Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Glimpses from Guatemala

Today we leave Guatemala.  Yesterday was extraordinary.  We were able to skype between the 6th grade class at the Montclair Cooperative School (Samy's class) and the 4th grade class at Escuela Kimna'oj in Santa Maria de Jesus.  One by one, the children introduced themselves to their nuevos amigos with the American students speaking in Spanish, and the Guatemalan children in English (with a little help from their teachers)!   I hope you can feel the excitement by looking at the children's faces.  Most of them have never been down their mountain into the city of Antigua, let alone spoken on a computer to children in America.  I hope this experience opens both sets of children's worlds.

On Sunday, we had a busy day bringing all the donations we've collected to our three families.  They completely filled two duffle bags and a suitcase!

Our first stop was to visit our godson's family in Santa Maria de Jesus, a village high up in one of the volcanic mountains surrounding Antigua.  It is 7000 feet above sea level, and the ride up the mountain is full of twists and turns and is a little hair raising!  The village is 100% indigenous - the only gringos you see are other people coming up for service work.  The sight of a car makes adults stop and stare; children run alongside shouting -- it's quite an event. 

We had a joyful reunion with Edgar's family; our little godson, Elmer, has gotten so big and is talking!  Here Samy holds Elmer, while 3 of Edgar's 11 brothers and sisters gather round.

Next stop, also in Santa Maria, was the first family for whom we built a house - Flor, Tomas, Blanca, Tomasito, Jessica and their new baby.  Sadly, Tomas has been out of work for the past 4 months.  In a country with no government assistance, this is a real hardship.  The chickens we bought  the last time we were here, and the well we financed for them, have helped them get by. 

Then we drove down the mountain to San Antonio des Aguas Calientes, to visit the second family we built for.  This video gives you the flavor of what it's like to walk up the hill to their little patch of land.  There, we met the new baby of the oldest daughter, and were presented with some beautiful weavings made by Florinda, the mother of the family.

As we do each time we come, we took the whole family into town for ice cream -- the one time a year they all have such a treat.  (Hard to imagine...)

We have to go to the airport for our trip home, so I'll leave you with photos of some of the beautiful "carpets" we saw in Jocotanango.  They take stenciling to whole new level!  So beautiful!  People work all night to make them from flowers, tinted sawdust, and rice.  They decorate the streets for the religious procession that takes place later that day, which destroys all this beautiful work, done as an offering to God. 

To read more about our time in Guatemala, click here! 

Thanks for stopping by!  I read and treasure every comment and will answer any questions as quickly as I can.

PS:  If you're interested, the wonderful organization that helps us help these families is From Houses to Homes.  It is non-sectarian, and anything you give to them goes to help the poorest of the poor in Guatemala.  We are truly blessed to have found them.


  1. What a beautiful trip Jessica and what beautiful and soulful families. I am so glad for them that you are in their lives. xox

  2. I am so impressed by what you are doing. SO many Americans just go to these places as spoiled, wealthy tourists without realizing the poverty and hardships that exists right under their noses. It is so heartening to see what you are creating for these people.

    I wish you all the best.

  3. Bless your heart, Jessica. You're making the changes, BIG hugs to you & family.

  4. have enjoyed reading and looking at your photos of your trip..blessings

  5. This sure is a very different world from what we know. I felt a bit like that when I lived in Taiwan back in 1983 - a daily eye-opener! However, I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to experience this and thus appreciate many of our Western comforts (like washing machines and refridgerators).

  6. This must have been such a wonderful adventure and the memories will last for ever!

  7. I don't know what else to say except what a beautiful expression of humanity and giving - truly moved me to tears.

  8. Those carpets are unbelievable! What talent! Truly amazing!

  9. Wow, what you are doing is truly incredible. You are really changing lives in a positive way. I am very moved by your choices. Beautiful carpets too!

  10. Thank you for taking all of us on your journey so filled with generosity! There is such love in these photos!

  11. Bless you and your family, Jessica! I can see the love between your families.
    These pictures remind me so much of the visits I've made to Mexico...I love Mexico and its people so much!
    Those gorgeous carpets!! Works of art, it's hard to think of them being destroyed. But as an offering to God, I guess it takes the sting out!

  12. I have loved reading about your Guatemala trip, Jessica! Beautiful people... thank you for loving them well...

  13. Oh my. God will be right there at your side to welcome you with open arms and oh so deserving. You are an angel to these beautiful people. Thank you for sharing this with us. God Bless You!

  14. Oh Jessica what a beautiful soul you are! Imagine surviving on next to nothing... it's amazing...we have nothing to complain about... ever!! I had tears thinking they only have ice-cream once a year..imagine...you are teaching the children an amazing lesson...and you don't have to say one word!!

    Hugs Giggles

  15. Thank you for sharing all these lovely photos. Your trip must have been amazing!


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