Tuesday, May 22, 2012


I am currently in Guatemala, volunteering with Wells of Hope, a charitable organization that brings clean drinking water to the poor mountain people of Jalapa, Guatemala. They also build schools, homes, and bring necessary supplies, medical and dental aid to these people.

We have been here for 6 days now and the experience is nothing less than phenomenal!!! I cannot express what I have seen here. You must see it for yourself to understand.

Today's events:
6:15 am: Some friends I met last year (Paula and her children) came to visit us. We made a small garden for her last year. I gave her some gifts from Canada. This is my "special family." We had coffee together, and also gave her some clothes. Three of the children desperately needed new shoes. We found one pair here and I bought two pairs at the market this afternoon. I asked them if they are cold at night (I am, a little). She said "Yes," so I gave them both of the sleeping bags we brought up from Canada. There are others we can use while we're here. Paula's house is very poorly made.

7:15 am: We walked down to the mill to grind corn, as all the local women do, daily. We came home and make tortilllas later.

8:30 am: Delivered three loads of adobe bricks to a family whose house is being built, compliments of Wells of Hope. This family has a newborn baby, 3 weeks old, and two other young children. They are currently living in a tarp house (no exaggeration). I call it a "house that isn't a house." Carrying the bricks is gruelling work but when you pass their house and see the mother and children, you don' t mind at all! An adobe house costs only about $2500 to build and can be done in about three weeks.

11:30 am: Delivered toys and supplies to another family. Their newborn baby was sleeping in a homemade hammock made out of a grain bag! Peacefully sleeping. There were ducklings and baby chicks waddling all around us.
The bricks are heavy and the work is hard, but we have fun while we're at it.
Wall construction under way.
Cost of house: $2500... Takes 3 weeks to build. Floors: usually dirt; and the roof: metal sheets.

In addition...

12:30: A meal of honour for Wells of Hope!!! This community received a well and they all worked together to finish the pipeline so that the women no longer had to walk downhill and back up a great distance, to bring water to their homes. It was a great community effort and they were SO THANKFUL to Ted and the Wells of Hope teams to do this for them. Alyssa, Mike and I did not help in this effort, but we were fortunate to be here when the community wanted to "officially thank the team" with a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony and an Appreciation meal. We all felt so honoured and humbled! We had a great time with the kids too. Once you break through their shyness, they won't leave you alone! We loved it!

2:30 pm: Off to a brief meeting and then dropped off our homemade tortillas for a family. On our way home, Ted drove us up, up, up another mountain, through last year's cornfield to show us a house that they found yesterday, because a request was made for a new home. This home is made out of cornstalks, with tarps for a roof! Inside was one bed that looks like a primitive bed that was used in pioneer times. This house is totally inadequate and will not protect the family when the rainy season comes. I did not feel sad when I saw it because I know that within about three weeks this family will have a brand new house!

3:30 pm: Jalapa market. We bought some machetes.... Yes! machetes! and some other items. Lots of fun and very interesting.

That is it for the day, pretty much. A very full day and now we are all tired. We are all very thankful for what we have. We are among the rich of this world. I can also say that spending this time with the Vander Zalm family and sharing in their work really brings out the best in us.

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