Friday, February 27, 2009

Final week in Antigua

Some of you have asked about our health while here, and so far, with only one day left to go, neither of us have been sick from the food or water. We have been careful, only drinking "aqua pura" or bottled water or water Bob has purified with his ultra-violet gadget. So thank you for your prayers for health and safety, as we also have not gotten run over by a car, taxi, bus or bike. Pedestrians do not have the right of way here and there is alot of traffic.
We went on a 15 mile bike ride last week end around a couple of volcanos and a coffee plantation. It may be hard to see in the picture, but the volcano is active and venting smoke. There are 4 volcanoes around Antigua and 2 of them are active.
With the start of the Lenten season, Antigua is getting busier and the churches are starting to be decorated and the tradition of "processions" on Sunday start this Sunday. It's a fiesta every Friday and Sunday until Easter and the decorations and processions become more elaborate. We were able to visit a church on Ash Wednesday and Friday and experience some of the tradition.
We have had an interesting month, meeting new people or people from our past. The first week we were here, we were able to spend some time with Carolyn Carpino from church and then this past week, we met up with the Feldman's, who are here until March 31. When we went to Church of the Road on Wednesday, and would you believe the pastor was someone we knew from Calvary Chapel over 20 years ago. Then, Bob found out that a high school friend is here as a missionary. We also met a couple, who are also learning Spanish, and we will probably stay in contact with them, and are even planning to come back around the same time frame.
It's been interesting using the computer here. We have access to the internet at school and around town there are several internet cafes. The keyboard is in spanish and the keyboard is designed for mult-lingual use. It took us a while to figure out that alt 64 was the @ sign, and many other differences.

Friday, February 20, 2009

semana de tres en Antigua(week 3 in Antigua)

We have been to a few "projectos"-what the locals call ministry opportunities-this week. One was a boy's school and medical clinic, called "God's Child. They provide firewood, food, and free medical care for the families so the boys would be able to go to school, and not work. The other ministry was in an outlying village(pueblo), very poor, and had more horses than vehicles for transportation. We were shown how to build stoves to replace wood burning fires for the Mayan women. The stoves provided a healthy environment for them to cook, through use of a chimney to vent the smoke. The women die young due to respiratory illness and have eye health issues.

We were able to ride a "Chicken Bus" which is the main public transportaion. They take old school buses from the states and reformat the seating to fit around 75, and increase the capacity even more with standing room. The taxi system here uses "Toque-toques" which means "toot-toot or horn" in English. They are 3 wheeled open aired vehicle and I have included a picture.

Visited an awesome lake last weekend called Lake Atitlan and is a must if you visit Guatemala. There was a boat taxi system that transports from village to village on the lake, and lots of hiking between the villages. Our hotel was eco-friendly and had solar showers(which meant we had to shower between noon- 6pm or nada).
Next week is our last week of school before heading home to Clearwater. We are having a good time but are also looking forward to coming home. See most of you soon!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Fin de semana-it´s the weekend!

Pics are 1-View of Augua Volcano from McDonalds 2-Pacific Ocean 3-Pacaya Volcano
We don´t have meals on Sunday at our host home, so Bob wanted to go to McDonalds for breakfast before church, so we did and there was such a surprise with a beautiful view and garden. It ended up being our afternoon study spot for a few times that week. It also has free internet.
Monterrico is a beach village with an awesome black sand beach. The beach reminds of the scene from the end of a novel or movie. The village is small and rural with farm animals in the street-resident pigs, chickens, dogs, horses and ducks.
We have been to two different churches, one catering to Americans and relief workers with some Guatemalans. The other one was mainly Guatemalans, with a few missionaries. This weekend and next weekend, we may be traveling.
There are quite a few volunteers here. Many go to language school for a while, and then stay on to volunteer. The need is overwhelming. Bob and I are going to a malnutrition center and stopped by the hospital, which also has an orphanage. We may also be helping with an environmental project with the Mayans.
School is going well and we are learning first hand that it is much easier to read and write Spanish than to hear and speak the language, but we are trying. We have been on a few field trips-to the Macadamian Nut Farm and on a hike up to the Pacaya Volcano. There are around 20 students, and we have one on one teaching. The students are mostly from Europe and England, with Bob and I and one other American.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Bob and Maureen's first week at Spanish School, Antigua, Guatemala

Hola! Bob and I are settled into our host home in Antigua. The family is a stay at home mom, a working dad and 2 girls, ages 12 and 11. They have a simple but clean home, with a washer and dryer, which are luxuries, by Guatemalan standards. There are 2 other college aged students from Germany also in the home. They have finished their language school and one is staying an extra 6 months to volunteer and the other one is going to go to Guatemalan university. We are expecting another student this weekend.
Many of you know Carolyn Carpino, and we were able to go to Iglesia del Camino(church of the road) with her and toured around Antigua. We were sad to see her leave because we enjoyed being with her and she helped us with our Espanol.
Our routine is starting to look like this: school in the morning, then study in the afternoon or school sponsored trip. After dinner, it's the gym or a short study session. On Saturday's it's a trip somewhere.
The pics are 1) Del Camino Church 2) Ceramic signage 3) Bob and Maureen at school 3) Store front 4) Carolyn, Bob and Maureen 5)View of Antigua from a park

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Miami Airport

Hey, we had our choice between 1/2 hour layover in Miami or 5 hours, didn't want to risk not getting our connection and/or luggage, so here we are in Miami. What we have found out is that we need some Spanish skills to navigate the airport-announcements are in Spanish and the workers we have encountered speak Spanish as their first language. Bob ordered some coffee and the order got messed up. We just took what she gave us! We are hanging out in the USO and I am practicing my newly found blogging skills.

Friday, January 30, 2009

The Night before We Leave

Our bags are packed and we are ready to go......leaving on a jet plane......My first attempt at creating a blog and am trying to figure it out. It will get better.

This is a ski trip picture from my computer, so I guess now I know how to add a pic. It 's only going to get better.