Saturday, August 1, 2009

Day 6 from Casey

Danny and Greg with VBS kids

For about a dozen of our team members, the long-awaited journey to Guatemala began with a week of Spanish language school, consisting of five intensive hours of one on one instruction. Each night, we were given about 5 pages of homework to hone the skills and concepts taught that day in class. However, a majority of this time period was spent outside the classroom, in the historic and charming streets of Antigua. In the afternoons, the group had free time to roam and explore each and every corner of the city. From lounging in the internet cafes, visiting a nearby coffee plantation, enjoying a delicious collection of cookies and coffee, to climbing the massive Volcan Pacaya, everyone thoroughly benefitted from their own personal experience.
Exactly a week after departing from the Bay Area, we reunited with the remaining team members at Hotel Spring in Guatemala City, which officially marked the beginning of the mission portion of the trip. This week, we have been working on two separate construction sites about thirty minutes outside of the city. Our main tasks thus far have been tying rebar to support the buildings’ foundations, moving piles of sand and rock, and most recently, mixing and pouring concrete. In the afternoon, a group of us visit the local church to run the VBS (Vacation Bible School) program, which consists of singing and dancing, face painting, Bible stories, a puppet show, and sports to conclude the day. Typically, we then return to Hotel Spring to clean up and get ready for our group dinners, which have been plentiful and filling for all, despite the recent bout of stomach pains experienced by a number of team members. Tomorrow is the finale of our mission work, with the lengthy farewell church service hosted by the locals.
On Monday morning, we are scheduled to drive to Lake Atitlan for a couple days of reflection and rest. On Wednesday, the group arrives in Antigua for a final day of tourism. After about two and a half weeks for some of us, we depart early on Thursday morning for our flight to Dallas, where we have a layover before finally coming home to San Francisco. Here is a list of the funnier moments during the trip:
· Solving all 600 levels of the block game
· Danny eating the concoction at Pollo Campero
· Eating too many breadsticks at Pizza Mia
· Me lighting my napkin on fire at Finca Colombia and almost burning my hand off
· Mrs. Marty accidently calling the soup at the homestay house “malo” (which means bad)

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