Sunday, July 31, 2011

Guatemala, Day 2

Day one was spent in the airport, or in the air, so I am going to skip it except to say...what a nice room we had last night!

Day two started with us meeting in the lobby to ditch the bags we did not need to take to Quetzaltenango, where we will spend the next four days. The skies were gray and clouds wrapped around the mountains outside the hotel doors, but I must say that this lady was super happy to feel the cool breezes blowing through those doors!

Some of you know that our Compassion child in Kenya graduated last week, so we choose a new child, Aleena, here in Guatemala, and hopefully, we will be meeting her on Tuesday, and seeing her again on Friday!

We loaded onto three buses and headed SW into the mountains to the city of Quetzaltenango, which is the highest city in Central America, and also the second largest city in Guatemala.

We drove through some amazing mountains, lots of lush, green hills and farm land. We passed field after field of corn with little block houses nestled on the edegs and sevearal town markets, which were hopping on this busy Sunday morning.

The people, especially the women, in the countryside, were dressed in traditional native dress: colorful woven wrap skirts, equally colorfull tops and these cool belts. They have these beautiful woven blankets that they use for everything from slinging a baby on their backs, to wrapping up baskets of good to go to market. I am amazed at how many uses they have for those beautiful blankets!

We also passed three volcanos, and the the lake which is nestled at the base, Lake Atitlan, which is a pretty famous place here. I don't think we will get much closer than this, but it was beautiful!

Once we arrived at the hotel, we had an amazing lunch, took a short nap and then headed over to a local church for service and dinner. This church has a child sponsor program running and we were able to tour the classrooms, talk to the teachers and interact with some of the children. It was a most amazing time!

We were made to feel so welcome by the people of the church, where, by the way, I disovered that I am pretty darn tall! We received many hugs from most of the ladies, especially the ladies who work with the kids, and warm handshakes or hugs from the men. More than once, tiny little old women came up and gave me a big smile and a bigger hug...I really can't describe the feeling of being in a room full of people, where you don't understand much of what anyone was saying and yet feeling so welcome...just a taste of what Heaven might be like (without needing a translator)?

The children were the most fun, though, with their irrepressable energy and excitement. They all loved having their pictures taken, and really liked seeing them on the screen afterwards. Three little girls kept running up to me, giggling and laughing for their picture to be made, then dashing off again. So fun!

After an amazing dinner, (actually, amazing does not begin to describe the dinner!)we loaded the buses to head back to the hotel. Almost thought for a moment Steve and I were going to be left behind, when we got stuck behind a crowd who were waving good bye! With a loud "Con permisso!" the crowd parted and we dashed to the bus for a quick ride back to the hotel.

Off to bed now for a long sleep - we don't have to be anywhere til 9!

Interesting historical fact to note for today - the Guatemalan Futbol Team played their first ever World Cup game today! They lost (as expected - they did after all play the two time defending champions!), but it seems that all Guatemalans are super psyched that they finally made it to the Cup!