Saturday, July 9, 2011

Galan de Noche

Whew, what a whirlwind this week has been!  It’s been full of some really amazing things, some difficult things, and always, our loving Father’s reminders that He is with us.  Some highlights were:

Our Ama de Casa has been very unwell for the past several days.  On Wednesday her oldest daughter came and took her to her home for the night.  Our interested, enthusiastic, non-stop Dona Cristi was barely able to walk.  It was a scary time for all of us!  The youngest daughter, who lives on Long Island, was called, and made quick plans to fly down. 

We found out this week that Dona Cristi is 84 years old.  I would have guessed her to be no more than mid-70’s.  On my first night, she pulled one of my 50 pound suitcases up the ramp all by herself!  To see her so weak and frail was horrible.  Her doctor switched her medicines, and within a day she was feeling much, much better.  All of us have been praying hard, and we give the glory to God for her healing.

The daughter and her youngest daughter arrived last night, and it’s going to be fun having them living with us for the next month.  Tomorrow the Corpus Cristi celebration will be held at San Francisco, the church close to our house.  Our street will have a procession and already this morning flowers were delivered and decorations are going up.  We’re really excited to be invited to be a part of this significant event.

Speaking of flowers… Dona Cristi has some lovely plants in her courtyard.  One of the most special is called Galan de Noche.  This plant has lovely white flowers which only bloom at night, and then, only once a year.  This week, it bloomed!  Here are a few pictures of it.
Beginning to open

The flowers seem to grow from the leaves, not a stem!

I shared a little about our difficult housemate.  Things came to something of a head this week when Dona Cristi was so unwell.  I attempted to talk with him about the seriousness of it all, and was pretty soundly rebuffed.  The next day the older daughter was alone, and I took the opportunity to share our concerns with her.  I didn’t like doing it, but felt it was necessary given his rude response to me.  Having someone in the home drinking and being loud and disrespectful was just not okay. 

At breakfast this morning he informed us that he has been asked to leave.  He comes from a lot of money back in the U.S., so won’t be left homeless.  It saddens me, but I also am thankful that Dona Cristi will be treated with dignity and respect in her own home.

School continues to go well, although I am finding that I’m going to need to spend more of my afternoon time reviewing.  There is always so much to see and do, and my head is always rather tired after the morning.  But, my ‘job’ right now is learning Spanish, so that must be my priority.  Thank you for your continued prayers for me in this!
Once a year... and we got to see it!!

Our excursions this week were to a jade factory, and also a convent in a town close to here.  I don’t have any pictures of the factory, but it was interesting to learn the history of jade.  I had no idea it comes in so many colors – everything from pure white to green, black, purple and blue. 

Courtyard of San Juan del Obispo
San Jaun del Obispo was the home of one of the first bishops in Guatemala.  The church is the third largest in the country.  It now houses a convent and also promotes artisans in the community.  The church itself was closed until later that day, but we were able to see the lovely inner courtyard and the bishop’s sitting room, bedroom, etc. 
San Jaun - very big church, very small me.

On the way back to school we stopped at a small church called La Iglesia del Calvario.  Inside the small, narrow church there were very moving paintings of the death of Jesus.  One in particular showed Jesus after he had died.  He is at the foot of His cross, with His mother and two of the women.  One has her face covered by her hands in a posture of anguish.  It drew me into their pain at the loss of Son and Savior.  We were not allowed to take pictures, but the image remains with me.

Outside of the church was an old tree.  A very old tree!  As in 1657!  When it flowers, the faithful collect the petals and brew them into tea to cure diseases, etc. 
Very old tree... very 'young' me! :O)

Okay… this is going to be all for today.  I’ll write again soon about my trip to see all that Students International is doing in the area.

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