Better Than Good Food

The food has been amazing here in Guatemala! Well, for most of us it’s been amazing. I think Nathan, one of our high school students, has been surviving on peanut butter & jelly sandwiches alone. They have fed us steak burritos, chicken taquitos, chicken with mashed potatoes and refried beans, pancakes with fruit, omelettes, … Tonight they even threw a special dinner for all the volunteers visiting Hope of Life. We were treated to a performance by the children from the orphanage. They did such a great job!

The food may be great, but the ministry is even better. This morning we had the opportunity to paint houses in Tempisque. We painted five houses: one blue, two pink, one green, and one yellow. While we were waiting for supplies, we played soccer with some boys in the street. I’m not too proud to admit that those little guys were better than us even without shoes!

In my limited Spanish, I was able to communicate with the owners of one house. They use the creek to wash their dishes and prepare and cook their meals outside under a small overhang. (I realized I never would have survived as a pioneer woman.) They were so sweet, giving us hugs and thanking us. Their gratitude as well as watching my boys (ages 11 and almost 8) dripping with sweat and covered in paint as they painted each house, almost moved me to tears.

After lunch, we split into three teams. A few in our group helped at the Baby Rescue Center, where they received eleven new babies. That brings the total number of babies being cared for in the center to 125! Joy told the story of a baby being brought in who was severely malnourished and swollen. He was unresponsive as she held his hand and talked to him. Katy, one of our 6th graders, cuddled him while Joy blew kisses on his hand, making him begin to giggle constantly. One of our students, Olivia, saved a baby’s life! The baby was choking on her milk in one of the cribs so she helped her clear the airway. Each of these moments (and so many others) made a difference in a child’s life.

Another group visited the nursing home. We were serenaded by a man with no teeth playing the accordion. Kaden and I danced along to the music and entertained the residents while we were at it. The ladies couldn’t seem to get enough hugs and kisses from Kaden. Another resident named Adelvi gave Scott and me Spanish lessons in exchange for us helping him to learn more English. (As it turns out, he didn’t have many teeth either, but it certainly didn’t slow him down.)

The third group played with the kids at Kelly’s House, the home for kids with special needs. Chelsea and Katy walked all around the lakes and accompanied them to the playground. Holly and Nathan made animals out of Play-Doh with a boy who would name the animal in Spanish to help them learn the language. We also played in the physical therapy room with several children.

The groups rotated between the different locations. Even though the orphanage wasn’t on the original agenda, somehow we were drawn to it like magnets. Scott was crushed in a game of UNO that we are convinced was rigged. It seems like the rules of the game were changed as the game progressed. He was a good sport, though, and more importantly, the kids had a blast beating him.

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