Monday, April 06, 2009

Guatemala Mission Trip - Part 1

Hello everyone. I got back from Guatemala yesterday morning. I am beyond exhausted, but I am sure a few days of some extra rest will catch me up. My tummy is back to normal today after not being so great for the entire trip(next time I will make sure to visit my dr. before going to get some good stuff).

The trip was amazing, fantastic, uplifting, heartbreaking, heartwarming, hopeful, sad, eye-opening, wonderful, emotional.... Well, you get the picture. I could go on and on with all of the emotions that I experienced and I'm not really sure it's possible to put it into words.

I made friends for life in the awesome group of people that went: Julia & Bryan, Andrea, Kim and Stephanie .

I am going to break the trip up and blog it day-by-day. I'm not sure how many posts I'll do... we'll see.

My camera went on the fritz not long into the trip(I didn't bring my good camera), so sadly I missed many, many pictures. I will get some from the others and post later.

DAY 1 - Saturday March 28

I had flown into Atlanta on Friday night and on Saturday, the entire team met in Atlanta and we flew together to Guatemala. We had been worried about Julia, Bryan and Kim getting to Atlanta that morning, but God was already at work and got them there. We had an uneventful flight after about an hour delay at the gate. Unfortunately, Kim's bags didn't arrive and it would be Friday before they were finally retrieved(after many phone calls and visits to the airport by various people).

After we arrived and got a van rented, we went to get something to eat(somebody tell me why I didn't eat breakfast?????). We then shopped for snacks, water, supplies etc. for the team for the week as well as some food donations. It was truly amazing to see how far our money goes there.

That evening, I was able to share an incredible experience with Andrea. We went to have dinner with her son's foster family at the foster sister's and her husband's house. We then went and saw his foster mother's house where he spent his time until he came home. It was incredible and the love they still have for him is obvious.

They prepared an awesome meal for us of tamales, eggs, plantains, beans, cheese and tortillas.

DAY 2 - Sunday March 30

Today was Project Valentina, named because this is the hogar in Guatemala City where Cameo's daughter Valentina was until she came home.

The kids here were so excited to see Bryan, who was here this past December. They flew out of the house and ran to give him big hugs. All of the children were so happy to have some attention and love. It was a day filled with hugs and kisses.

We took the children to the zoo and had an awesome day!!! I hadn't been to the zoo in Guatemala City before and it is incredible. We had 15 children from 2 to 11 years old. We each took responsibility for 3 kids and it was so neat to see how they held our hands and stayed right with their "chaperone". It was fun to experience it through their eyes and see how excited they were too see all of the animals.

After getting back from the zoo, we took a picture of each child with us and printed it out. The kids then got to decorate a picture frame with their picture and hang it by their bed. We hope they will know they are loved when they see the pictures.

We also made sure each child got a new pair of shoes from the donations we had. Bryan went to PayLess to get the three pairs we couldn't match up a size for.

We then enjoyed the afternoon coloring, blowing bubbles, jumping rope and having an Easter egg hunt.

Some of the babies (we weren't able to take them to the zoo).

We hung up all of the hearts that were from Valentine's donations made to Global Orphan Team for Project Valentina. This will remind them that they are very loved by many.

There were many tears as we said goodbye (for now). By the end of the day even the shiest of the kids had warmed up to us.

We then drove about an hour to Chimaltenango. At the hotel we met Maureen who runs Los Gozosos, a special needs home. She had three of the children with her and we got a glimpse of the love we would feel later in the week. After taking the kids home, Maureen took us to dinner and we had a great meal at a typical restaurant.


Jane said...

Amazing. I can't stop looking at the photos. But I don't know how you found the words. Can't wait to read the next installment!

Muriel and Jerry said...

Awesome photos. So proud of you guys.

Sarah said...

Amazing post!! I know this trip was beyond awesome for all of you!! Can't wait for day 2!!!

You have all been in my prayers!

Leslie said...

WOW WOW wOW i have tears ...Yep leslie is speechless!!!

These pics are just amazing!


Andrea said...

Gosh, I've been looking at my pictures all day, but it's so amazing to see new ones from your camera. I am SO bummed that it fried out. You can have all of my pictures! What a great recap! I still can't put it into words yet. I am also looking forward to day 2!!

Miss you!!

Kim said...

Since I barely took any pictures, I'm loving looking at these!! I will try to get my videos downloaded this week. Miss you!!!!

Amy S. said...

Amazing...thats all I can say! I can't wait to hear that many of us are waiting. Take your time..and be in the mood to blog. We want to hear everything!
Extra hugs to you...Im glad you are feeling better..I know it must not be to nice to not be feeling well so far from home and an agenda to get done!

Love and Hugs...

Madelyn's Mommy said...

I love the pictures. Tears rolling down my face. Their eyes just tell a HUGE story.

Can't wait to read the rest.


Type (little) a said...

Remind me not to read the next installment at work. Tears are running down my face. Those sweet kids. I'm speechless.

Anonymous said...

Alleen... Wow...Just incredible. Your words and pictures speak volumes. My heart is full and tears are flowing. I too can't wait to see more!!
(Ty and Mia's Mommy)

margaret said...

This sounds great! I can't wait to hear about the rest of your trip. Thanks for posting.