Friday, September 19, 2008

Guatemala Trip

This summer, my husband and I went to Antigua, Guatemala for vacation/school/missions work. We took Spanish classes at Christian Spanish Academy (http://www.learncsa.com/ ) in the mornings. John made a lot of progress with vocabulary and acquired much medical vocabulary to use in his future career. I got right into the nitty gritty of verb conjugation and made it all the way through one book in 2 weeks.


We volunteered to work with children at a hospital for mentally handicapped people. I have never done that, and John was a bit hesitant but ended up falling in love with the kids. We took kids for walks, fed them, and read to them. Most were unable to even talk. Only 4 out of about 25 could even manuever their wheelchairs around. It was really sad. I almost came home with one 5-yr-old boy!
We climbed an active volcano,
Volcan Pacaya.










At the top, the lava was flowing about 10 feet from us! Here it is coming down by John. We walked over crevices that gave off hot steam, and people were lighting cigarettes and raosting marshmallows on the hot rocks!



Here is the lava flowing behind me. While we were near the top, rocks started exploding out of the crater and falling down. John got scared, but the guide said it happens all the time. :)


video


Some dried lava. We walked over a dried lava flow to get to the hot stuff, and I asked the guide when that flow erupted. "2 years ago," he replied. "My whole village saw it and started running like crazy to get away." Well, yeah. The amazing thing is people actually live ON this mountain.





Our school had afternoon trips you could sign up for. We took one to a monastary and one to a serpentarium. They had 15 of the poisonous snakes of Central America there. Here is John holding a boa...









and a tarantula.












and me with a Ball Python.









We stayed with a really nice Guatemalan family. This is their house.








This is the inside of the house. Yes, the inside. The rooms are built around a courtyard. Our room is the upstairs window you can see. We shared a bathroom with another girl staying there from the States. We had luke warm water only but a nice, big room.






Some pics of the city..



The famous Arch.











This is in Central Park. Yes, this is an X-rated fountain.








A church from colonial times. The city works really hard to restore its histry and old buildings. Antigua was the capital until a volcano destroyed the city. Everyone packed up and moved to Guatemala City where the capital is now, taking much of the history with them. Only buildings like this remain.




This is Volcan de Agua, the one that erupted and destroyed the city. It is now dormant.









This is my favorite picture. It was a small village outside Antigua, where we went to see the monestary.










This is right outside the monestary. Every village and city has a central square with a fountain.




Guatemala was great and well worth it. Click on any of the pics to enlarge.