Thursday, March 29, 2012

It's official, I would not make a good Mayan woman.

Alright here we go again:
WORK: Wednesday at work was different than usual Wednesdays because Brena had a district meeting and wasn't there. So that was two days in a row that I was basically unable to communicate with anyone in the unit. It's getting better though... only because everyone is finally realizing that I absolutely don't know any Spanish. To give myself a little credit.... the kids usually understand my awful attempts at their language, so yay.

Isaias was in an extremely bad mood on Wednesday. I think I jinxed myself because I had just gone on and on last blog post about how awesome things have been going and I hope it continues. Nope, it was back to the same 'ol stuff. I actually watched him bite one of the mothers that was trying to help his Aunt clip his finger nails. Yes... he bit her! So that makes me a little nervous. I don't know how often he feels the need to bite someone and I don't want to find out.

Christofer was great with me again. He likes to show me his phone that is playing music and I'll do a really ridiculous dance for him and he laughs at me. Also like I said last time he is obsessed with my camera so he has been playing with it A LOT. He dropped it today and I was scared to look if the screen was cracked (those of you that know me well... that's totally my luck) but thankfully it was fine. So I've been trying to stay nearby when he's using it. I think he really gets a kick out of seeing if he made the face he wants to and he made me delete one that he wasn't smiling in. Pretty funny!
Carlos is still doing great!! His new favorite thing is to make videos on my camera and then watch them. This makes for some pretty embarrassing videos of me, but hey it's worth it! He cracks up laughing no matter what the video is. My camera is really coming in handy when other entertainment isn't pulling through. Go technology! But we also have fun old school style too. We made a "telescope" out of a toilet paper roll and some clay. Pretty impressive stuff, I know. OH YEAH!!! and recently he has also started giving me kisses on the cheek and wanting to hold my hand. I guess we are getting pretty serious. No but really, I am so thankful he has opened up so much because it's helping me get through Jose leaving me! And obviously I love to see him smile... and oh my gosh his big brown eyes are wonderful!
There is a new boy in the unit named Brayan that doesn't like me for some reason. I think it's going to be an interesting last few days of work trying to figure him out. He tricks me and acts like he wants to play with me and once I bring him a toy he chunks it at my face. I can't get angry, but it does bother me that his mother just watches him act that way and doesn't say anything. I know these kids are going through such a difficult times though so I think I'll just keep trying and see if he ever gives into me! Balloons didn't even work on him though.... who doesn't like balloons??

ANTIGUA FOR THE AFTERNOON: After work on Wednesday we went to Antigua (I love Antigua!!!) to visit a Coffee Plantation and a Mayan Music Museum. We got to see how all the different coffee's were made and the difference between each of the coffee's. Honestly it was really interesting and the tour guide had a funny sense of humor. It was a good time... and of course like everything else here... it was beautiful!
The different stages of the Coffee Plant

Pure cocoa
Coffee Flower - only lasts 3 days
We got try some of the coffee once we were done if we wanted but they would not let us put any creamer or sugar in it! They owner of the plantation had a saying...

"Coffee should be black as night, strong as passion, sweet as love and hot as hell".
The coffee was pretty good too :)

After that we walked right over to the Mayan Music museum which was really interesting. They had all of the different instruments that the Mayan people have used over the years and one of the woman was able to show us how to play almost all of them! Here is a video of her playing one of the oldest instruments, concha shells.
We also got to watch a extremely well made video of examples of each instrument being used in celebrations, precession's, etc from all over the world.

Our next stop in Antigua was to one of the local churches that is already preparing for Holy Week next week. Most people are already starting their vacations tomorrow. They have one of the Vigil's set up and a carpet below it made of painted saw dust, fruits, foods, etc. All natural. It was one of the most impressive things I have ever seen... And we will get to see them being made when we head to Antigua next week... yesss!
The pictures aren't as great as I would have wished but the lighting was very dim and because the church was extremely crowded with tons of people coming to view the Vigil. I can't wait to see more!!
Once we left the church we were able to catch one of the greatest sunsets I've ever seen right over the hills and by the Volcano in the streets of Antigua. Wow.
Awesome, right? Virginia took us out to eat after the day was winding down in Antigua because it was already so late.... and guess what? She took us to an Italian restaurant!! The food was amazing... they were playing 90's pop music... and we all got to spend some quality time together. Virginia gave us a little reality check that our trip was winding down and how much of an affect it's actually going to have on us. It was pretty sad to think that we only have a short time left here... but some of the best parts of the trip are still to come!

The new roommates, Joe and Debbie.
The Man - Don Fransico!
 So... yet again another GREAT adventure to Antigua. I cannot stress how cool that little town is. Excited to spend Holy Week there!!!!! Can you tell?
Oh my gosh and I almost forgot... check out the toilets at the nicer restaurants here in Guatemala. I've seen two of them now. Genius for those that have trouble balancing while trying to hover a sketchy toilet seat (like me).
Turn the handle before you use the toilet and a brand new, clean plastic wrap appears. Oh yeah. Haha! Sorry. I had to share.

WHOOPS: Work today was veryyyy interesting. It started out shaky because as soon as I walked in I stumbled upon Christian (the 15 year old boy that is majorly burned) without his legs wrapped and I was not prepared to see what I saw. He barely has any skin right now and not only did that take me back but he was embarrassed that I saw it and he became very upset. I was really shaken up by that and it took me a while to calm down. I feel really bad for him and wish there was something I could do to help. Please remember that the unit must be kept very warm due to the burn wounds and the windows aren't being opened recently... I think it may be because some of the children are sick? So it's hot and there is like zero air-flow! After that I had about an hour to calm down (even over the usual Thursday scream fest) and about that time the new little boy Brayan was having to take blood. The med student missed his vain and he freaked out and the blood went flying EVERYWHERE! This is where I think I hit my limit... it all finally caught up to me! I immediately felt myself getting light-headed and falling back into my chair. Yep, I fainted. The mothers were trying to get me water... from the sink (not happening)... and the nurses were basically trying to ignore me because they are lazy!! I really don't like them sometimes haha. But without going into huge details about the next hour... I ended up having to leave work early because I was still feeling extremely nauseous and shaky. I have given ya'll so much good about work, but the reality of my job here is that a lot of the time it is a very difficult place to be and I see a lot of things I never really thought I would have to see. It has opened my eyes more than I ever imagined.... but has also reminded me that I will never be able to actually work in a hospital :). So anyways, I came home... the cook made me some soup and I took a shower and a nap and felt perfectly fine after all of that. I think I was just overwhelmed from everything going on around me.

Lovin' the Mayan Culture: This afternoon we got to go to the Mayan Popol Vuh museum up at one of the private Universities! I have been wanting to go see one of the Universities here so bad. Unfortunately the museum wasn't really in the heart of the University so I didn't get to see it at all. The guide we had had been at the museum for about 15 years and literally knew everything about the collection. This was truly one of the coolest things I have ever seen. The ancient Mayan culture blows my mind! The museum was set up in chronological order so we saw the artifacts from the oldest documented to the newest. Sorry though.... we couldn't take pics! After the tour we were able to make our own pottery the way the Mayans did. Let me just say.... from everything we've done on this trip... I make a crappy Mayan woman.
Finished project... Haha I tried.
So I'm really glad that we got the chance to visit that museum. I really enjoyed it. It's nice that CCS plans and pays for these types of things for us. I love this program!

Mucho Traffico: On the way home we hit a ton of traffic.... it's been like that recently. I think it has a lot to do with the protesters that are in town and also the random precession's that have been happening. But honestly, I never know. But thankfully we documented a little bit of it so you can see kind of what we go through here in Guatemala City.
Whelp: Tomorrow I am the only person that has to go to work. Everyone else's placements already have off for the Holiday but because the hospital doesn't exactly take off... I'll be at work in the morning. I think everyone may be going to check out a Jazz band tonight in Zone 10 but I'm not the biggest Jazz fan and I'm exhausted.... and DON'T want to be tired or feeling bad at work tomorrow so I'm staying in. Blah. But at least I'm trying to responsible?
Well that was a ridiculously long update, sorry about that. I got a little carried away but I guess a lot has happened. I'm excited that tomorrow is Friday and I think Lili and I may be trying to head the to black beaches for the weekend. I guess Lili is going to figure that out during her morning off tomorrow. If you made it this far in the blog... you are officially dubbed a loyal reader.

And last but not least here is a video of the wonderful Carlos...

BTW this is what I do when I'm not doing anything else here: You're welcome.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


I don't feel like I have too much to update on but we will see how this turns out!

Last night I discovered Draw Something on the iPhone and had way to much fun playing that not only with Lili but with people from back home too. Ashley really sucks at it but it's great entertainment. Other than that... I just slept. This weekend definitely took a toll on me.

This morning it was really hard to get out of bed! Lili and I have been sleeping until about 7:40 before getting out of bed... but still managing to be ready to go to work before everyone else. Impressive? Yes. So between the fact that I skipped out on coffee this morning and I was struggling to stay awake on the drive to work - I figured I was in for a long day.

There are a couple of new children in the unit (I think I have mentioned that) but today was one of the first days I really got to spend any time with them. Tuesdays are always very uneventful so it was very quiet around and I noticed that most of the mothers weren't around this morning. Normally this would be bad news because most of them are upset, but today everyone was staying pretty calm. It gave me a chance to really get to bond with them without their mothers around. The only reason I like this is because I feel like I can be more of myself, especially if I don't know the parents well yet.

One of the new little girls name is Ingrid. She was crying a lot this morning but once she realized that I was there to play with her she immediately turned her mood around. She wasn't liking the idea of sharing me with everyone today so that was really funny, but once her mother got back she decided I could go play with other people. She has a really great smile/laugh and she talks a lot more than most of the children I have been with. I think it will be fun to have her around for a bit! But since Brena wasn't there today I still don't know much about her burns or how long she will be around.
She liked the camera :)
Carlos is still as cute as ever and it was great to get to play with him for about an hour this morning while his mother was showering and taking a break. It's so awesome that he feels comfortable hanging out with me while she leaves instead of getting upset. He is now wearing a mask on his face to help with the healing but he is still as cute as ever, AND like I've been saying he has become so much more talkative and social recently. It's great!
He wanted to show off all of his toys.
On a less positive note: The little baby that has been hanging on still isn't doing well. I have come to realize the more I have been around the unit that a huge part of the problem is her family. Brena told me that when the baby was originally burned they waited 8 days to even take her to a hospital (a neighbor finally told services there was a baby in need of medical attention). The mom has been disappearing a lot for long periods at a time, which is not okay because this baby needs tons of attention and care. It is technically not the nurses job to watch the child that closely. So it's been sad and I've been trying to keep an eye on her a lot while I'm around, especially since the mother disappeared once again this morning.
When I talk to her she squeezes my finger :)
Isaias and I had a ton of fun today. I am loving how happy he is lately!! He has been getting out of bed so often and even walking around places on his own. It is a truly amazing turn around and I hope it continues on this path. I got a really cute video of me tickling him. So check it out!  

Christofer is still adorable, but he is definitely a momma's boy. He is very spoiled and can act like a brat a lot of the time but when he's happy... he's too cute and it's hard to hold that against him. His mom is great though and I'm sure I'd be spoiling my child the same way if they were going through so much pain, so whatever! He really loves taking pictures and then getting to look at how they turned out. He also likes taking pictures... he took this picture of his mom!
Christofer's Mother
Love this smile.
I bought some string on Monday because I have been trying to think of more things to keep the parents busy/ not so bored. I figured I could try and teach them how to make some bracelets or whatever they come up with. They are all so creative... it's crazy! Carlos' mother made a cell phone case out of the materials I brought last time. It was impressive.

Tomorrow they will probably all show me everything they made. I only got to see the beginning of the projects this morning. I left them one of my bracelets so they could try and figure out how it was made and I bet you they will!

So today was one of the better Tuesdays, which is always nice :). I was still exhausted after work though and after lunch I took about a 2 hour nap and it rocked. Then we had Spanish lessons and those went fine too. Still don't know much Spanish, though. After that was over usually we would get ready for dinner but Lili and I decided that we were craving Italian food and decided to head to Zone 10 to try and find some place we found online. It was called Jake's and it claimed it was the best Italian food in Guatemala City. Buttttt of course as soon as we make it to where it says it's located we can't find it anywhere! Go figure. So we end up walking around and find a Mexican Food restaurant and ended up JUST as happy ordering queso, flour tortillas, chips and salsa and enchiladas (Lili) and fajitas (me). Yum!

Tomorrow after work we are heading to a Coffee Plantation in Antigua! Woohoo! And I think she mentioned that there was a Mayan Music Museum attached.... maybe? Either way I'm really excited and I will take tons of pictures!

Here's one last picture of Carlos from today with his mask off. He got a hair cut recently and I think he looks very handsome!! These are his favorite fruit that his mother brings him, but I always forget what they are called. I'll find out.
Isn't he cute?