Love this place and these people

Monday, July 20, 2009


The title of this post comes from one of my new Guatemala friends who told me that is what I have been doing since I was laid off. And it's true. My unemployment is definitely fun. The last 6 weeks have included sightseeing in Washington DC, New York, San Francisco, and of course Utah. Those were some good times. But as good as they were, I think my first week in Guatemala eclipses them all.

Like any major change in life, it's been a little scary and stressful. Monday was a little crazy since I got no sleep on Sunday night. I flew in from Utah at 10:30pm and had to be at the airport to leave for Guatemala by 5am. So I did some packing and cleaning, and no sleeping. By the time I arrived in Guatemala I was a little bit tired and delusional. Mandy and Guillermo picked me up from the airport to take me to the orphanage which was an hour away. I was grateful that I was not the one driving. Holy cow they are crazy here. Aaron, I now understand the rules of driving that you were explaining to us when we were in Puerto Rico. There really aren't any. But my first glimpses of the country were beautiful. Everything is so green and beautiful. A different green than I've really ever seen anywhere before. The fields that go straight up the side of the mountains are great

That first day I arrived at the orphanage and met the kids and some other volunteers who I'm working with, who are all so great. Simon and Zoe are a married couple from London who have been traveling south and central america for the last 6 months. Tom is a student from England who wanted to do something fun with his summer. Phoung is a school therapist who also wanted to do something great with her summer. And the list of fun new people goes on and on.

There are 15 kids at the orphanage, ages 13 - 11 months. They are adorable. I have had a chance to hear some of their stories and it is heartbreaking. Mandy and Guillermo are doing an incredible thing by bringing them in and giving them a home and a family. Because that is really what the orphanage feels like. The kids fight and play and help eachother all the time. I love seeing their interactions (not so much the fighting ones). I will post some photos of our activities. But basically what we're doing is teaching them school. Which is pretty awesome since none of us are teachers AND each child is on a completely different level. It's pretty crazy some days trying to figure out how we can help in the best way. The reason they're not in school has to do with the way Guatemala runs their public schools. A little messed up. But I'm happy I can help. We do school in the morning and activities in the afternoon. Sometimes I feel like I'm babysitting 10 kids...which can get a little out of hand. But the kids just love you and love being around you, and it's nice to be loved.

The latest development is that I actually moved to Antigua on Monday. I was at the orphanage for a week and after talking to the other volunteers I found a homestay for really cheap that provides all my meals and I am taking Spanish lessons once a week. I actually feel really spoiled down here. I don't have to cook or clean or do anything except teach school, play with kids and do fun things on the weekends. Anyone who wants to join in the fun is welcome to come down. It is amazing. I need to write an entire different post about this last weekend. But I want to get something posted tonight so I'm just going to post this right now. I'll also remember to bring my camera cord next time to send some photos.

Hasta luego!!


  1. Thanks for the update, we thought they had run you ragged and you were to exhausted to tell us any news. Glad to hear that you are having a good time and learning spanish. We love you tons.

  2. Love you!!! SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO jealous right now, in case you did not know. Why do you always get to be so selfless with your time and I Just have to be in Provo serving myself. Not fair! ;) Love you

  3. Ahhh! So good to finally see a post from you! I'm glad things have been going well. You've been in my thoughts and prayers since you've been down there. Oh - and PS - I touched Donnie Wahlberg at the Houston NKOTB concert. Yep - that's right. His awesome, sweaty bicep was in my hand. It was amazing!!