Monthly Archives: July 2011


First post from Guatemala! Yeah

¡Saludos desde San Lucas Toliman!  (that means greetings from San Lucas Toliman)

As we (Sophie & Charlie) type this, it is raining buckets and the rest of our group is figuring out how to spend our free afternoon when the town we’re in seems to shut down when it rains (or maybe just because it’s Saturday).

We arrived yesterday afternoon after very little sleep having arrived at the airport at 4:30 a.m. to catch our flight.  The drive from Guatemala City was about 3 hours and was punctuated by the occasional torrential downpour.  Our driver, Julio, was very kind to point out the various sights and since Sophie was sitting shotgun, she was able to translate for the rest of the group.  I think it was the first time most of us have smelled a rubber plant in action.

After we arrived, we were informed that the other 60 to 70 Americans working with the Mission had taken all of the small rooms, so the 13 of us are currently sharing 3 rooms.  It is very cozy.  We have been told that the bulk of the people will be leaving tomorrow morning and we’ll get to spread out a bit and be sleeping with fewer people per room.

This morning we went with some other people from the Mission (who are also from Minnesota!) to go help out on a local farm.  Half of us shoveled fertilizer into small bags to be used for future planting and the other half weeded spinach and carrots.  When we started, the entire bed looked like a jungle, but by the time we were done, you could actually see some of the carrots and spinach.  There is photographic evidence of this feat (to be posted later on).

Since then, we ate lunch and were assigned dish duty for the meal, which entailed Carl saying a blessing before we all ate and everyone pitching in to clean the dishes and eating area after lunch.  It felt like most of those 60 to 70 other Americans (and some Canadians) ate lunch with us today after the mess we had to clean.

We have the rest of the day off of “official” work so we’ll probably end up playing cards, staying dry, and spending more quality time as a group.  Tomorrow we are told we’ll be going on a boat tour of Lake Atitlan, so we hope the rain lets up by then!  Other people from the group will be posting daily (with pictures, hopefully) so stay tuned to hear more about our adventures in Guatemala!

Paz,

Charlie & Sophie

Guatemala, here we come!

Our group of 13 departs at daybreak tomorrow morning!  We will be visiting the San Lucas Mission www.sanlucasmission.org on the shores of Lake Atitlan.  (pictured above).   The core of our group is this year’s confirmation class – it’s a tradition for the youth to go as part of their confirmation experience.

Though the church has a long-standing connection with the Mission, this is my first visit. Last night, over supper, I sat down to read the journal from a previous trip.  What a neat glimpse into the small everyday moments and impressions that make up such a powerful journey.    The journal told tales of shopping in the vibrant markets, helping with reforestation projects, crushing rocks, learning to make wooden spoons, striking out on an early morning hike, attending a mayan ritual, and playing soccer.  Amongst the scribbled scores of card games and the sketches of the mountains and village were reflections about the simple goodness of community life in San Lucas;  about the pollution that accompanies the incredible beauty of the mountains and the lake;  about hunger among animals and hunger among people.

The materials from the mission emphasize the fact that we are going to Guatemala primarily to learn, not to help.  I am feeling incredibly lucky to get to learn from this experience and witness the processing and growing that takes place for all of us along the way.  Please check back with the blog starting on Saturday, as members of our group take turns posting their daily reflections.