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Free Time Reports from Guatemala

Posted on March 29th, 2010

Guatemala/Mexico 8Las Gringas Perdidas
We went to Antigua, where we spent loads of money on gifts (feel loved). We dined on cheesecake and cappuccino slushies. A random shoeshine boy offered Sara some weed. (Don’t worry. She declined.) We raced around in tuk-tuks, and Amy lap-hopped around a chicken bus. When we left, we hopped the wrong bus. Fortunately, Karla is smart and we´re good at robbing ayudantes. When we got back to CASAS, we took a taxi to the bus station and enjoyed stadium seating in the bus to Carcha, where the adventures really began.

Las Faldas Confundidas
Sunday began early, as we left Carcha with Galen and Phyllis Groff, EMM missionaries, at 5 am. We picked up a random hitchhiker (OK, not so random. He was the MCC SALTer, Luke, who we hung out with all week). We rode 3 hours into the jungle in the back of a jeep, and then hiked another hour into a village. Sara was thrilled out of her mind. Sara and Amy were wearing traditional Q´eqchi garb borrowed from Phyllis, and were very glad on multiple occasions that they had worn pants underneath them. Our Q´eqchi hermanos and hermanas graciously fed us two delicious meals. After church and playing with the little ones, we hiked back to the jeep, where all skirts were promptly ditched. We drove another hour to Laguna Lechua National Park, where we hiked 45 minutes to a cabin on the lake. We spent the evening swimming, eating PBJ, staring at the most beautiful array of stars we’d ever seen, and talking about God around a campfire.

Las Nietas Quemadas
We got up early to see the sunrise. Sara went for a trek through the jungle by herself. Sonnie, Amy and Karla saw a crocodile in the lake. It was then when we understood why the sign said not to swim past 50 meter. (Amy and Sonnie did their best to ignore said sign… and were successful on multiple occasions, and everyone returned in one piece.) We feasted on bread-what-whats and were lazy in the sun for the rest of the day, until journeying back to the home of Galen and Phyllis in Carcha.

Las Patitas Amusadas
This was our first day volunteering at the Bezaleel school. We taught an English class, met the students and learned Q´eqchi words and phrases, most of which we promptly forgot. We followed Luke around all day like ducklings, and there was much laughter mostly caused by Luke. That evening, we moved in with our Q´eqchi families. Karla and Sara had an impromptu sewing lesson with one of their sisters. Sonnie and Amy were killed via “slingshot” more than 20 times, thanks to their 3-year-old nephew. All 4 paritas began to develop our tortilla making skills, to the amusement of our families.

Las Jugadoras y La Enfermerita

Upon our arrival at Bezaleel, we began our day with an impromptu music class on the soccer field. Then, we divided up to teach English classes. Amy is fairly certain the only word her class will remember is “kiss”. As part of English classes, we took some of the kids on nature walks. After English classes, Amy left with Phyllis to volunteer at the clinic and tour the hospital. Luke, Karla, and Sonnie taught the younger kids to play Capture the Flag, while Sara played soccer with the older ones.

The Dream Team
Our project of the day was to paint the library red and bright yellow. We got high on paint fumes and accomplished our task. For English class we taught American slang, including “What´s up?” and “ditto”. We sat and talked with kids for hours, exchanging Q´echi and English words and phrases. It was extremely hard to leave at the end of the day. When we got back to our homes, we had the delightful pleasure of taking bucket baths. (Seriously, we loved it!) After baths, Amy and Sonnie played Dutch Blitz with 2 of their siblings.

Semuc Champan- Karla Mumaw Las Aventureras Traviesas
We dawned early and took a micro bus to the town of Lanquin. Then we rode in the back of truck to Semuc Champey (thereby fulfilling all of our transportational desires). Semuc Champey is a gorgeous waterfall that Luke told us about. We spent the day swimming and climbing. And as we remembered sunscreen, we did not repeat the experience of Monday. We returned to Carcha to enjoy our last evening with our families. Amy and Sonnie attempted to balance water jugs on their Heads. Epic Fail! Karla and Sara played the ultimate Mennonite game… and won!

The Brokenhearted Girls
We´re sitting here in the park in Coban, dreading returning to Guatemala City. It’s been a day of goodbyes to new families and friends. And our hardest goodbye is yet to come, as we leave Guatemala tomorrow.

-Amy Layman, Karla Mumaw, Sara Beachy, and Sonnie Seigfried

Finca Ixobel, Tree House Cabin- Bethany Johnson, Allison Sherer Friday – we left as soon as we finished our classes at CASAS in order to get an early start
Saturday – we saw 2 quetzal birds
Sunday – we slept in tree houses
Monday – we slept in hammocks
Tuseday – we hiked/hacked through the jungle for 7 hours and visited 5 caves
Wednesday – we rode horses back from the jungle
Thursday – we spent 8.5 hours on buses and had peanut butter/Nutella sandwiches for lunch
Friday – we spent the day swimming through caves by candlelight, tubing down a river, and swimming in the pools of Semuc Champey
Saturday – we explored the incredible market in Coban

-Katie Jantzen, Allison Sherer, and Bethany Johnson