We have been (understandably) getting a lot of questions about our trip over the past few weeks. We wanted to quickly fill everyone in on the basics. As of right now we still have a lot of questions of our own that we will be figuring out as we go. But, here is what we do know...
When are you leaving and how long will are you planning to be down there?
We are leaving September 29th and will be staying about a year. The plan for now is to study Spanish, be engaged in the culture, and help anywhere and anyway we can. Gregg is looking to volunteer in microfinance, and Kelley wants to volunteer in Public Health.
Where will you actually be living?
Initially we will be in Antigua, Guatemala. We will be studying Spanish there for 3-6 months, depending on how long it takes for Gregg to 'master' Spanish (he keeps bragging that he is going to know more than me when we come back. Yeah, ok buddy). For at least the first month we will live with a local family that will feed us, speak Spanish to us, and be our 'Guatemalan Familia'. After that we will possibly rent a furnished apartment in Antigua which is where you will stay when you come visit us :) There is also a chance we will be moving to a smaller, less touristy city after we're done at language school, where we can be more immersed in the culture.
Will you guys be working and/or volunteering? Are you going down with an organization?Are you raising support?
We technically are not going with any particular organization. Since we have a few different goals for our time we didn’t want to make any long term commitment to one specific organization. That being said, most of you know that we do work with Mano Con Mano which is in Guatemala. We will continue to do various things for MCM and hopefully visit the village and feeding center at least once per month. Check out MCM’s new website for more information about what they do in Yalu.
Since we are going 'solo' we didn't feel comfortably raising support. But we have known that we wanted to do this for a while, and Gregg IS a finance man after all, so we were able to save up enough to live without income for the year. Its pretty amazing actually considering our grocery bills :)
Why in the world do you want to do this?
Ever since Kelley got back from Guatemala before we got married, we both knew that she was going to have to go back someday. There is something about the people, the beautiful surroundings, and the culture in general that just sucks you in. Then, after our trip in December, it was clear that Gregg also felt "the calling" and the planning began. This specific time in our lives is perfect because we don't have kids(whew!), don't have a lot of debt or bills, we both felt good about exploring this opportunity, and it just seems like life is slowing down in general. We are excited to be immersed in a different culture that will challenge our traditional preconceptions about most things and we're excited to do this together.
Another motivation is that Kelley is planning on going back to school hopefully next fall and the program she is interested in requires International experience. Add everything together and how could we not go! Like we said in our first post, we are VERY sad to be leaving our family and friends but we know God is calling us to do this and we can't wait to see what He has in store for us!
So thats that! Feel free to keep asking those questions. The purpose of this post wasn't to make people stop asking us about our trip, Promise! :)