Tuesday, January 25, 2011

vacation continued IIIIV...El ultimo! Antigua take two

We've finally arrived at the end of the vacation posts...just in time for us to take another one! jaja I wish. The last few days were spent hanging out in Antigua, climbing volcanoes (no big deal), and of course...eating more. 

Coffee roaster
Yummy coffee! The best souvenir
Mom and I went on a Jade tour
Kris looking very adventurous hanging out on a volcano
Roasting mallows - a must do on Pacaya
The crater from the eruption last May
The Jesus Chair - wait, which one is Jesus?
The infamous Hectors
More Yum
yum yum yum
oh how precious we are!
SOOOO fun to have you guys here! We should do it again soon :) Seriously, if you love your family but want to know just HOW much you love them...move to another country! There have been more time than I want to admit when I have said to Gregg, "I don't know how to do that my dad always did it for me." or "I wish we could just go over to mom and dads tonight." or the classic, "I WANT MY MOMMY!" That particular one was said more than a few time during our fun hospital experience :) Anyways, the moral of the story is, we LOVE you guys and miss you terribly down here. Unfortunately we had only been here three months when they came to visit. Now we have another SEVEN to go till we get to see them again! Pray for us...we're gonna need it :)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

vacation continued IIIV...Yalu

After a quick hiatus we're back to finish up the vacation posts...only two left I promise! While the fam was here we of course had to show them the place where it all started and where we will be working for the next 7 months - YALU! Just down the road from the feeding center there is a farm that is working hard to become a tourist attraction. It is a beautiful place that used to be a monestary. Today they have milk cows, moras (blackberries), fish ponds, and lots and lots of coffee. We decided to take the coffee tour which explained the process of coffee from seed to cup...
Old Monestary church
Muy hermosa
Young cows
Coffee seeds are planted in the little black bags and
 allowed to grow for a few weeks before they are transplanted
Picking the fruit
After touring the farm we headed to Nim Jay, the feeding center that Gregg and I are working at.
Dad helping out!
It was very fun to have my family come and see exactly what we are doing down here. Yalu is so much different even from the rest of Guatemala. The absolute poverty of the villagers was very hard for me to see the first time I was here and I know it impacted my family as well. 

Since my parents left Gregg and I have been going out to Yalu 3 days/wk and starting to figure out what God has us here for. Gregg has been very busy working on the budget which is a slow but necessary part. I am starting to identify community health issues that are lacking in the existing program. One project I am really getting excited about is infant health and nutrition from 6 months to 3 years. Pretty much everyone is Yalu is a champion breastfeeder but once the babies turn 6 months there is very little feeding of solid foods, and if there is its usually only tortillas. Babies are also carried on the moms backs, completely covered up and not able to have any visual or physical stimuli. I am hoping to start an infant group where we discuss a nutrition or development topic, get the babies out of the carriers to allow them to experience the world a little, and just have fellowship together. As they say down here, "Vamos a ver!" We'll see what happens :)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

!Aprender Espanol Ahora!

Funnies from Wallyhood.org:

?Quiere aprender Espanol por hablando con sus vecinos en Wallingford?

Venga al centro para personas mayores todos los jueves empezando en 20 de enero 2:00 – 3:30.

!Aunque nosotros estamos muy lejos de Mexico, puede hablar con su estudiante en John Stanford International School o ordenar de un menu a su restaurante favorito!

Ademas de, usted será capaz de comprender un signo como esta sin traducción:

(Pido disculpas por este “software de blog” gringo y mi espanol rudimentario.)

Conversational Spanish. Six Thursdays, JAN 20—FEB 24, 2:00—3:30 PM

Structured opportunity to practice your Spanish. Make new connections and friends. Hannelore Josam, a retired Spanish teacher and Wallingford neighbor, is your instructor. $12 members/$15 non-members. Contact Norah: norah@wallingfordseniors.org or 206-461-7825 to sign up today!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Happy Anniversary to US!

Today is our 2 year anniversary! Time flies...even crazier is the fact that we celebrated both of our anniversaries in Guatemala. Who would have thought we would go from this...

to this...

and now to this..

Just kidding we still love each other and we're looking forward to another year of adventures together. Te amo mi media de naraja!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

vacation continued IIV...Lago Atitlan and Chichicastenango

After spending a few days in Antigua we headed to Lake Atitlan to continue with the relaxing. The lake is absolutely beautiful this time of year. We stayed at the same hotel that Gregg and I stayed at last year for our 1 year anniversary - Casa del Mundo. Since the rainy season this year was so bad the lake had risen like 10 feet since the last time we were there! As you can see from the picture below, Casa del Mundo wasn't exactly planning this much of a raise in the lake...
The boat dock in Panajachel

Our good friends Julie and Elizabeth

Nothing beats a hammock
Volcan Atitlan
These platforms were NOT under water last year!
Casa del Mundo from above

Another of Kris' dog flings
Gregg named him 'Milkshake'

The paparazzi - aka Mom
Ven Aca = Heaven on Earth
Some things never change
This ones for Sarah:
The infamous Jabilito Mojito - sooooo delicious!
ooo that looks good Kris

On our way back to Antigua we stopped in Chichicastenango (Chichi) which is one of the largest markets in Guatemala. It is one crazy place! It is defintely a tourist trap on some levels - case in point - My mom was followed around for at least an hour by the same woman trying to sell her a beautiful, handmade blanket. She started the price at Q1,000 (Quetzales which is about $125) and an hour later she had lowered the price to Q400 ($50). Another excited experience was Kris getting cussed out in English but a Guatemalan guy that wanted him to buy necklaces. Kris told him he was too pushy of a salesman and he didn't like that too much :) None-the-less it is a fun, one-time only experience.
Next to the market is the 400-year old church of Santo Tomás. K'iche' Maya priests still use the church for their rituals, burning incense and candles. In special cases, they even burn chickens for the gods. Each of the 18 stairs that lead up to the church stands for one month of the Maya calendar year. We were told after we got back to Antigua that its really bad luck to take a picture of the church and that the locals get really upset if they catch you...oops
It gets a little crowded!
All the stalls were full of beautiful handmade crafts