Destiantion: Teleman, Guatemala
Date: June 2013
Our first day was about getting acclimated to Guatemala. We had breakfast at our hotel and tried to wait for the rain to stop before we set out on our day adventure. There wasn’t a lot for us to do in Senahu after our group from charityanywhere.org had left the day before my arrival. That is one reason why we decided to leave Senahu for Teleman. Before we left however, Trent wanted to introduce Bailey and I to some of the locals and do one last act of service.
Lucky for us there was a farmers market going on in the town square which was just outside our hotel doors. We walked through the market in the drizzle and did a little shopping. After a few huipil purchases (the native tops my girls are wearing in these photos) we were ready to do some service. Our service was simple. Trent decided to purchase three, $20, mattresses for the widow who they had built the beds for the previous week. We only needed three since all seven members of her household were sleeping on the three beds or hammocks hung in the house. Their house was so small that not more than three beds could have fit.
We purchased the mattresses and had to hike a mile up a zig zag path up the mountain to deliver them. Colton, Bailey and “M” (one other teen volunteer that decided to join our family for the rest of our stay) each put a mattress on their back and started the hike. The little kids and I brought up the rear as Trent helped carry both the mattress with Bailey, and Bella when she felt the path was too steep. Finally we made it to their home.
Only the oldest daughter, Erica, who looked thirteen but was actually twenty and the two youngest, Anna, 6, and Alex 4 were home. We tried to explain we had brought the mattresses and Erica gave me a tour of their humble home. Since the family didn’t speak any Spanish and only the native Indian dialect Kekchi, also spelled Q’eqch’i, we just did hand motions for our communication. This little home was made out of a tin roof, and tin sides, and it only had two rooms. There was no door or windows and the lighting was purely provided by the sun.
Inside there were the three beds, a small fire for cooking, and a chicken coup with about eight chickens. They had one table with a few books all in the Kekchi language. Outside there was a pila, or concrete sink, that had been hiked up the mountain by previous volunteers. There was a small clothes line that held about four articles of clothing and that was all. This family had nothing. We brought Alex and Anna some jump ropes and it was cute to see Leah and Lexi teach them what they were for.
As we walked down the mountain side I asked the kids if they could imagine living like Anna and Alex. Most of my kids were silent thinking about it. Clay was the only one who spoke up and said, “I can imagine it mom, but I don’t want to.” Now that they had seen what other children lived like they could imagine it. I knew this was going to be a trip they would never forget.
The rest of our day was purely saying goodbye to locals and showing Bailey and I their favorite places. Though they had only been there ten days prior to our arrival they had so many good friends. We hiked up to a nearby waterfall that was about a half hour outside of Senahu. We swam and jumped off a small cliff and enjoyed ourselves. We did however, give a local family a scare when they saw us playing in their local bathing pool. When we came down out of the waterfall they had run off not wanting us to see them bathing.
After yet another crazy drive through the mountain pass back down to Senahu we packed up our bags and checked out of the hotel on the city square. By now the farmers market was being packed up and we drove over to Licos house to say goodbye. He was not only my guide from the day before but the grandfather to Maximo, Clays new best friend. We said our goodbyes there and went to the girls favorite ice cream shop to say goodbye to the owner, Kimberly. My three little girls felt at home in her shop since they went behind the counter and tried to serve up the cones.
Finally we were on the road over to Teleman. Teleman isn’t set up so high in the mountains and so the air is thicker and the sweat begins the minute we got out of our vehciles. Once in the new hotel, Rubel Nahuc. We unloaded into our four rooms. The kids were excited to see that they had a swimming pool but not so happy to see that their shower had no running water and only a bucket with a plastic garbage can of water available for cold bucket baths. It was an interesting set up. When Leah saw our new living conditions she jokingly said, “I bet they don’t have room service either.” Glad to know they all have a good sense of humor!
Safe and Happy Travels