kayaking lake atitlan…

tuesday.  july 7.  2015

we decided today with the jensen’s, to meet and kayak and have a picnic lunch.  when you kayak at lee’s place, you get to hang out in hammock’s and relax until you are ready to go.  it’s fantastic.  our whole group was together, and we headed out.  it was such an awesome kayaking day.  we enjoyed visiting and talking, everyone did a great job-small and large kid alike.  we headed back to lee’s, dropped off kayaks, and ate our picnic lunch.  we then caught a boat to pana, and shopped for a couple of hours, trying to help juventa find some good gifts for her family.  she then caught a shuttle to take her back to guatemala city.  her visit went by so fast…it just seemed like a day!  but it was a blast-so grateful she came.  it made our week so much more fun with her there.  the girls and i headed back to the house, always enjoying walking through the village and seeing and playing with the kids on our way up the mountain.

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lunch at hans, and playtime…

monday.  july 6.  2015

i think the thing i love a lot about being in guatemala, besides the breathtaking views, is the no-schedule life.  it’s pretty nice.  i mean, we play with the kids, monday-wed-friday at 1:00, but besides that, it’s pretty nice just deciding what our lives are going to be like, and what we want to do, instead of what we have to do.   luciano shows up sometimes in the morning, bringing fruit from the house garden…this morning was a mini cantaloupe…so yummy.

today, we decided to have lunch at hans’ place…mainly because we are tired of our limited amount of food…eggs and toast, pasta, and protein balls.  and, it was meatball monday with papas(potatoes), so we couldn’t pass that up!  so our cheap lunch at hans’ is well worth it.  we then head out to play with the village kids for the afternoon, which of course, i absolutely love.  juventa reads them the giving tree book, which they love.  we try and teach them checkers and four in a row, but it seems like a race of putting the pieces in instead of strategy.  juventa’s daughter knitted a hat to donate, and we dropped it off at grabielle’s house-we were told there was a baby there.  if you can see in the picture, in the middle of the room, is a round swinging basket for the baby.  it was pretty cool!  they were grateful for the hat, and we saw it on a larger child the next day…pretty funny.

the village kids have become amazing at using their imaginations, and being resourceful for toys and play. nobody has taken the time to do anything with the village kids…they run around rampant, climbing, destructing, cutting things with their machete’s, or really, sitting in the streets.  i’m not sure if we are the first people to give them a little structure and things to do, but it seems like it.  since we have been here, they have done really well, learning to take turns a little better, waiting for their turn, sharing toys with each other, instead of hoarding them and trying to steal them.  i’ve seen some positive changes in the kids.  it’s been a real adventure!

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pana branch…

sunday.  july 5.  2015

going to pana is always fun.  going to church is even better.  riding the boat to pana, if i haven’t mentioned it a hundred times already, is the best.  even though i don’t speak fluent spanish, it’s fun still going, and partaking of the sacrament.  juventa had helped camden write a testimony in spanish, and camden and juventa both went up and bore their testimonies.  it was awesome.  juventa translated relief society for me, it was nice knowing what was being talked about:)

we headed to the jensen’s for dinner afterward, and visited for like 5 hours.  we headed back the trek to our mountain house in our small village.  it was such a good sunday.

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being spontaneous and adventurous…

saturday.  july 4. 2015

juventa and i decided, we wanted to zipline in guatemala.  we got up early, left the boat docks at 9:00, and headed to the nature reserve.  we signed up for the 11:00 ziplining group, went to the butterfly pavilion while waiting, and then sat and hung out.  while hanging out, we noticed we had an orange wristband, and some had red.  we decided to chat with those red bandits, and found out they were ziplining the extreme course.  it was going to be another 130q,(about 16 dollars), and we decided, how often are we in guatemala ziplining?  we decided we were going to be dang adventurous, and changed our ziplining tour.  after getting suited up with all the people for the 11:00 group, we started the hike.  after about 20 minutes, the orange group had arrived at their place.  we kept hiking another 30-40 minutes…it was a pretty hard hike.  but we made it.  then we saw the course-couldn’t believe we were doing this!  it was amazing.  we hooked in, and flew over the rainforests, lake, and it was unbelievable!  by the time we hiked and did the course, we finally arrived back in pana about 3:00, and grabbed some food-we were starved!  then headed home, and chilled out for the evening.  it was such an awesome fun adventurous exciting daring courageous day!

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a day of enjoyment…

friday.  july 3.  2015

waking up after a very busy day, we had all morning to just relax.  juventa taught the girls spoons, braided their hair, and we just hung out enjoying the views and visiting.  we then headed down at 1:00 to play with the village kids.  we separated boys and girls today, which seemed to go better than before.  i had bought more toys with our donation money, and juventa brought them from the states.  so we had a lot of new things to play with today, including a couple books in spanish…the giving tree, and if you give a mouse a cookie.   the kids love to color, especially the boys.  they will color for such a long time, it’s awesome!  it was a great day with the village kids today and with juventa.  it’s nice not only having a friend here with us, but someone who can speak spanish and help us communicate a little better!

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garden beds…and juventa finally getting here…

thursday.  july 2.  2015

the jensen’s had us out to their place, and we got to see their awesome gardens!  they have started a non-profit, teaching the mayans how to garden, and build their own garden beds.  when they finish the classes and graduate, they get their own garden bed, and their own starters.  juventa was able to catch up to us after her long layover in mexico city over night, and catching an early flight to guatemala this morning.  it was great catching up, riding in the back of a truck going through the mountains of guatemala, chatting and catching up.   we helped the jensen’s put in three garden beds for three different families.  it’s pretty tough work!  hauling supplies through fields and up to houses, building the beds…the families were so excited and they knew exactly what to do and how to put everything together.  juventa is an avid gardener, so she helped a ton getting the seedlings planted and knew exactly where to put them.

we finished up after a few hours, and the jensens had us over for a delicious yummy lunch.  we then caught the shuttle with the door open for people to jump in and out-to solola, and then caught the chicken bus to pana.  we ran a few errands in pana, walked to the boat, caught the boat, and had quite a few kids at the dock welcome us, which was awesome.  they wanted to play, so we dropped off juventa’s stuff in the village casa, and headed to the lake.  we gave them sidewalk chalk to draw with, they didn’t quite understand what to do with it, but we kept showing them.  we then caught up with the swimmers and watched them play.  we finally headed up to our casa in the mountain, and finally made it about 5:30.  we enjoyed the evening hanging out on hammocks, and catching up on years past.   what an awesome, busy, fulfilling day.  so glad juventa finally made it after two days to get down here…what a trooper!

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grocery shopping and playing…

wednesday.  july 1.  2015

alex and nads still sick today.  the girls and i decided to go to pana in the afternoon, because we desperately needed food.  so the three of us shopped, got an empanada as our treat, and decided to get a tuk tuk to the boat, because we were all carrying a heavy load.  we saw tons of kids as we were heading through the village, and since we hadn’t played today with them today, we agreed.  we had 44 kids this afternoon!  it was crazy, but fun.  cam taught a dance to the kids, and then we taught them the hand slap game-which they love!  we had fun playing for a couple hours, and then finished our hike up to the house with the groceries.

we were so excited today to have my friend arrive this afternoon from california, juventa, but because of long customs lines, she missed her layover in mexico city, and had an added adventure to the beginning of her trip.  we will see her tomorrow!

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