If you didn’t get the chance to read my first post on our trip to Guatemala, you can do so by clicking here.
Last time I traveled to Guatemala, I didn’t get to really experience much of life outside the orphanage, other than taking the younger children to the children’s museum and for lunch at Pollo Campero, which was totally fine and still an unforgettable experience. This trip however, we traveled about an hour and a half by van to visit Antigua, the oldest city in Guatemala.
Driving through Guatemala is when it really sinks in just how fortunate we are in the US. Our impoverished areas, although heartbreaking, are still nicer and safer than how the majority live in developing countries. It is so inspiring to see how hard they work, for basically nothing, and are relatively happy. There is no unemployment or welfare to live off of. They work their asses off just to survive. Period. It often makes me wonder what our country would be like if we had that sort of accountability and responsibility.
Half way there our van began to overheat. Jorge, our driver and Madre Ivonne’s brother, had us all get out while he lifted the front seats up to reveal a smoking engine. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t slightly concerned. Eventually it cooled down enough for us to be on our way. Some missionaries had to use the bathroom so a generous neighbor let them in their hut to use their toilet, which I heard was literally a hole in the ground. We were then able to take the older children and teenagers on a field trip to the beautiful Jade Museum. Afterwards we were able to treat them to ice cream and enjoy some entertainment in the park. Mayan women with their babies walked around selling handmade items, while we happened to become quite the tourist attraction. All the blondes and Fr. Daniel were asked to be in random people’s photos! We had to part ways with the older children and teenagers so they could resume their school day back home, so we headed to a coffee farm for some delicious lunch, and afterwards did some shopping at the local market for souvenirs. Jorge assured us the particular market he was taking us to was full of handcrafted items in Guatemala, not China, and they had a good working relationship with these people.
Then he took us to the neatest little ice cream shoppe I’ve ever been to. Not only did it have delectable flavors like black bean, cheese, and guava, but the inside was decorated beautifully with antiques and handmade items. We sure were glad we held off getting ice cream earlier. What a treat!
On our way home we had to give the van some time to cool down again to ensure we made it home safely, so we stopped at a shop that had all sorts of beautiful artwork and furniture made by local artists.
That was such an enjoyable day out, and am so glad my team and I got to experience it, broken down van and all. It is so important when traveling to new places, especially places of a different culture, to emerge ourselves into their daily life as much as possible. It is the only way we truly grow and have understanding, empathy, and compassion for different ways of life and thinking.
Stay tuned for Guatemala – La Tercera Parte!