Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Estamos Aqui!

We are here!

Thanks for all your prayers.

We arrived in Guatemala last night around 9:00 pm local time.  It’s a little confusing because we were told, and everything we had read said that Guatemala was on the Central Time Zone.  But, we are still scratching our heads trying to figure out why they are still one hour behind Nashville time (which is Central)???  We are staying at the Vista Real and it is an amazing hotel.  Our room is very nice (thanks AMEX points!), and the hotel itself sits on the side of a mountain overlooking the City.  

We started out our first full day at the Mercado de Artesanias, which is like an open air market of souvenirs.  

Then we walked across the street to the zoo for an hour or so, which only allowed for us to see a small fraction of the exhibits.  This zoo is so different than any American zoo I have visited.  The conditions that the animals are kept in are nowhere near what American zoos strive for.  Yet, like the people in this country, it’s like they weren’t complaining, but just so happy to be alive and cared for.  There were so many more animals to see than what we are used to and they were easily accessible for our viewing enjoyment.  It just seems so laid back.  Like it was no big deal if you could reach through the chain linked fence and pet the Coyotes.  

The smell of smog is thick during the day.  At night, the air smells of campfires.  To me, G-City doesn’t seem too different from Los Angeles, except for the extreme divide of wealth and poverty.  There is much poverty here and we have yet to see the worst.  We are planning on going to the Guatemala City Dump tomorrow morning with our new friend Ashley before we head to Antigua for the remainder of our stay in the country.  And while I am very curious, I can already feel my heart begin to break over the hopelessness I will witness there.  I hear, there are thousands living among the refuse, competing with vultures for the scraps we throw away.  I am tempted to let the toxic fear, shame, and guilt get the best of me and cancel the visit.  But my heart says, “Come on let’s go”. 

Ashley is the Orphan Care Coordinator at Hannah’s Hope here.  We stopped in today to visit with our sponsor child and “plant a few seeds”.  We brought a craft to share with 14 or so of the kids at the orphanage.  The craft consisted of each child getting a small clay pot with a packet of seeds and soil.  We also brought along some paints and brushes for them to decorate their own pot.  While the kids loved the craft, we were entertained by their joy and enthusiasm over the bubble wrap that we had used to pack it all.  


Emma and Mac fit right in and had a great time playing with all their new friends.  I wish I could bring all of these kids home with me, but more so, I wish I could convey to you how my heart grew what felt like 10 times larger with every smile, laugh, tear, and story each of these kids and adults shared with us.  



I saw God today.  :)


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