On Friday, June 21, I got up at 4:00 a.m. put on my airplane clothes, brushed my teeth and packed the last minute things like my toothbrush, retainer and glasses case. I did not forget them. My mom said that on airplane trips, you cannot turn around and go home to get the things you forget as I did on our Spring Break trip which was a road trip. On road trips it is okay to turn around and get the things you forget but not on airplane trips—you just have to do without. So this time I remembered!
In Denver we ate breakfast at McDonalds and then my mom thought we had all the time to lounge around making pot holders before our flight to Houston but then we heard the announcement and it was rush rush rush. I guess she got mixed up on the time change. Anyway, the flight was funny because there was a little T.V. on the seat in front of me and I saw `The Incredibles’ on it and then the flight attendant gave me a nice warm cookie for a snack. Yum! No one else got a cookie so I was lucky. As we were landing, I was hoping we would see Uncle Jeff in Houston and there he was waiting for us when we got off the plane! We ate dinner, talked to grandma on the phone and looked around the airport and found the little George Bush museum. It was interesting to me because there was photo of him signing the Americans with Disabilities Act on July 26, 1990. I have seen this picture many times in my life. Then we took our last plane to Guatemala! Okay three airplanes were all done and we were tired!! At the airport we filled up our water bottles and got some Guatemalan money called Quetzals not dollars. Uncle Jeff called it `funny money’ and then we found the Howard Johnson’s hotel van and the driver drove us to our hotel. They gave us three bottles of water and my mom asked for more!! She drinks a lot of water. So that was the beginning of brushing my teeth with a water bottle instead of water from a faucet. AND it was the beginning of no more elevators for me: Uncle Jeff put me on the little elevator all by myself and the door did not open. It was funny and it was just too scary so since then I have been taking the stairs.
The room was really beautiful! And we quickly took a shower and went to bed: 12:00 midnight. About 20 hours earlier I had gotten up out of my own bed in Missoula and now I was going to sleep in a very fancy hotel in Guatemala. The adventure had begun!
Saturday morning we had a very nice Guatemalan breakfast. I even tried some coffee. My mom thought she was playing a trick on the waiter when she traded her coffee cup for mine and asked for another cup hoping it would be fresher and hotter. I just went ahead and took a sip of luke warm coffee which is a very adult thing to do! So far I am not a fan but maybe I will grow into it.
My mom’s friend Paul came to see us. He was my mom’s professor at Michigan State and now he lives in Guatemala. He had met Morielle when she was a baby and he was excited to meet me as an adult. He gave my mom a book; he gave me a map; and he gave all of us a plan for the day! It was really fun! We went to the Guatemala City Zoo and saw lots of animals: a white tiger and some penguins and some very pretty flowers. Then we went to see a real map of Guatemala which was very interesting. It showed all the rivers and mountains. Then we walked around the city and visited a pretty church and I saw a pretty girl all dressed up in a pretty blue dress. Paul said that she was 16 and that it was her `coming-out’ party. After that we ate dinner at the hotel and then we said `goodbye’ to Paul. There was a guard outside our hotel with a gun. My mom said that it was not scary but it was safe. He smiled at us and waved `goodbye’ to us when we packed up our stuff to go to the airport.
At the airport we waited for Uncle Jonathan and Aunt Laura, Schyler, Olivia and Bremen. We also met our Casas’ friends who took us to a residence for the first night. We were very tired and so I skipped the shower which was a good thing because my mom said that it was only cold water.
In the morning we had a nice breakfast and walked around the city, San Raymundo. I wanted to go to church but in Guatemala they have market in the morning on Sunday and church in the afternoon. So we went to the market and I almost bought a traditional Guatemalan outfit but it was too expensive so we could not buy it. My mom and I were very disappointed.
Back at the Residence we had a very very nice lunch and met new Casas’ friends like Jason and the other Jason and Lory from Morning Glory Christian Academy. My Uncle Jonathan gave her some money from a friend in Williston. She wanted to use the money to buy new instruments for the school’s band. She said that we would hear the band play on Friday after our trip to Antigua. Lunch was chicken cordon blu, potatoes, salad and veggies. In the afternoon we had to pack up our stuff again for the 3:00 bus to the resort where we would be staying. Well, the bus did not come until 4:30 and by then it was raining. It rains a lot in the afternoon in Guatemala. We ran to the busses and had to find a seat on a very full bus. This is where we met our team members and the other 4 teams that were going to stay at the resort with us. Somehow in all the rush of activity we missed going to church and I was disappointed.
We moved into our room: my mom and I stayed in a room with Aunt Laura and Olivia. And then we had dinner which was nachos with beans and cheese. We skipped the beans part. Brandon, the leader of Casas pro Cristo in Guatemala talked about the week ahead of us: 6 houses for 6 families would be built by 6 teams! Wow! that’s a lot of workers so he talked about respecting Emmanuel Park, keeping it neat, staying quiet so everyone could sleep, AND not throwing toilet paper down the toilet: `If you forget, and you will forget’ he said, `just dig it out—I don’t care how—hands, mouth, nose.’ Everybody laughed. `Don’t think that it is just one little piece of toilet paper and that it won’t matter because everybody thinks that.’ I already knew about this rule because my mom always came with me to the toilet in Guatemala because she thought that I might forget that rule BUT actually she was the one who was forgetting and having to dig it out! Hah! She used her fingers, very quick AND she washed her hands very well.
So then we brushed our teeth outside with bottled water, laid out our work clothes and went to bed: breakfast was to be at 6:30 and on the busses at 7:30 and then off to the work site!