I’m grateful that my body clock allows me to respond to dogs barking and horns honking as a cue to get up. I awoke in a strange world, farm land outside my window, best house in the morning. I stared off to the mountains in the distance and I thought to myself:
Welcome to Guatemala.
I stumbled down the stairs, after a lovely hot shower in our bathroom on the fourth floor [con: no internet that high; pro: best seat in the house view-wise]. After trying not to freak out about getting the bathwater in my mouth [for fear of sickness]. Breakfast was…Americano [aka cereal and pop-tarts], being safe for the stomachs. For the first time in literal years, I gave my first devotion to the group. Simply asking them what their drive was for being here. Where their passion was. What their reason was for being over 1,000 miles away from home. Vacation? Tourism? Something more? I spoke about my passion, the draw, from the beginning of this site last July, to Darco, to life as a whole. I think they responded well, just always hitting the idea and concept of constantly keeping yourself in check for the reason you’re located where you’re located and why you’ve chosen to be there.
Afterwards we headed into the market place in El Quiche. Out there, the orphans from Casa De Mi Padre and our lovely translators gathered with us and we hit the streets; talking of God, soccer, and our activities for the week. I saw live chickens, dead chickens, live dogs, and past our drunks. Sunday morning was all about the market for this town located in the mountains. The youth in our team went up to the fountain [ironically that of an old Mayan idol], and started making balloon animals for all the children that flocked to the scene.
I must admit that it was heartbreaking to see all these children roaming about the market selling anything from shampoo to gum, just trying to earn money for their family [and in hopes of being able to eat]. You want to just give them all your money, but at the same time; you knew better.
While in the market place I was the ‘watch tower’ for the group. Truthfully, due to insane height advantage I have over the common person; I could easily find our entire crew in a moments notice; including the orphans when needed. We walked through the market, I enjoyed catching up the on Euro Cup, including gloating about Spain tying Italy [which I quickly learned is NOT something to do in Central America; still a bit sore about the whole invasion thing]. I was able to see the youth working with so many locals, just explaining to them of the reasons of why we’re here, and what we have to share with him. Encouragement doesn’t even begin to describe.
Afterwards, we had lunch back at the hotel, and headed out to two back-to-back church services. The first was in a small place, that used to be a garage. A new roof [tin and aluminum sheet] has been installed, and the A/C wasn’t working. Packed house of course, especially when the ‘gringos’ take up half the building, and I was “wise” enough to sit directly over the one hole to which the sun shined directly on my neck.
I thought I was going to die.
Maria, one of our translators nearly fainted next to me, and the elevating heat nearly did us in. We were able to find out how the translation process would take place on stage [important for Day 3]. Small sentences, easy words; frequently pauses. After about ninety minutes, we said are farewells and headed across Del Quiche [I have since been corrected on the name of town of 40,000 people] to another church.
What wasn’t planned was the dinner that we arrived to at the second church. The ladies within the church prepared us a dinner of corn, rice, potatoes, carrots and our choice of beef or pork stuffed with…other things. Truthfully, the meal was absolutely fantastic, though at this point through way of heat; I had already created a rather nasty headache and was praying for rest…and sleep…and high power medication. Also, because of my curiosity and Majo’s [translator] poor guidance and peer pressure, I found myself inside a store getting ready to purchase a glass bottle of Pepsi.
I was charged 8 Q’s [currency]. I paid for it with 10 Q’s, got my change and left. It was later at night that I learned everyone else who wasn’t a red head in a dress shirt and slacks, paid between 1-3 Q’s for the same beverage.
Yep, I had been had by a kid half my size [and probably age]. It was at this point I decided that the translators were my security blanket and I would not leave a group without them by my side; either Marco, Majo, or Becky. After dinner worship service dos started up; this concrete block of a building was nice and cool, but the common audience must be the average age of 101 because the music was insanely loud. I mean, we’re talking a rock concert but with hymns from books of the 1880’s [bit tongue and cheek there]. So, after my ears had been destroyed, we packed up and headed back to Hostel Santa Maria. By this time I had received some much needed medication for my head. We had a short worship service downstairs of the hostel, and then went our different ways to our rooms. I stopped and talked to Marco, Majo, and Becky; outlining the events for the next day; as day three was focused on this random soccer clinic, and I hit the sack. I was nervous about the next day, not sure how many people would show up, and if the rain would hold off. So many questions, so many prayers, and like that; day two was in the books.