Posted by: hat69 | October 15, 2011

All good things must come to an end

Yesterday was our last day to install stoves. And even though we only completed a total of 5 stoves, I think we still did well. Yesterday we went out to sites that we couldn’t finish the previous days because of the rains. Then we went to Nueva Esperanza(the feeding center). There we spent some time with the kids.

Because of the rains, we are leaving Panajachel around noon today. We will head out to Guatemala city and spend the night there since we will be leaving so early tomorrow morning. Thanks to all for your prayers and for following this blog. See you soon.

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Posted by: hat69 | October 13, 2011

Here comes the rains again

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Well, this morning when we ventured out, the roads still had not been cleared so Tom called an audible. There is another NGO in town called Mayan Families. So after breakfast went over to their facilities to see if we could help. When we got there they wanted to bring sweaters to the families displaced by the rains. So we sorted enough to bring over and distribute. One group got to bring those sweaters and distribute them, the rest of us stayed and sorted some of the numerous bags of clothes that they had gathered. While we we sorting, another 6 huge boxes came in. In addition to sorting, we took some of the larger size shirts and cut them into diapers. Then after lunch, went to another of their facilities and sorted toys for the rest of the day. Mi llamo is Estephania.

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Posted by: hat69 | October 12, 2011

It’s like totally raining. OMG! Updated 13 Oct

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Well, today’s a wash. The roads that we need have been closed due to the torrential rains that occurred last night and on and off today. Tom is calling around to find places where we can help but since this is a developing situation, it’s hard to tell. We are all safe a dry (for the most part). More updates as we know more.

Update – Even though the rains cleared up around 2, we did not get to build any stoves yesterday. And because of the sheer immediacy of the situation, they were unable to find something for us to do that we wouldn’t just be in the way of. The group took a walk down to the river to see what damage was done. We could see a lumber yard that was being eatin up by the river. Luckily it was slow enough that they were able to get all of their wares out and get to safety. Additionally, we saw another building that had been devoured by the rain waters last year. Near the end of the day when we were walking down by the lake, we noticed a group of people on the docks (see photo). At first, we thought they we picking up the trash but upon further inspection we saw that it was something else. What they were doing was gathering the sticks that had been washed down to the lake. As fire is the way they do all of their cooking (and heating), this is something they need alot of and it’s an easy way to gather it.

Posted by: hat69 | October 12, 2011

Slip sliding away

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I knew today was going to be a stand out day when I awoke to find out that my room did not have any electricity and it was raining. It usually only rains in the afternoon, so rain in the morning means is really going to be wet. As it turns out, it wasn’t just my room that was out of power, it was the whole town. Apparently, this is totally not unusual. It makes one thankful for the simple things, like electricity on a regular basis. After breakfast and loading up the truck, we headed out to our first stove build. It was still raining when the loaded up truck stopped near the side of the road. We were then told that this house was quite a ways back on a trail, so I ventured out to see how far back it was. This abode was about 1/4 mile back over a stream, up and down the side of a mountain on a very slippery and narrow path. After some searching, we were able to find an alternate path back to the dwelling that wasn’t quite as long and only slightly treacherous. After that stove was put in, we split into two groups. One group went back to load the truck and deliver the parts to the second location. The other group went to the help bring food to the feeding station. The feeding station (not the proper term) is where children in the area go to get a nutritious meal, probably the only one they get daily. At that location, they feed ~100 kids a day. Both groups then met up for lunch. I was in the second group. At lunch, the first group described to us how slippery the terrain was at the second location. It was so slippery that one member fell while carrying some of the stove pieces. She was fine but the bricks did not make it. They were delicate to begin with. When we got to the second location to start on the stove, the resident wanted the new stove close enough to the old one that we had to remove the old one before we began the new. Well, we took so much time at that site that the delivery team went ahead a started on the third stove themselves, which was good because we were quickly running out of daylight. Apparently, the third site was even more slippery than the first. Luckily for us there were several gentlemen from East King County (habitatekc.org) nearby on a habitat build. They were kind enough to do the majority of the heavy lifting and bring the stove pieces down to the home. We want to take this space to thank those men who could not have been more in the right place at the right time. Thank You. Despite all the bricks making to the site safely, we were able to find a way to break some more before they got installed. Ooopps! Lastly, but certainly not the least, we were able to go out to a “cultural dinner”. During the meal, our host described some of Mayan culture and we got to listen to Mayan music played by what appeared to be the owners daughters. To top that off, the meal was D-lisc-ious!

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Posted by: hat69 | October 10, 2011

Our first day at the mission

Today was a very exciting day for the group. We started the day at the Bombaderos station (fire/rescue) where we had breakfast. Next we were able to get to spend some time at the Clinic and daycare. This was a really good way to charge our batteries. The children there were all smiles and couldn’t have been more welcoming to us. The children were particularly responsive to the digital cameras that we all had. Next we started installing the stoves. The first house we went to actually had the current fire pit in a separate shed-like structure. It is very hard to describe this structure. Most of the walls were black with soot. As a matter of fact when they started installing the chimney, it was as if it was raining soot from the ceiling. After approximately 90 minutes our first (assisted build) stove was installed. We then had lunch and moved on to our second stove. While our first stove had heavy assistance from Dave (of Mission Guatemala). The second stove was primarily built by Sussie and myself (Bill). The best part of the day for me came during the building of the second stove. As we were placing the bricks, I looked over to see Steph, Amanda, Rebecca, and Penny playing with about 12 kids singing a doing the hokey pokey. Looking around there were about another 15 adults watching and smiling. After some resupplying, the day was about over and we returned to Panajachel and had dinner at the Bombaderos. The night ended with a heated game of pass the pig. I don’t know how tomorrow can top today but I can’t wait to find out.

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Posted by: hat69 | October 9, 2011

Chichicastenega Day

Today we spent some time walking around the hotel while it wasn’t raining. It seems like the mornings are clear and then around 3, the rains start to roll in. After breakfast we all got in the van and traveled to the large market at Chichicastenega, which was about a 75 minute drive. The drives have been quite interesting. First, the roads are not the best quality and second, when it rains, often times it will cause mud slides that cover half or more of the road. On our way to Chichi, we saw people replacing some of the road that had been washed away…down the side of the mountain. Nevertheless our driver is excellent and got us to our destination safely. Even though it wasn’t a “busy day” today in Chichi there were quite a number of people there and they all seemed to want to sell something to Steph. No matter how many time she said no. There are many many beautiful hand crafted objects in the markets. The vendors seem to comprise of whole families. The younger kids following you around trying to sell the smaller items, bracelets and bookmarks, while the mothers and fathers are selling the table cloths, runners, and shirts. After 3 hours in the market, it was quite clear that the negotiating skills of this group we not up to Chichi standards and some of us ended up paying more than what was asked (not intentionally). In the evening we were able to have dinner with the staff from MG. We spent the time telling them about our day and talking about the real work ahead of us tomorrow. This morning another group from Indy left to go home and they were able to install 11 stoves during their stay. With the hurdle set, our goal is 15.

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Posted by: hat69 | October 9, 2011

Arrival in Guatemala

We arrived in Guatemala this morning with no delays. When we arrived it was about 70 and sunny. Since we arrived so early, Tom brought us right to Panajachel. We are staying a quaint inn, Cacique (ca-si-kay) Inn. The drive here took as long as our flight from Houston to Guatemala. During our drive we got to see many things along the road. Apparently they just had an election here but since the winner didn’t garner over 50% of the vote, the two highest vote getters are in a run-off. There were political signs along the road the whole way here. Additionally, there were a number of demonstrations by what appeared to be young adults rallying for their party. One thing I noted was that many of the same concerns in the political ads here are the same as they a in the US. There was a consistent theme of hope, change, education, and jobs. Since it’s still the rainy season, it’s raining here now, so no exploring the town tonight. We are looking forward to tomorrow at Chichicastenega, the open air market.

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Posted by: mattlipan | April 3, 2011

Our day of travel

A post from Deanne:

After a long day of traveling that began at 5:00 a.m. Guatemala time (7:00 a.m. in Indy), we arrived home safely and on time last night around 7:00 p.m. Just in time to learn that Butler was leading VCU and some may even gotten home to catch the end of the game. It was good to be able to drink tap water again, turn on the TV, and sleep in our own beds. I will never forget my experiences with the people of Guatemala and my fellow teammates.

We had a scare in Dallas. We landed and taxied to our gate when a passenger had a diabetic episode. While I am sometimes frustrated with how self-centered we all can be at times, myself included, my faith was restored as I watched the reaction of the passengers. An announcement was made requesting that any doctors on board come to the rear of the plane. Two men immediately arose and all passengers stepped back into their seat rows to let them pass. As I looked at our team members, we had bowed heads praying for the passenger, his family, doctors, and plane crew. When a crew member needed to bring the defibrillator to the back of the plane, again passengers immediately stepped back into their seat rows. The exit from the plane was quiet and quick with passengers helping each other with luggage. We all knew that medical staff were coming and we wanted them to be able to board quickly. I will never know the outcome for the ill passenger but I do know that all on board that plane did their best to aid him by their actions.

I want to thank all of you who read this blog, prayed for us, contributed to our costs, and helped us be the feet and hands of Christ. You have made a difference in this world.

Posted by: mattlipan | April 2, 2011

Beginning of the End

Up early for our last meal in Guatemala.

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No doubt we are all going to miss the people and culture of this place…obviously some of us will also miss the sun.

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Posted by: mattlipan | April 1, 2011

Guatefriends Hostel

We’re back in Guatemala City and settled into our hotel. We just heard dinner isn’t for another 2.5hrs so we’re going to find some food to hold us over.

Here is a picture from the roof of our hostel.

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