Destination: Teleman, Guatemala Day 4 & 5
Date: June 2013
Journal excerpt from June 20, 2013
The past two days we have been busy! Yesterday we hiked up the side of a mountain to meet a woman and build a chicken coop. Her husband was busy at work but we were happy to serve them. They have four children and all four of them are under eight. We were lucky that she had a base of a chicken coop already going and so we could start with the floors, walls, door and roof. She was a delightful woman to serve. Her children were shy but warmed up to us quickly. The boys and Trent quickly got to work building while Bailey and the little kids and I worked to keep the little kids occupied. As always we quickly drew in a crowd.
Since we were so high in the mountains we didn’t have the crowds like we did the day before. My kids were especially enthralled by the pigs the woman had at her house. The sow she had tied up to a pole had four little piglets and an adorable runt that kept Bella, Lexi and Leah running around as they chased the poor little thing all over the side of the mountain.
Soon four neighbor girls came out to see what was going on. Their names were Kristen, Carolina, Esmerelda and Erica. They were between eleven and fourteen years old and so sweet. We were lucky that they actually spoke Spanish so with our limited skills we were asking all sorts of questions. It was especially cute to see Leah take charge in the conversation.
We had brought up a bunch of jewelry and bows that my little girls were willing to give away, and so with our new friends we had all the little girls up in this mountainside fashioned with some fun accessories. Of course we also brought hackie sacks for the boys, and some fun candies and had all the little kids happy before we left. Colton and our friend “M” who is traveling with us had the chicken coop built in no time and we were soon on our way.
The rest of our day we took care packages to some of the families we had met the previous days here. They were so grateful and it was like we had old friends in the country.
The next day we delivered more care packages and walked through some of the saddest living conditions I have ever witnessed. Bella was taken off guard when one little boy began a tickle fight with her while we were delivering packages. He was smitten with her blonde hair and was soon following us all over town.
The branch president from our local church congregation wanted to take us on a special outing so after building yet another chicken coop this morning we were off to the local hot springs called Aguas Caliente. This is basically the community swimming pool for the locals. Fortunately it is fed by a hot and cold spring so the water is very clean. The surrounding area isn’t as clean and I wonder in my previous life “before Guatemala” if I would have ever gone swimming in these waters. However, now I had to swim because I didn’t want to be rude. The president and his family were all there to entertain us and before I knew it he had a game going on in the water and we were all expected to get in. So I jumped in with the rest of my family and swam!
I was pretty proud of myself and enjoyed the relaxing hot water. The main swimming area was around 80 degrees but there was a small pool where the hot water was fed into directly by the mountain and that water was about 130 degrees. It was a little dangerous because it really could have cooked a small child if they had fallen in but the locals all seemed to know to stay clear of the hot water.
The best part of the afternoon was the delicious meal we were served. We had prepped our kids to enjoy rice and beans all month but today we were surprised with potato salad, fajita meat, refried beans and tortillas. It was yummy! What a blessing it was for these humble sweet people to prepare two meals for us during our stay. It saved us from another evening of Pollo Compero and I was grateful for that! These two days mark the end of our stay here in Teleman.
We have had a wonderful, meaningful stay which was hard but one which I think has changed us as a family. We have experienced some very hard experiences while here in Guatemala but as we now know, we can do hard things!
Safe and Happy Travels!!