Thursday, February 19, 2009

Culture Day

Us, waiting for our ride. (I labeled in the previous post)

After returning to GBS, we had two culture days with our field coordinator, Mauricio, and his wife Myrna and daughter Andrea. Here is our friend Mauricio:

We went to a breakfast all-you-can-eat buffet that serves authentic Guatemalan food. This included: black bean paste, tortillas, plantain, cantalope, watermelon, papaya, pineapple, fried potatoes, salsa, rice, eggs, and coffee and juice. And it was only 20Q per person! (about $2.50)

Here is the place that they cook the tortillas. There is a fire underneath and a flat surface on top where the tortillas are fried.

Decor: an old pot.

Outside, three sheep were grazing. Jake still owes me 20 Q... he promised it to whoever could pick up the lamb. No one else could, but I did! (It wasn't really fair, I've had experience catching such things without causing trauma to the mother) [I don't think he'll ever pay me =)]

A couple flowers that I found to be really pretty:

A little place that sells "queso crema," or cream cheese.

Another little building on the property.

After breakfast, we drove to a Mayan ruin. It was pretty neat. There was a little museum with diagrams of what the ruin was thought to have looked like, artifacts from it, and descriptions of different people and events.

Wouldn't you like to have your head bashed in like this guy?

A model of the ruins, then a diagram.

The ruins!

Mayan people still perform sacrifices at the ruins, and there was one happening while we were there, so we observed for awhile. It wasn't an animal sacrifice, it was mostly flowers, alchohol, and some groceries.

This is the end, where the people doing the sacrifice are kneeling while a firework goes off. It was a loud firework.

After watching the sacrifice, we had our cultural anthropology class. It was quite fitting that that was the day Vanessa, Brit, and Sarah did their presentation on Guatemala's magic, religion, and worldview. After their presentation, we helped Myrna prepare a Guatemalan meal: refried black beans, meat cooked over a fire, salsa, guacamole, onions, tortillas, and I don't remember what all else. It was good!

Learning the culture of Guatemala with Mauricio was a lot of fun. =)

Here is a final picture, one of Mauricio, Myrna, and their daughter Andrea:

A Series of Random Events

Well, obviously I haven't updated in awhile. Since the last post, we moved to Guatemala Bible Seminary (GBS) in Chimaltenango, spent the weekend with different missionaries, started a more normal class schedule, visited a Mayan ruin, and got things set up with our Chimaltenango ministry church. So, first things first:

Our Ministry Site
Team Omega Force Nine, my team, is working with the iglesia (church), Su Presencia (Your Presence). From Saturday morning to Monday morning we live with different church members and help with the church's ministries. Due to frequent vandalism, the church moved from their previous building, and currently meets in a part of a school. Here is the school at which the church meets.

This is the main school building.

And here is the "church building."

Inside the church:

Our team in front of the church, with the pastor, Daniel. (I'm taking the picture)

Missionary Weekend
Most of the students were paired up together to spend the weekend with a missionary in either Guatemala City, Patsun, or Antigua. I was the only one who did not have a partner, and I stayed with Chris Pater, a music teacher at Seteca (a Bible seminary) in Guatemala City.

Since Chris teaches music, I got to shadow her while she taught a theory class, and a couple of private lessons. Here is one music studio where she teaches:

Over the weekend, we went to the mall, visited some other missionaries, went to Spanish church in the morning and English church in the evening, taught music, and ate at some really nice restaurants. It was a great weekend!

Chris has a little room/apartment in Guatemala City, and an apartment in Chimaltenango, where she also teaches. Here is a brief look at her place in Guatemala City, where I stayed:

At one point, I spent a couple hours on the roof, taking pictures and journaling. Here's the view off the roof into town. Notice the McDonalds sign.

I also picturized myself:

And my feet:

And my purse

And my camera case

And that is the list of my souvenirs, up to this point.

After taking pictures of my stuff, I decided to peek in on a pinata party next door. They had already destroyed the pinata, but I picturized the leftovers of the pinata.

Each of the communities in Guatemala City have gates across the road. A guard mans the gate and allows recognized vehicles in and out. In this picture, you can see the yellow gate:

At the end of the weekend, some of the girls were dropped off at Seteca to be picked up and taken back to GBS. While we were waiting, Savana and I walked around and spied the lovely tree:

We also climbed onto the play set and got our picture taken together. The back row is Kendall on the left and Kaitlyn on the right. I'm in the middle, then on the bottom are Savana on the left and Sarah on the right.

[more in the next post]

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Field Trip

Today we went on a field trip to a school in Antigua. The school is run privately by a group of teachers who wanted to provide a good education for indigenous kids. They have 3 1/2 hours of school every afternoon. The school has grades 1-6, and allows kids age 7-18 to attend.

For our field trip, we first met together and learned about the school, then we visited shortly before opening time and watched their opening.

This is the pole building where they have assemblies.

A few boys on the stage

This is our tour guide, with the director of the school. The picture doesn't do justice to her short spiked hair, multi-colored sparkly jeans, and vibrant personality.

A couple of girls from the school, they came and listened while we visited and saw the school.

A couple more girls, they were so sweet.

Looking across a courtyard.

Another courtyard, with Discoverites walking across it.

The school kids started arriving through the gates.

The school assembly. At the beginning of each day, they gather the students together and give them a bit of a pep talk, about how fortunate they are to have the school, cleanliness, and behaving well. Throughout the speech, the students stand in rows and listen in absolute silence. This is the main group of kids:

To the right was another line of kids.

And the same to the left.

It was a really neat trip. We got to see one of the best ways to get indigenous kids out of their poverty and into good jobs. By completing 6th grade, students have a much higher chance of getting a good job than they would have otherwise. Many of the kids walk miles each day to get to school and back, but you wouldn't know it by looking at them.

It was definitely a good field trip.