It's finally Friday!! Yay! I am extremely excited about it being the weekend. Considering there was a full-house all week I didn't think this week would go by too quickly, but it defnitely did. I just woke up from an awesome nap! I haven't had time for a nap since I've been here. We have been non-stop since Monday and I am in need of a free weekend! with my favorite kind of schedule: Go with the flow. We have decided to stay around Guatemala City for the weekend, take it easy and check out what this giant City has to offer.
The Downs before the Ups: Thursday at work was one of the hard days again. We have a new 15 year old boy named Christian and he is burned very badly. Normally we only take up to 14 year olds but since he is so bad they have decided not to send him in as an adult. The "adults" that are burned do not have a special unit for burns, like the children do, so the attention and care they get isn't the same as the children in my unit. Thankfully they have allowed him to be with us, but this is a brand new challenge due to his age. He is different than the rest of the children (who are mostly 5 and under) because he understands how these burns are going to affect his life now and in the future. Thursday was especially difficult due to the fact that the nurses showed him for the first time how bad his burns were on his lower body and legs. He loves to play soccer and has realized how long it will be until he gets to play again. He was extremely upset all morning and was crying, screaming, yelling and it was really hard for me to witness. He is much older (and sounds that way) so all the noise he was making was startling the other children and causing them to become upset. It made for a very out-of-control morning and it was probably the' longest "day I have had so far. I am so sad for Christian but I hope he can open up to me over the next 3 weeks and I can try and help him to stay positive.... even in such terrible times of his life.
Isaias is out of isolation (Christian is now in it) and he has been very, very cranky ever since. His mother is in and out of Court for the purposeful burning of her child and is gone for long periods of time. Usually he cries (and his cry is an intense, repetitive scream) for about 30 minutes once she leaves, but recently since she has told him she won't be back for a full week he has been crying all day long. He only stops when he gets too tired and falls asleep. Between him and Christian... it's really difficult for the other children to remain calm and have a normal day. So to say the least it's been difficult... but I'm hanging in there and I am really thankful to have Lili here to talk me through it all once I get home!
One great thing that came out of Thursday was that I finally got a picture of Gembli. She is so adorable and is one of the children that has been around since I started work. She doesn't say much but I know she likes cats and I color for her a lot. Her mom is there 24/7 so I've gotten to know her pretty well and she is great. I can't always understand her that well but I'm pretty sure she has a good sense of humor... if I'm understanding correctly. Either way we laugh a lot together so it works. Gembli has gotten better just throughout the time that I've been around and she has been crying a lot less. Her burns are on her bottom, front and upper legs. She sat down in a pot of boiling water while her mother was cooking.
|Gembli Vivian with the picture I drew her.|
The Guatemalan San Antonio: Thursday after lunch I was exhausted and just not in the best of mood due to the heatbreaking day at work. I almost skipped out on our planned field trip for the afternoon, but I am so glad I didn't! Virginia had such an awesome afternoon planned for us... and the best thing about her is that she likes to not tell us much about the trip so everything really ends up being a great surprise. We went through Antigua and stopped at this amazing lookout over the city (El Mirrador - the lookout). It was probably one of the most breathtaking things I've ever seen!! The Volcanoe in the background just tops it off.
|El Mirrador looking out over Antigua.|
After we finished up at the look-out we headed to another location in Antigua that was a beautiful ex- Monestary and Cathedral that was destoryed in some Earthquakes. We were able to just run around all over the place and hang out and take lots of pictures.
|Just the usual PDA everywhere|
After we were told how this one area was so dangerous (it was blocked off and locked) somehow Virgina got us the hook-up because she use to work there and we went inside. It was so amazing in there!! The reason it is dangerous is because the ground is very unstable so we couldn't just walk around anywhere in there. I got a video :)
|Peligro - Danger|
So after all this excitement I realized that we hadn't even made it to our final destination for the day! A little Mayan village called San Antonio. They are famous for their traditions and their art of making hand-made crafts. We had a cute Mayan woman put on a presentation for us showing us how their culture dresses (even though in modern day the men must change their clothing if they want a job or do not want to experience racism against them), how they/how long it takes them to make the crafts, and then put together an entire play-out of their wedding tradition. She took people from our group and made them the Bride (Jill), Groom (Clark), Father-in-law (Dan the Dad) and Mother-in-Law (Kathy from Quaite). It was so hilarious but also at the same time extremely interesting to see how much of a process the wedding is. The women spend a year preparing for it..... working every single day just to prepare for the wedding. I'm officially steering clear of Guatemalan men so that I have nothing to do with that craziness. ALSO! As soon as they are done with the 12 hour wedding the mother-in-law takes them straight to the kitchen to see if they can cook toritallas properly and make coffee, haha. GUATEVER! But even after all that I really gained a respect for the hard work this community does to keep up their rich traditions and way of life. But... I think I'll stick to my traditions and just be extra thankful :) lol.
Okay so super depressing...... this is the point where my camera decided to die. I got picture crazy at the first two places because I had no clue we were coming to do all this amazing stuff. After we got done with the overview of their culture they took us to a replica in the back of what a typical kitchen looks like in the San Antonio village. There was a beautiful older Mayan women that taught us how to make tortiallas and we each got to eat the toritilla that we made. Lili has a video of me making my tortialla! Dad, I got you some. :) Also they gave us their coffee that they make and it was the best coffee I have ever tasted! We had some typical wedding bread with the coffee and it was delicious. Once we finished our little snack they then taught us how they grind their own coffee and we got to try that as well. Everything we did is MUCH harder than it looks.
*Photo Credit: Lili Matos
Once we got back into Guatemala City we all went out to eat in Zone 10 together as a group! It was a lot of fun to go eat somewhere nice and the food was ridicoulsy good. We had drinks and all got to talk... It was good to get to know more about everyone and a feel for their personalities outside of the craziness of the house. I was completely exhausted once I got home last night so I showered and went to sleep!
Time for some fun!: Tonight we are meeting up with a bunch of people we have met (either through Natalie's family or our time here) to go try out the night life in the nice areas of Guatemala City. I am really excited to go dancing or honestly just to get out and have some fun... the partying kind of fun! We are getting dinner and drinks around 7ish and then heading out from there. I can't wait to see how this night ends up and also can't wait to share it all with you!
✔ Friday Night Update: We ended up not being able to meet up with anyone that we were trying to meet up with. I felt like I flashed back to my parents life at my age when they actually had to live without a Cell Phone. Let me tell you .. it's frustrating! Anyways it ended up being just Lili, Clark and I. Since Natalie left us this morning (Sad Day) I guess we are going to have to get use to this little group of ours. That's okay it's a good one! Anyways we went the usual area of bars we have been going to because we are able to walk there. We found a really awesome live band playing GREAT music (the beatles, nirvana, radiohead, etc). It was badass and really nice to hear some familiar music. We ended the night with the usual stop off at Tacos and Tequilas on the way home and it was a good time!! :)
|Showing the Guatemalan women how to dance... Ha!|
|Tacos and Tequilas from the upstairs view.|