Wednesday, June 29, 2011

New Friends and Phrases - & Photos!

June 28:  I’m sitting on my new bed in my new bedroom after finishing up a great conversation with my new housemates.  I woke up today to sunshine!  It was the first day since arriving that I could see the large volcano just south of the city.  My maestra, Rosa Maria, and I sat outside on the roof so I could see the view.    
Volcano just south of the city (taken outside my front door).

Today I learned the words for the parts of the body.  Then we started talking about food – vegetables, fruits, herbs & spices.  I learned all about what is grown here in Guatemala, and what is exported from other countries.  Those of you who know me know I love food, especially anything ethnic, so it was a very enjoyable lesson!

View from roof of my school.  Rosa Maria is on the left.
The sun stayed out most of the morning, and the clouds that rolled in didn’t start to pour down rain until around 5pm.  This afternoon our school offered a tour of the local hospital.  The outside of the building is painted yellow, and is big and forbidding.  I wasn’t sure what to expect on the inside. 

This sign made me smile.  It is on the outside of the hospital.  The walls are very thick, so it's doubtful any noise would get through!

On the one hand, it was very sad because it was filled with patients with a lot of need.  There were separate wards for women, men, kids, and babies, with physical disabilities, mental illness, etc.  The hardest to see were the babies who live at the hospital because their families have abandoned them because of their disabilities. 
But, the inside was bright and clean and cheerful.  Each area had a lovely courtyard filled with flowers.  You could tell the staff is very committed to their work.  The hospital was founded by Franciscan monks and is one of the best in the country.  They have a lot of volunteer specialists come down from the U.S.  to provide free surgeries, supplies, etc.
I was impressed with how careful they are with the patients – signs are posted everywhere in English and Spanish requesting that no photos are taken.  When we went into the areas with the children, we were not to reach out and touch them.  It was hard not to, but one wouldn’t be permitted to walk through an American hospital randomly approaching the little ones there!
Chris and Mike left today, and a couple, Haley and Miles, moved into my old room.  They will be volunteering with Common Hope, the same group the guys were with.  They are newlyweds (as in June 17!) and are very cool.  It sounds like they attend a really great, mission-minded church back home.  Haley is a Spanish-minor, which makes me happy because I’m hoping she will be able to help me communicate with Dona Cristi as my Spanish improves.  Haley has been to Guatemala several times, starting when she was only nine!  They will be here for 4-5 weeks, which is awesome!  I’m hoping we can do some exploring together.
My new room looking out on the back courtyard.
Looking from the back of my house.  My door is in the forefront
on the left, the kitchen is to the right, the dining room is down the hall
on the right. 
Before they came, I packed up my stuff and moved across the hall and down a little to Mike’s room.  This room is smaller, but because it only has one bed (full, not twin!), it actually seems more roomy.  The room has a nice-sized table and bigger night stand, too.  I’m hoping this is my last move while I’m here. 
This room’s window looks out onto the courtyard area at the back of the house.  It’s interesting that each room has glass windows in the walls.  I guess since there are no outside windows (since it is between two other places) it helps with light and makes it feel less closed in.  The windows can be closed or opened, and have curtains for privacy. 

After dinner I’ve got some homework again.  I think we’ll get some each day.  At first I thought four hours a day wasn’t enough, but I’m finding my brain pretty tired by noon!  This week I’m trying to get into a routine and really learn my way around the city.  Next week I’d like to start exploring possibilities for volunteering, with Students International or elsewhere (like at the hospital). 
In some ways, it seems like a dream that I’m actually here.  Already, each day there have been lots of new and different faces, voices, sights, experiences.  Each day, I hope I’ll be a little more familiar with the city, the streets, the shops, the rhythm of life here.  And, each day, I pray I’ll be able to understand a little more of what it being said around me.  It’s a lot to take in, but I’m so very thankful that God has allowed me to be here!
Until next time! 


  1. Hi Kim, Glad you are there safe and are doing well!! You have certainly been in my thoughts and prayers! God Bless! XOXOX Love, Tanya

  2. Kim, this is great! I'm so glad that you are enjoying Antigua!! Praying that you continue to pick up Spanish quickly!!