Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Launcha to San Juan

A great day for a boat ride...but for a great start means stopping off at the El Dorado for a coffee then to the used quipil market. They always have great treasures. Bob was able to find some guys with tools near buy to occupy his time while the girls shopped. Then it was off to the hotel to get those who didn't indulge in the market. Dave and Jay went with Mayan Families staff to visit a couple of villages where Dave has so generously helped several families. My dear friend Stephanie guided us to the where the launcha (boat) was. The lake was clear, smooth and spectacular looking. Lots of photo opps!!! San Juan La Laguna has a large group of women's co-ops that make their own natural dyes and hand weave all of their goods. The results are the most beautiful scarves, handbags, shawls and table linens. So, you can't help but to shop and shop we did. Also Gladys brought some of her reading glasses and gave them to some of the co-op women to help them with their needle work. They so appreciate them. About 1:00PM it started to get cloudy and windy so we made our way to the launcha so we could get across the lake before the weather turned bad which it did but thank heavens it wasn't until we got back to Panajachel. It was a bit bumpy and it had stared to rain so the flight attendant in me had everyone put on their life jackets as a precaution. It waited until we were on the calle before the sky opened up....and boy did it ever. Calle Santandar became a river while we were in one of the shops picking up an order. Finally I had to get home to unlock the gate for the caterer. The fiesta must go on!!! I flagged down a Tuk Tuk (3 wheeled taxi) and went home. So glad I threw that rain jacket in my backpack. It finally slowed up about 6:00 then had one more burst before it stopped. EGADS it was a lot of rain. The party was great and everyone had a good time and of course Mathilda prepared the most wonderful food for everyone. My Maria kept the kitchen cleaned up the whole time. I feel so decadent here but it sure is easier to enjoy your own party when all you have to do is mingle.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Monday morning the sun shown and the volcanoes were clear and all was well with the world. It was a beautiful day for a visit to El Barranco. Everyone gathered at the hotel and Mayan Families picked us up in the pickups to take us to the office to sort through the donations that we took to El Barranco.
Then back in the pickups we went to head up through Solola and on to El Barranco. Set up began for handing out donations and eyeglasses......and lines formed. The littlest children were put first in line and were fitted with shoes and clothes. With the girls in this village wearing traditional clothing they love shoes and sweaters or jackets. The boys are losing the tradition of tipica...traditional clothing...because it is so expensive. Many of the sponsors have provided the boys with traditional clothing so they save it for special occasions. They are given western clothing such as jeans and shirts.
The women lined up to be fitted with a pair of reading glasses that Gladys brings and she and her helper, Joy find just the right pair so they can once again see to do close work. Most make a living doing needle work and they are so grateful for a return of vision. When I say "make a living" I mean maybe $2 a day.
The children performed traditional dances for us and it was once again so much fun. They had several new dances for us this time. They attempted to teach us a Maya dance and I just can't even think of words to discribe what we looked like!!!
We had some students who have lost their sponsors and those who needed a sponsor for the first time and once again the wonderful people who follow me to this beautiful land came through. All participated in sponsoring a child in school and are giving them the opportunity to have a better life.
It was a long day without lunch...things always take longer than we plan...but I think everyone enjoyed themselves and got a true glimpse of this beautiful culture. We had reservations in the evening at Jose Pinguinos where they play traditional music and gave us a talk on the Maya culture. They taught us how to make tortillas...well they tried...served a Maya dish called pepion (sp?) which is a wonderful mix of chicken, rice, vegetables and an awesome sauce. Then for some of us it was time for bed.

Monday, October 29, 2012

The group has arrived!!!! Gladys and Joy arrived on Sat. and spent the night in the city. My friend Stephanie also had a friend arrive on Sat who stayed at the same hotel so Stephanie road into the city with me and our driver Oswaldo. Everyones flight arrived on time and we were on the road for our 3 hr. journey to Panajachel (Pana) in the beautiful highlands of Guatemala.CK8zGTWXr9c/UI5Wkoz6hGI/AAAAAAAAIP4/-0wvqe4Fkvk/s1600/IMG_5602.JPG" imageanchor="1" style=""> Because everyone brings containers of donations with them along with their personal luggage we needed one of Mayan Families pickup trucks to help haul it all. The Hotel del Lago in Pana is set on Lake Atitlan with views from every room. While we waited for the pickup to arrive with the remainder of the luggage...they had to make a stop on the way back so it took them longer than us....we spent our time enjoying the grounds of the hotel. We all went to dinner and Sharon and Dwight, two of the 3 founders of Mayan Families, joined us for a lovely relaxing evening. It just happened that one of the kitchen staff was the mother of a young man named Dilson who Dave helped with his medical needs until he passed away. It was very touching to see the relationship these two had even though they live hundreds of miles away and in totally different worlds. She was very touched by Dave's generosity. On Monday we will sort the donations and take the appropriate items with us to El Barranco where we will spend the day handing out those donations and seeing the children perform their traditional dances. Should be a great day.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Arrived in Guatemala Sun. Oct.21 with my friend Lynn and we spent the night in Antigua. We did a little shopping and ate my favorite food there..Caldo Real..the best chicken rice soup you have ever eaten and unlike any other. I made arrangement with my driver to pick us up on Mon. at 3PM.It is amazing how close tres and seis sound. So at six in the morning he is calling to let me know he is at the hotel. We had a good laugh and he returned at 3PM. As soon as we arrived at my place we unloaded and headed into town to meet up with friends. I love being here. There have been luncheons and diners to attend. The week has passed quickly with buying items to bring back with me. I will use it to raise money for some projects here at Mayan Families. Today we went to El Barranco to visit 3 sponsored students. One of Lynn's and one of her friend Charlottes. Lynn had gifts and a bag of corn for her and Charlotte's students. Her and Charlotte had a good time shopping for them. Charlotte's family had a beautiful gift for her. I am always humbled when I see people who live in extreme poverty giving a gift they can little afford to do but it means so much to them to be able to do that. I also visited another student whose sponsor, Wendy, sent her a birthday package. Seeing the delight in each of these children receiving gifts just for them is always so special. It is a rarity if ever that the children here get a present. It doesn't even have to be anything big and they are delighted. We then went to San Jorge to visit 2 more students. One is sponsored by a flight attendant friend, Mary, who has done some favors for me so to repay her I visited Ulises, her sponsored student, and took a bag of corn for the family to be able to make tortillas. Then to one of my sponsored students whose home is on the side of a cliff and it was corroding away with each heavy rain so I had a retaining wall built this year and wanted to see it. They gave me a beautiful shoulder bag that the mom had made. Humbled again. Photos of today can be found on my Picasa site to the right of this blog. You will also see Mayan Families Picasa pictures also.