I got up early this morning and had a great cup of Guatemalan coffee. Cris and I had a good night’s sleep after a long day on Wednesday. I have never slept in the same room with a Pastor. Quite an experience - like someone tends to talk in their sleep (wonder who?).
I had a good Guatemalan breakfast with Cris, Miles and Elma. Had an omelet with ham, mushrooms and roasted peppers topped with salsa, a side order of some type of white cheese and fried plantains. Really good. We met Pastor Luis at 8:30. He had picked up the cement blocks to take to the school in a small town called Los Limones where we are going to help install a new cooking stove. We were the sight of the town. Cris and I road in the back end of the pickup truck with the cement blocks while Miles and Elma road in the cab with Pastor Luis. Here you have two Gringos in the back end of a pickup truck and two more Gringos in the cab with Pastor Luis.
On the way, we visited with a close friend of Miles’ and Elma who lives in a shanty the size of a small porch. He has plastic curtains for his perimeter walls. He has no cooking facilities. Several months ago, he could not even walk, but support through the Lutheran church and medical funds from Miles and Elma; he is now able to stand and is getting food from the church ladies. I understand that he was able to go to church last Sunday.
We then drove out in the country to the Los Limones school and met the ladies who take care of the school and fed around 400 students. We got to meet the kids as they were being feed a morning snack or maybe lunch. Miles and Pastor Luis discussed with the ladies that we would be back tomorrow morning to help install the stove.
From there we traveled back into Gualan to look at the Lutheran School with Pastor Luis. The dirt roads are really rough with lots of pot holes. What an accomplishment the Lord has provided for these students and staff in Gualan. The school has classes for first through ninth grade. From the school, Pastor Luis drove us to downtown Gualan so Cris and I could exchange some US dollars for the Guatemalan currency (Quetzal) at Pastors Luis’ bank. Again, we were the sight of the down with two Gringos riding in the back end of a pickup truck through downtown Gualan.
Pastor Louis had other responsibilities to attend to so Elma, Miles, Cris and I toured downtown Gualan. We saw lots of small shops on both sides of the streets around the square. We went to the down Market to look at other shops including several meat and produce vendors. Quit and experience. We ended up at an ice cream store. I had the best pasticcio ice cream ever. The four of us got a bus to go to the Hearts in Motion center in northern Gualan. You might want to call it a bus. Basically it was a large minivan that would hold 10 -12 people. The van had no sliding side door on the passenger side. They would pack us in like sardines. After a number of stops and lots of seat changing with passengers getting on and off we arrived at the Heats in Motion center.
The Heats in Motion center is an organization that has a secured campus that takes care of kids that are under nourished, crippled, body deformities, etc. There are lots of medical volunteers from the United States who help out at the center throughout the year. Some of the donations that Miles and Elma receive go to help supply medicine for this center. They are in the process of getting the final approval from the government for a newly built orphanage.
Once a week, the center provides a lunch for the kids in the neighborhood. What a community outreach. The parents need to register the kids for the lunch and name tags are provided as the kids find their seats in the dining room. A prayer is led by a staff member in which all of the kids participate. Then we help served lunch to about 150 kids. What a sight. I had teary eyes. What a blessing to be able to help these kids. This might be the best meal of the week for them. Cris and the director of the center had a great discussion on what we could do in the future to help the center and the neighborhood. Cris came away with lots of good ideas for the future.
Back at the hotel, we were able to cool our heels (literally). The temperate was 96 degrees with very high humidly, just like a sauna. We met the folks from Guatemala City who manufacture the stove and who will help install the stove tomorrow at the school in Los Limones. All of us went to dinner in downtown Gualan. Transportation to and from the restaurant and the hotel was quite an experience.
We took a Tuk-Tuk. A Tuk-Tuk is a small motor scooter with seating for two behind the driver. The vehicle should only carry a total of three people, but there were five of us on our Tuk-Tuk going to the restaurant. They just zip in and out of traffic like they are the only vehicle on the road. It was almost like a carnival ride. If you do not hold on tight, you might be out on the pavement. It could almost be a thrill of a lifetime.
Looking forward to tomorrow where we install the stove at the school. They need to test the stove after it is installed. The ladies will be cooking some tortillas. Elma and I hopefully will be able to try our hand at making and cooking some tortillas. We have a small verbal bet on who can make the roundest tortilla. I told Elma that regardless how they came out after we cooked them on the new stove, we had to eat them. Looking forward to see who has the best tortilla.