actually centuries.  Beautiful.  And it´s where our own Fr. Tom and the current seminarians come to learn Spanish and study.  Caroline had been taking photos and there should soon be some at Facebook.  We had our last day at the hospital yesterday.  More moving than I`d expected.  Rosabela, a little boy I believe may be new to the hospital, won my heart.  Of the children with whom I`d spent time, he was the only one who was responding to his environment.  We have also finished our Spanish class.  Sorry, but for now I only live in the present; I have no past and no least conversationally.  We`re looking forward to traveling to the pueblos next week, seeing some of the schools Avivara works with.  One in particular, El Rosario, is in need of a school-to-school partnership (and why not parish-school-to-school?).

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Everyday something new

This morning we went off to spanish class and ended up touring a coffee plantation!  Had a great time learning about the process.  Did you know that 1 coffee plant produces 40 cups of coffee a year?  And if you like espresso that´s 16 cups per year.  Gave us a new perspective on our consumption.  And then when we heard that the pickers receive Q60 per so many pounds (with our memories we wrote it down, but don´t have the notes with us!).  We also tried our hand at picking and it´s not as easy as it looks, hard work.  This particular plantation is fair trade, so at other plantations the pay is not as much.
After lunch we went off to learn to cook a traditional Guatemala meal.  It´s a surprise receipe to be revealed when we return.
Adidos for now!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Settled in

It appears that our times at the hospital will not be as numerous as we´d thought.  Today we went and discovered many, many young people with the children.  It´s actually quite wonderful to see.  And if you have any concerns about this next generation, be at ease.  We have seen and met numerous young adults spending weeks and months volunteering. 
While our hospital visits may be fewer, our opportunities at the escuelita San Pedro las Huertas are more than we´d expected.  The children are most forgiving of our Spanish faux pas and are happy to teach us "espaƱol".  We speak some English with them.  Ann shares their stories with us and we are delighted to see the enthusiasm they bring in spite of difficulties.  The children begin with a few questions from Ann, encouraging them to speak in complete sentences.  Then word games to again encourage sentences and good grammar (capitals, punctuation, etc.).  Then on to homework from the public school which they attend in the morning.  We can help a bit, especially Caroline with the math.  Free time includes reading, games, puzzles.  The two hours pass quickly, with lots of smiles from students and visitors.  They are such welcoming and happy children.
Our Spanish classes come to an end on Friday.  Triste!  But until then we have lots to do - study, of course, visit landmarks, and tomorrow a cooking class.  Be prepared at the next potluck!!!
Caroline`s all prepped and ready to load more photos on Facebook.  Take a few minutes and visit.  If you haven´t visited yet, access through the parish webpage and the select the dove for peace and justice.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Returning from another adventure

We had a wonderful, moving weekend at Santiago Atitlan.  We visited the Catholic Church (that´s how it´s known there) where in 1981 Fr. Steve Rother was assisinated in the rectory.  We would have liked to spend more time at the church, but the pan handling was a bit much for us.  This morning we walked down to the Peace Park a memorial to commerate more martyrs of the civil war.
We stayed at the Posada Santiago, where the food is muy delicisio!  Shortly after our arrival, Pat was chatting with John while standing in the stone cottage (our room) when an earthquake hit.  Caroline was outside shooting the beautiful flowers when Pat hurriedly exit - after all it was made of stone! We feel pretty good that we traveled on our own - 2 to 3 hours via shuttle (mini van with lot´s of windows), then on boat from Panachel to Santiago and back home.
Tomorrow is off to escuela espanol in the morning and escuelita in San Pedro los Huertas in the afternoon.
Hopefully tomorrow the pics of Santiago will get uploaded on facebook.  Adios!