It’s been a busy week here in Guatemala, but I’ll start by saying this: İHola a todos! As you all (hopefully) know, after many long hours of travelling, we arrived at Camp Adulam in the late afternoon of January 8th. While we were there we prepared for the coming months, enjoyed the hot Guatemalan sun (some more than others…), and also got to experience life outside the camp walls of couple of times.
On the 10th we toured a small finca (coffee plantation) just outside of Antigua. Although it was on a much smaller scale than most Guatemalan fincas, it was great to see the good side of coffee growing with an ethical, family-run business.
The next day we were in for two completely new experiences for many in our group. In the morning we went down to the small pueblo (town) that Camp Adulam overlooks to play soccer, have a piñata and light fireworks with the kids in the town. Initially, we all felt a little out of place as a huge group of gringos walking around, but once the game started and we all had kids dragging us by the hands to play games with them, a good time was had by all. For me, my camera was the object of interest for many kids, and although many of the photos they took could stand to be a tad less crooked and blurry, all I really need are the memories of them trying to teach us games in Spanish and getting excited about the piñata to put a smile on my face anyways.
Earlier that morning, some of us had been rudely awakened by the rumblings of a small earthquake and late that night we all got to see the awe-inspiring result of this little tremor. Apparently we were not the only ones shaken awake, the Volcan Pacaya had erupted as well! We hiked up the neighbouring peak in the ashy, dusty dark that night, saw the lava tumbling down the volcano. From where we stood, from a safe vantage point, we could even feel the heat from the glowing lava. To all you moms out there: don’t worry, we weren’t anywhere near the line of fire.
On the 12th, we arrived at what many of us had been anxiously looking forward to all year – our homestays! After frantically trying to drill at least a couple useful Spanish phrases into our heads on the drive there, we unloaded our bags in San Juan del Obispo, were introduced to our families with handshakes and hugs, and then headed off into the great unknown.
We’ve all had very different experiences so I can’t speak for all of us, but I do know that there’s one thing that we’ve all experienced that’s new to all of us: the everyday noises of San Juan. Whether it’s the roosters calling and volcanoes erupting in the mornings, or the dogs fighting, bombas (fireworks) going off, or buses rattling by at any given hour, these sounds are all a little unsettling now, but I’m sure that after a month or two they’ll simply remind us of our Spanish homes.
As for our Spanish classes, we’ve only just begun, but I’m sure we’ll all be knocking your socks off with our fluency in no time…just you wait