On Friday my teacher told me that she was not giving me homework, because the weekend was a time to not work, and to have fun. I think Rosa Maria will be proud of me!
|Our birthday meal for Haley & Miles.|
We had mentioned to Dona Cristi that both Miles and Haley had birthdays this weekend. She surprised us on Friday night with pizza and birthday cake for dinner. There is a Panaderia (bakery) just down the street from where we get our bread each day. They also made the pizza and cake. It was all super delicious, and super sweet of Dona Cristi. The pieces of cake were hilariously huge!
|Uno with Dona Cristi.|
After dinner we played another game of Uno. We think Dona Cristi wanted the game to go on, because she kept changing the color to one she didn’t have (we’re still playing ‘cards up’). We got a lot of joy out of watching her enjoy herself so much.
On Saturday morning a group of us walked up to La Cruz. You’ve possibly seen pictures of it in books or magazine articles about Guatemala. It is a famous landmark, and allows you to see the city of Antigua laid out below you. It had rained all Friday afternoon and night, so we were thrilled to wake up to sunshine! It was a great morning hiking up and seeing the views. Haley, Miles, and I spent the afternoon exploring more of the city. I still get turned around, but I’m not getting quite so lost anymore!
|At La Cruz|
This weekend was a long weekend, so there were a crazy amount of people and cars everywhere. We hung out at the Parque (the central park in the middle of the city) and watched the variety of people walking around. Guatemalans from other parts of the country, Europeans, Americans… the press of people was incredible.
|in front of El Arco, another famous landmark|
|Fin de semana largo (Long Weekend)|
Sunday a group of the Japanese students coordinated a trip to Pacaya, one of the most active volcanoes in Guatemala. If you remember hearing about an eruption last year, this was that volcano. We left Antigua at 6am, and took a bumpy one hour ride to the foot of Pacaya. Our driver had a gun, which was a bit disconcerting. Apparently there are still quite a number of bandits who prey on tourists here. There was a little community at the base of the volcano where we were given two guides.
|Standing by a steaming cavern on Pacaya|
The walk up was pretty steep, and was more than 3km. As we walked, men on small horses followed us yelling ‘Taxi, Taxi’. One of the gals decided to use one as she was wearing really poor shoes. Because it had erupted last year, we were not allowed to go all the way to the top. The air was quite cool, but in many places were cracks and fissures from which warm steam rose. Apparently in the past, it’s been possible to go all the way to the top crater and roast marshmallows! Maybe next time.
|Round trip bus ride: 60 quetzales ($8US)|
Entrance fee & two guides: 50q ($7US)
Standing on an active volcano: Priceless!
We came home and relaxed (including a little nap!) and then did a bit more walking around. Since Sunday is the one day we are not provided meals, we went out for dinner. As we were walking near the Parque we ran into my ‘First-Class’ friend, Dwayne. It was so fun to introduce him to Haley and Miles, especially since Haley was raised in the ELCA denomination, which is the same Lutheran church in which Dwayne was a pastor. I just love how God keeps arranging these amazing connections.
Next Sunday we hope to go to church with Dona Cristi. I would have preferred not to miss yesterday, but it was wonderful to see God’s creation and share it with other Christ-followers. The heavens (and earth - including volcanoes!) truly declare God's glory! Along with my morning devotions, I am trying to read a portion of the Gospel of John en espanol each night. I understand a lot of it as they are familiar passages.
Our other housemate came home after a long weekend away. I feel badly for him, because he does not seem able to interact appropriately. We are praying about whether or not to confront him, as he is unkind and disrespectful to Dona Cristi. It makes me sad, because he is here working with an excellent organization. It reminds me of I Corinthians 13, and challenges me to not simply ‘talk’ Jesus, but to ‘walk’ Him, too. If I have all the best intentions, but do not show love, what a clanging noisy mess I can make.
It’s time for lunch, so I’d best jump off! I hope each of you has a terrific day. Thanks again for your interest in my journey.