Sunday, March 25, 2012

A Day of Rest

Buenos Dias! Everything is going great still. Everyone is healthy and having the time of their life! Yesterday we enjoyed a beautiful boat ride to 2 different villages and did some shopping! I think we are all getting pretty good at bartering! We stopped for lunch and some of us swam in the pool and sat in the hot tub that was right above the lake and overlooking the mountains. Breathtaking view. Last night part of the group went out dancing and had a blast  learning some new cultural dance moves! The rest were a little too tired and used the time to get in some extra sleep, needless to say it was much needed. Zip lining is today, we are all super excited, some a tad nervous! None of us can believe the week is about over, we want to stay another week!!! It's absolutely beautiful here today, sun is out and we are taking off for the day! We will send more updates soon :)
Chelsea Theodore

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Day 6

Hello family and friends.
Half of us had another beautiful day in San Jorge building a house, while the other half of us spent the day at San Andraes  playing with the kids at the preschool and visiting our LHS Interact Pre-school sponsees, Lucas and Mariela. Everyone is having a wonderful time and we are very healthy. All of the interacters are having a wonderful time playing with the children and we are creating a real connection with them. The women and men are very grateful of our presence here and  appreciate every little thing we do for them or their children. The children are thrilled just to have one sticker and to see the look on their faces when we give them more just makes every one's day. Overall, today was an amazing day making the lives better of as many people we can.

From Your Blogger of The Day
Blake Theodore

Friday, March 23, 2012

Day 5

Hello family and friends. We are all doing very well this evening. We installed two stoves in Pana and another two stoves in El Barranco. We were blessed with having the opportunity to watch a show put on by the children attending a preforming arts school there. It was very enjoyable. At the end they asked us to dance with them . Four of our Interactors joined them. After the show was over we clothed about 300 locals. We also gave the children a few school supplies. This is all thanks to our wonderful donations we recieved for our trip. While some were helping clothe the families, the others entertained the children. Stickers as well as candy of all kinds were enjoyed by all. After we returned we had the wonderful opportunity to try on traditional clothing, thanks to our Mayan Family partnership. We were then taken out to eat. Everyone enjoyed the large variety of food available.  
Love our 5th Blogger,
Colleen Yoder

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Day 4 in Guatemala

Hello Everyone! Today was a very productive day for us, as we managed to build 11 stoves! We had fabulous weather, and everybody is happy and healthy. Colleen and Lizzie went on over to the preschool where they played with the little kids for a few hours. Kari´s group was on their last stove of the day, when they came across five dogs who were not being taken care of due to lack of food. We sent all the dogs over to Mayan Families, where they will be nursed back to health. On a lighter note, today was also Katie´s birthday, so we decided to have a little celebration with our friends at Mayan Families. They were so kind as to cook us Katie´s favorite meal, which was spaghetti. They also made the most adorable cake for us, along with ice cream. We were about to call it a night, when we got a little tied up. That is, in a pinata party! It took us awhile, but we finally were able to break the Minnie Mouse pinata open. Tomorrow will be our last day of building stoves, as three remain to be installed. Thank you to everyone who helped make this wonderful trip possible!
Your Wednesday Blogger,
Olivia Unterreiner   

Day 3 in Guatamala!

Hello Interact friends and family! Everyone was very busy today. We started our day with breakfast at the hotel. Then everyone went next door to get on the pickup trucks to build stoves while Mrs. Richards and Emily M went to the preschool. We didn´t  have any help from the South African group today, but we still managed to build 8 stoves in the rain!  We finished building all the stoves in San Antonio then met Emily and Mrs. Richards to eat lunch. While everyone was in San Antonio, Emily M and Mrs.Richards visited a preschool in San Jorge. We helped the preschoolers learn the Spanish alphabet with coloring books. The kids were so excited to see us and didn´t want to say goodbye. After the preschool, we went to help at a senior center that feeds seniors and orphans. They were so thankful that we were there. The oldest woman was 93! Many children had to come to the senior center to pickup food for their grandparents because they aren´t able to walk there themselves. After both groups met and had lunch we all went to build 4 stoves in San Jorge. While at one of the houses, we met a group of boys. They were very funny and sweet. When we were done with our first house, they followed us to the next one. When it started to rain again some of the kids huddled under Blake´s poncho and some helped hold a tarp over Ellie and Chelsea. They were so sweet and even ran after our truck as we were leaving. One of the houses had a flower inside that the whole family seems very proud of. We found out that the grandmother brought a flower all the way from her home village on her wedding day and planted it in her house, since then it has grown and bloomed. Everyone in the family was so proud of it and was more than happy to show everyone and tell them the story. Overall, today was just an amazing day. Everyone is healthy and is having fun.
Love your blogger of the day,
Emily Messmer (blogger number 3)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

First Full Day in Guatemala

Hello Interactor friends and family!
We all made it through the first day of manual labor without any injuries or health problems!! Thankfully, everyone has enjoyed the food from such a different culture. Even our friends who cant eat gluten and our vegetarians found meals that suited their taste buds! 
We began our day with an early wake up call at 7 am. (well Mrs. Richards woke up at 1:30 due to phone malfunctions..), had a hot breakfast at the hotel at 8, and by 9 we were at the Mayan Families learning how to assemble the stoves. To our surprise, we didn´t have to ensure the steep hills of San Antonio alone! A mission group from South Africa was there to lend a hand. We all traveled on the back of pick up trucks to gather equipment and take a scenic drive to our destination.
 Right when we got there, Mayan women were anxious to lend a hand, and a head! They would balance two cinder blocks on their heads up the mountain to the numerous houses that were receiving stoves for the day. 10 to be exact! Three separate groups spent the day building stoves, while Mrs. Richards, Katie, and Ellie assisted at the pre-school.
Everyone came back with stories such as Mr. Theodore getting licked by one family´s cow (I guess to say thank you?). HR strutted the streets wearing overalls and carrying a spatula. which he claims he can use it to dig, cut, and make food with. The group at the pre-school read stories, played with hula hoops, and helped over 50 kids learn the Spanish alphabet.
 After installing stoves, Keri went to the pre-school and bonded with a boy named Danny, which she is considering taking home! Others are hoping to take puppies home from the Mayan Family shelter because of the overcrowding.
At the end of the trip to San Antonio, all the groups had to meet at the beautiful white church overlooking the lake. The sun was just starting to set, and its rays reflected against the water. It was breathtaking. To make the moment even better, we decided to take out the hula hoops. Children ran from almost every direction wanting to be a part of the fun. Then once the stickers came out, we were swarmed. The moment was amazing. Everyone was having the time of their lives by just receiving a few stickers. The kids also loved getting their picture taken. They would gather their friends together to pose for pictures and get to see them on the screen after. It really showed all the things that we may take for granted. after we said our lat goodbyes to all of our new amigos, we took the 30 minute ride home to wash up and get dinner at the Circus Bar.
We got way more than we could eat with pizzas, salads, soups, banana splits, just to name a few. Some of the girls danced it out to live Spanish music, and we all took crazy pictures trying to imitate art on the wall.
Of course the night has to end because we were doing some heavy lifting all day. When we arrived back to the hotel, we got to make our Agape bags, where our team members can write notes to each other and receive them at the end of the week. Chelsea then lead our first evening discussion that focused on our "high" of the day.
Just in the short time here, it´s easy to see the great impact Guatemala has made on all of our lives and that we are giving so much to them as well. Well it´s time to get to bed, we travel to San Jose tomorrow! Good Night!
Love your blogger of the day,
Lizzy Houska   

Monday, March 19, 2012

Arrival in Guatemala!

Buenos Noches St. Louis friends and family!
We have finally reached our destination here in Guatemala! Everything was smooth sailing all day! Both of our flights were on time and we had great, sunny weather when we arrived for the 3 hour bus ride. We had a welcoming dinner hosted by Sharon and Dwight and their staff from Mayan Families Organization. It was absolutely delicious and they introduced us to yummy new drinks made out of hibiscus flowers! Their home made tortillas and guacamole was to die for. We can all get used to the food here quick! Tomorrow is our first day of work! Two of us will be heading to the pre-school with Mrs. Richards in San Antonio while the rest of the group hikes up huge mountains to begin installing stoves. The plan is to get 8 done tomorrow! As you can imagine we are all exhausted from all the traveling and will hopefully be heading to bed early! Of course we miss you all to a great extent, but we are having a blast! See ya in a week!

Over and out,
Guatemala Blogger, Kaitlyn Holbrook