Buenos Dias from Guatemala!
The other day we piled into the back of two trucks and headed up a twisty, rough, crazy road to Palacal. We passed through a few towns during the hour long drive—this has probably been the most eye-opening experience of the trip for me so far. All of the people, both adults and children, greeted us as we drove by. We waved and shouted “hola!” and tried to take pictures of the smiling children. I have never felt so welcomed in my life.
A couple of days ago we had the opportunity to see the Clinica Maxena. The differences between healthcare in the U.S. and Guatemala are staggering. At the clinic, we met a woman in her 80’s who had compound fractured her femur two months ago. She had no family to help her so she had been staying at the clinic. This week she was able to try walking again—for the first time in two months! Despite all of this, the woman was smiling and waving at us from her bed—this ultra enthusiastic wave involved her entire arm, not just her hand and wrist!!! However, only a few minutes later we saw a woman who was at the clinic with her malnourished baby. She didn’t smile and didn’t make eye contact. It broke my heart to finally witness the pain and sadness so many Guatemalans are experiencing.
Yesterday we spent the day at La Asuncion, the Catholic school started by Father Hazelton. As soon as we jumped out of the trucks we were greeted with smiles and hugs from the students. We spent the day touring the school and attempting to interact with the students and teachers in Spanish. Of course while we were trying to improve our Spanish, the students were trying to practice their English (I found myself answering their questions in Spanish, even though they had asked me in English!) Although the entire day was filled with special moments to remember, my favorite was playing basketball with the students. At first we played a U.S. versus Guatemala game, but then we decided to mix up both teams. Since we really had no easy way of distinguishing our own team from the other, we were forced to really learn each other’s names and faces. My Guatemalan teammates were Feliciano, Frederico, Maria, and Gloria. It was incredible to feel the connection with the Asuncion students, despite the very obvious language barrier. We passed to one another, cheered, and congratulated.
To end on a funny note, I gotta tell a story about my sad attempt to communicate in Spanish. Before mass, a 15 year-old boy started talking to me. It had started to rain and we were talking about how beautiful it is in Guatemala when it rains. I was trying to say it is more beautiful than the U.S. I used the word “meyor,” which means older instead of the word “mejor” which means better. Oops. After realizing that this made absolutely no sense, I tried to tell the boy that I was trying my best to speak in Spanish. I said, “Estoy tragando!!” (I’m trying). The boy kindly informed me that the correct verb is “tratar” and not “tragar” because tragar means swallow. So I basically said “I’m swallowing” instead of “I’m trying.” Oops again!!! I will never forget the boy’s confused face. We got a pretty good laugh out of this and continued teaching each other Spanish and English.
Okay, I think its time for a nap now Adios!!!
By the way, banana spiders are huge.
Good thing John isn’t there, Jacey! He wouldn’t like the spiders, big or small! Sounds like you all are still having the greatest experience of your young lives! Our prayers and thoughts are with you daily, and yes, He is good—He listens to his children and answers all of their prayers! In America, in Guatemala, EVERYWHERE!!
Love to all,
Kim and Tom Lobeg
It’s a darn good thing I’m not there because seeing a gigantic spider would have probably ended the trip for me! I’m so glad you are having an amazing experience Jace. Continue to let your light shine for all of those who desperately need it! I’m thinking about you and praying for you constantly. Love you and miss you!
Vaya con dios!
JACE! I miss you! I have been checking this site daily to see if you finally wrote something hehe. It sounds like you are having the time of your life there…I’m so jealous. Just relax and enjoy this once in a lifetime experience…..most people will NEVER see what you are experiencing right now so just embrace it. I love you girl and I’ve been thinking of you everyday! Miss you! Keep having a blast!
You experiences sound both amazing and fun. We can’t wait to hear all the stories when you return.
We miss you.
Love Ken & Ann
Jacey! I got to hear(read) from you twice in one day! It feels so good to hear about the wonderful time you are having. What a wonderful experience, one that most of us should be required to have. You and your classmates are truly blessed.
By the way, the banana spider is pretty much the same as our garden spider, I think. And your Dad would have been out of there too!
We miss you and love you!
P.S. Dad is worried about the rides in the back of the trucks, of course.