We are alive and well, and FINALLY in Guatemala!
The day day started out early catching a 7:10am shuttle back to the airport for a 10:30am direct flight. The plane ride was a little bumpy… literally because of turbulance… but all was well because we got to watch the new Star Wars movie during the flight. And we get sandwiches! Overall, pretty sweet ride.
We arrived in Guatemala City, Guatemala, around 12:30pm their time, and that’s only where the fun had just begun.
First, we took an insane bus ride to Antiqua up a winding, busy, narrow mountain side – motion sickness was definitely present for most of us.
Next, we ate a fresh lunch at a place called “Café Sky”. The food was BEYOND amazing, to say the least! All of it was freah from local farmers, and prepared in a safe way for our adapting American stomachs. Austyn, as well as a handful of the others, had quesadillas… “it was so incredibly fresh! I can’t ever go back to Taco Bell!” Nicole and Molly shared the most decked out nacho’s we have ever seen. And the salads were so fresh it’s almost as if the ingredients were picked right then – acovados have never tasted this good.
After that we tried to exchange our money at the banks in Antiqua… but because it’s Holy Week, and more importantly Psalms Sunday, nothing was open past 3:00pm, so we could not exchange our money. However, we did get time to scavenge the market! While in Antiqua, we were able to witness the traditional “carpet making” (photo attached below) and a ceremonial parade prosessional – the parade floats, for lack of a better term, are carried on the shoulders of men. This tradition is passed down through family generations, and is incredibly sacred. Followed by a full band, it was wonderful to get a snapshot at the culture as we did today.
Finally, our night ended with dinner with a local co-op farmers and his family. Timoteo, the father of the farmer family, is a coffee farmer who has been working with coffee growing for 26 years. He has been a part of the co-op here for 11 years. However, Timoteo has been working on a farm with his family all of his life – after he finished fourth grade, his family could no longer afford to send him to school, so he helped on the farm. Timoteo has lived his whole life working so that we could afford for his children (5) to go to school. One daugther is a school teacher, another daughter is an accountant, his only son is a carpenter and coffee grower, and he did not talk about his other children. The way a family functions here is completely different than how it is back home… culture sure has shocked us.
Tomorrow, we will spend all day hiking, picking, and processing coffee with another local co-op farmer (who just happens to be Timoteo’s brother!).
Thanks for checking in with us!
ASB Guatemala 🙂
*sorry, could not upload all of the photos for tonight for some reason – we will try again tomorrow for this post.
Whether it is sunk in yet or not you are on an experience of a life time. I was actually part of the group that first went to Guatemala in Spring 2011. Being the first ASB group to go international offered us the chance to really expand out of our comfort zones not only by not knowing who our local contact looked like but the family life and the food…o my goodness the food do I miss! Be careful coming back home because American food does a number on your system after eating that natural food. Over six years later I still talk about the amazing stories we heard from the families we dined with in the evening, the “bathrooms” and how great the food made us feel. The families we dined with were such happy homes even though most of them had dirt for floors. I remember one day we were dining with a family and the children were playing in the dirt. They were not angry about not having a video game or their favorite shirt. They simply enjoyed having their family a stick and some dirt. There are days I want to just jump on a plane and go back because of the unrealistic expectations that are put on the materialistic life we have created for ourselves here. It was actually because of that trip I down graded my iphone back to a flip phone and do not have internet or cable in my house. Speaking of internet I have kept you long enough from the world of Guatemala. Do not shy away from meeting some great people, being willing to listen intently to their stories, and take pictures/notes but do not let that block you from simply enjoying what is around you with your eyes in the moment. Adios Amigos!
No pix? Looking for smiles, sweat, and mud!