Last week we took a 2 day trip over to Panajachel and then to Santiago. In Panajachel there is the beautiful Lake Atitlan and it is definitely a touristy type of place. There were a lot of gringos. 🙂 I prefer little towns like Monjas rather than the popular tourist places you can look up on Google mostly because of the lack of street vendors literally following you down the street asking you to buy what they are selling (and the guilt trip that comes with that), and just the small town, family feel that Monjas gives. Granted, I could’ve spent so many days looking at the beautiful lake and volcanoes. It was literally breathtaking. You stand there staring at the amazement thinking “I would not get sick of this if I stared all day, every day for the next week.” I know many of you reading this have been places like this, too, where you are just in awe of God’s creation. Wilderness Trek comes to mind for me. There is just nothing like reveling in His glory and majesty.
After we walked down the street a while, Gabor found this little upstairs restaurante for us to eat at…it was in the 4:00 hour, but he thought he might rain soon, and it was covered, so we gave it a shot. As it turned out, we were thankful to have gone up so early because it took us between an hour and an hour and half to get our food after we ordered…And this was no fancy, sit-down place. We ordered sandwiches, pastas, and breakfast dishes. It was quite a hilarious experience…Not only did it take entirely too long to get our simple orders, but what we got was such an interesting cultural eating experience. I ordered Abigail a “sandwich mixtos” — ham and cheese sandwich. Not only was it one of the last items to come out to the table, but it was quite stacked…It had a slice of bread with very thinly sliced ham and cheese, another slice of bread, and then tomatoes, lettuce, onion, and maybe even something else, and then another slice of bread on top. One of the Siklosi boys, Canaan, ordered a steak sandwich…Now take a minute to picture what it would look like if you ordered a steak sandwich in the States — You would probably get some sort of buttered, thick toasted bread with an incredibly delicious, thick slice of meat on it. It may or may not have tomato and lettuce, but would almost definitely have A1 or something similar. The sandwich Canaan got? Meat as thin as a couple slices of cheese stacked together between two slices of white sandwich bread…Oh, and don’t forget the wimpy piece of lettuce about 2 inches long. Maybe.
We all couldn’t help but laugh…and leave slightly hungry…Now we know where not to eat when in Pana!
By far the best part of waiting so long for dinner was Sandra, the little girl Abigail made friends with. Sandra came up to the restaurant to try and sell us some little bracelets and hair things she sad. We were so tired of girls coming up the stairs and bugging us to buy things, but this little girl was just too cute…None of us could stand it. She was so taken with Abigail and since Sandra knew a little bit of english, it helped with Abigail’s comfort level around her. She was the sweetest thing, and it was so precious to see the two of them hug and smile at each other. I’m reminded of a song I learned in 2nd grade Choir…Everybody Smiles in the Same Language. It’s a connection you can make worldwide, and it’s wonderful.
After Panajachel, we traveled a couple of hours to Santiago where Pueblo a Pueblo is. I’m going to take an excerpt from of the intern’s blog to explain what they do there, because she did a great job. Before I do that, there are a couple of things I wanted to share. Actually, no. I’ll explain it through Lisi first.
Here’s what Lisi wrote: “This organization is working with communities in Santiago Atitlán. They are developing some awesome projects with water, health care and food security. They took us to one of their schools they are partnering with and showed us the community garden they have there. That garden is huge!!!! They guy in charge of the garden gave us a tour and explained to us the different kinds of plants, trees and showed us the medicinal ones. I really like the “creative part” of the garden. They tried to form the letters of the alphabet to make it fun for the kids. They teach the kids about the garden and use all the harvest to feed the kids and their families.”
The garden she is talking about is at a school Pueblo a Pueblo is partnering with. The kids at this school adooored Abigail. They were so interested in her light colored skin and hair and just giggled when she would talk. I am just loving the connections she is making with other kids that don’t speak even a word of her language and vice versa. They asked me her name and then would come up, poking, pulling, and holding her hand and just going “Ahbby, Ahbby!” 🙂 It was a lot of fun.
The other cool thing we got to see at this school was that a lot of the kids were wearing TOMS! We got to see their One for One movement played out and that was a really cool moment.
We’re having a lot of really cool moments here in Guate…We are just trying to soak it all up!
Much love from Guate.