Friday, January 04, 2008

Guatemala #14: Concert and Peachey family in Guatemala

So, I'm going to take you on a whirlwind tour of the past 4 months with a series of posts(I last posted in August...AUGUST!) So, get ready, I had a bunch of posts building up in my head and my notebook. Even so, I'm going to skip a couple of important things, which I will hopefully post later, such as a trip to Zacapa, a trip to El Salvador, a group from Nicaragua and Honduras that we hosted here in Guatemala, my friend Rachael's visit, a Central American Anabaptist Meeting, a recycling project and a mural!

But, now, to the fun stuff, the Christmas concert, on December 15th!

Keyboard group playing Joy to the World

Kids singing about riding on a donkey to Bethlehem.


Two wonderful keyboard students playing Campanas de Belén (Bells of Bethlehem)!

Kids on Guitar

And, my family came to visit! We covered a lot of Guatemala in two short weeks, and saw some very different sites, took some very fun bus rides, and met a whole lot of people.

Here are some pictures from our trips:

Tikal, Guatemala - an ancient Mayan city, most of which is still covered by jungle. It was built and inhabited more or less between 200 and 800 AD. The biggest buildings have been excavated, and in this picture we're standing on top of one of the tallest pyramids in the Mayan world. Note the other pyramids and temples in the background.

Lake Atitlán, (Panajachel, Santiago and Panabaj) -
We visited a couple of towns by the lake.

Then we took a two hour ride in the back of a pick-up, around the lake, up high, very high in the mountains. The 3:00 bus out of Santiago hadn't come that day, so a man with a pick-up truck offered to take us to another place to catch a bus, as he happened to be going that way. We didn't realize how far of a drive it was, but it was worth every minute, because of the amazing view we had almost the whole trip of the late afternoon sun and clouds over the volcanoes and the lake. Part of the time we were up so high, we were in the clouds!

Lunch in Antigua

Christmas Day, Phở at Shannon's house!

I'll finish up with a list that my parents had me write down, of all the products that are sold on public buses. They told me I should write a blog post about it, because it shows the differences in context between Guatemala, or Central America, and the US. So, one very common part of the informal economy is to sell things, especially on buses. It takes skill and perseverance, as the buses are crowded, dirty, noisy, and weave back and forth through traffic. A bus vendor has to keep their balance while passing out their product and collecting money, and find a way to make their sales pitch so that all can hear above the noise of the bus and traffic without straining their voices too much so that they can then get on another bus and do it all again.

Here is a sampling of the products you can buy while on the bus:

phone cards
many sorts of fruit
cashews or peanuts with lemon
rice and chicken
water, juice or soda
chile relleno (stuffed peppers)
natural medicine (capsules or packets)
pens and highlighters
ID holders, wallets
pen flashlights
ice cream

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Guatemala #13: Kites!

One of the coolest things I saw in the past couple of months was.....


Santiago, Sacatepéquez, November 1st 2007 (it's a Nov. 1 tradition)

This is a small kite, that they are preparing to takes about 4 people running with the string to get it up in the air well...and they fall sometimes too!

One of the huge 17 meter in diameter kites, still in construction...these gigantic ones are not fly-able. They are made out of bamboo sticks, tape and colored tissue paper.

Two of the best gigantic ones...

Guatemala #12: In the News!

There have been a couple of short articles published recently about different projects here in Guatemala. These projects are all run by different partner agencies; the Guatemala City Mennonite Churches, the K'ekchi Mennonite Churches, Caritas of Guatemala, and are supported by Mennonite Central Committee.

Beading Cooperative, Panabaj

Music School, Guatemala City

Weaving in Altaverapaz

Photo Gallery, Guatemala

Another project that is very new, is a preschool that one of the Mennonite churches began this year. (meaning 2007) Volunteer teachers worked with about 21 kids, ages 3-5 during weekday mornings for about 9 months. Here are some pictures of the Graduation ceremony!

Anabaptist Evangelical Church Renewed Covenant

Lining up for Graduation

Guatemala #11: Friends!

I've wanted to put up pictures of some of my friends for awhile now. Here are some of my favorite people in Guatemala!

Gilma Córdova - Secretary/does all things administrative and much more, for the Mennonite Church Conference in Guatemala City.

Noé Galvan - Gilma's husband, and Project Coordinator for the church's emergency relief/development project working with a rural community devastated by a mudslide from Hurricane Stan in 2005.

Jeffry and Brian - Gilma and Noé's sons, showing off the fruits of their labor, chocolate cake!!

Irwin - My friend who lives right by the church office. He likes taking pictures, looking at pictures, and playing with cars!

Javier - one of my keyboard students, playing with Brian.

- my landlady, with Bob Esponga, at her grandson Pablo's birthday party!

Pablo and Natalie
- Rosita's grandchildren, they live next door.

Victoria, Arturo and Byron Yoc Camél - My 2nd host family, with...My family! Titus, Linda and Rachel Peachey.

Irma, Antony, Melany and Nataly Sanchez Solano - MCC representatives in Guatemala, and their daughters. They've been here in Guatemala about 5 years now, originally from Colombia. Also in the picture, My family, and Shannon Malburg, fellow MCC worker.