Mission to Guatemala, Day 1-2
We arrived early at the airport at 4:15am excited and ready for our trip to Guatemala! We got to our terminal and bonded while waiting for our flight. There was a delay in Nashville due to lightning in the area so we continued to chat and get to know each other while waiting. Our connecting flight was in Houston, TX and we had a quick bathroom break before boarding our flight to Guatemala. Once we arrived, we made our way through customs, picked up our team bags, and waited in line for our random immigration screening. Our vans were waiting for us, we piled suitcases into one van and we piled into the other two vans. We took in the sites of Guatemala City and the surrounding areas on our 1.5 hour ride to Antigua. About 15 minutes out of Antigua, we stopped at a grocery store where we split into teams of 4-5 people to pick up groceries and goodies for the week. This was an interesting experience because everything was in Spanish and cultural customs surrounding foods were very different. For example, eggs are not refrigerated and are kept on the shelves. We hopped back into our very full vans and heading to our lodging in Antigua.
Once we arrived at our house, we excitedly ran in and explored our beautiful homes for the next week! There are amazing homes with stunning views from the rooftop terraces. We are surrounded by volcanoes and mountains with 360 degree views. The architecture is exquisite throughout our gated community. It looks like every home is different and unique in its own way. We walked straight to dinner on the cobblestone streets of Antigua. We ate at Monoloco and ate nachos as big as our head! With full bellies and newly made friends, we headed off to bed!
Sawyer & Mallory
We woke up on our own time and sat on our various porches located throughout the houses to sip on coffee. Some enjoyed the views of Agua, Fuego, Atitlán, and Acatenango volcanoes from the rooftop. At 10am, we met as a team for a devotion and information session. Pablo shared a heartfelt story about the recent volcano explosion in 2018 and told us about the people we will be serving this week. He discussed his personal story on how he wanted to serve others and how he began his relationship with Belmont University. A teammate shared a personal story with his intentions for the day and week. We prayed as a group and another student led us in worship. We made a plan to pick up items from the pharmacy and other students headed to sightsee and shop Antigua. The pharmacy students needed supplies that the storefront didn’t have and the pharmacy actually sent someone over from another location with the needed supplies. This goes to show how much they value hard work and hospitality! A group that visited the Templo y Convento de Capuchinas learned that at one time Central America was one country and Antigua was the capital. They enjoyed the vastness of the convent, even though it is considered ruins. Other groups explored the square and marketplace to do some souvenir shopping and exploring. Many groups ran into a procession for the Stations of the Cross. This is put on by a local church every Sunday leading up to Easter. They had a full band, costumes, purple robes and hoods, burned frankincense, and 30+ men carrying a large, heavy float that depicted Jesus carrying the cross.
We ate lunch on our own and made it back to the house to take a team picture before dinner. When walking to dinner, we met a random man that recognized our Belmont t-shirts and asked about Julia the golfer from Belmont – shout out to Julia, if you’re out there! We ate at San Martin and had pastas, pizzas, and sandwiches for dinner. One of our interpreters for the week, Betty, met us at dinner and we all bonded over our experiences from the day. After dinner, we walked back and discussed our plans for tomorrow. The OT/PT/MT team will be heading to Keramion tomorrow to see the school, assess the children, and educate the staff. The nursing and pharmacy team will be heading to a brand new coffee plantation to screen and educate the plantation workers. We all unpacked and organized our supplies needed for tomorrow and prepped for our busy day tomorrow. We finally crawled into bed with our hearts and minds ready to help and learn from the people we will meet tomorrow.
Sawyer & Mallory
What a wonderful experience! Thank you for sharing. Can’t wait to hear more about your Guatemalan Adventure!!