Sunday, October 6, 2013

Day #1 Guatemala

Sunday October 6, 2013

Wow, what a day! Today was an incredible day #1 in Parramos, Guatemala. We were up at 5:00 am because our bodies had not adjusted to the time change yet.  We awoke this morning to the sound of roosters crowing, dogs barking and fire crackers.  It would have been 7:00 am back home.   There is a beautiful view of some volcanoes from the courtyard where we took in some of the early morning air.  We had time for a walk to the village square as locals set up for Sunday morning market. We bought 2 lbs of large blackberries, an enormous pineapple and two large bouquets of gorgeous flowers for $30Q or $4.00 Canadian. Carmen, our house mom, served a delicious breakfast and much anticipated coffee.  The blackberries were scrumptious.

By 9:00 am the team divided into three groups: one group sorted food while the two other groups were off to build stoves.

Peggy, Garry and Kelly went off to build one stove with a mason while Suzanne, Dianne and Brian went another direction with another qualified mason to build a stove in the village of Corrales. Our Greenbank fundraising purchased supplies for the stoves.  Each family that had a stove built were currently using an open pit fire inside their home to cook on, which is completely dangerous and hazardous for families. The required supplies consisted of cinder blocks, cement mix, gravel, sand, lime, water, cooking surface plate, door, and chimney.  The supplies were waiting there for us to create the stoves. One hundred and fifty lb bags of river bed sands, cement mix and water  were carried up the mountainside to the families’ homes.  It was exciting and rewarding to see the gratitude on the families’ faces as they saw a stove created before their eyes.

Julie, Tim, Doug and Angela remained at the guest house to assemble food hampers that are to be given out to sponsored families while we are here, 173 in total!  We had plenty of help from Marcy, a student completing her co-op portion of her schooling. Emma, Luisa, and Brenda, the children that live next door to the guest house with their mother, Erminia.  We had a system down and completed all 173 hampers in one hour and a half.  We then sorted some donated school uniforms, a necessity to attend school in Guatemala.  We used the remainder of our morning sorting all of the items we brought for communities throughout the week.

While waiting for the other two groups to return for lunch we went for a walk in the hot sun.  Julie and Angela climbed up the back of a “chicken bus” for a photo op. It’s worth the time goggling “Guatemalan chicken bus” for further information about them.

The afternoon we participated in a church service in Parramos.  Sponsored families were present to receive their monthly hamper. We planned activities for 85 children aged 3 to 14, consisting of a puppet show, songs, and wool craft - God’s Eye (goggle it).  Then one of the heartstrings experiences that hit us hard was the handing out of food hampers to kids and their families.  We wrapped up the day with a church group photo consisting of 127 people with their food hampers.

We headed back to our residence for a delicious dinner.  This blog had been interrupted with a spontaneous street band and float followed by hundreds of people carrying candles to commemorate the immaculate conception of the Virgin Mary. What an experience! 

Brian Jones, Angela DeLuca

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