Sunday, 26 May 2013

"Where are the Forks?"

It’s been three weeks since I’ve done a blog post. It’s about time I do another one. This post is mainly about my experiences in Santa Rosita.

In A Nutshell…

On Thursday, May 6, Lucio and I left for Santa Rosita with Douglas’s brother Cesar and his family. We left in a Mitsubishi van at about 9:00 AM and arrived at Jeff and Crystal Yoder’s house in El Naranjo at about 12:30. After we had some tamales for lunch, Lucio and I ran a few errands for Jeff. Later in the afternoon, we traveled up river for about half an hour to the little village of Santa Rosita. The reason for our trip to Santa Rosita was to attend and pray for a series of meetings that were being held there from Thursday to Sunday. Cesar was the visiting speaker. Lucio and I stayed right in Santa Rosita for the whole weekend in what used to be the clinic, and the others from El Naranjo only came for the services in the evenings. Before each service, we had a time of prayer. After the service on Thursday evening, we said goodbye to a boatload of people heading back to El Naranjo, and made our way back to our house for the weekend. We were fairly tired so we went to bed right away.

The church in Santa Rosita

 On Friday morning, we woke up to the realization that there was no water. We didn’t know what to do to get water, so I came up with the brilliant idea that we could just “shower” by swimming in the river. However, I did not take into account the abundance of mosquitos. By the time I got in the water, I had so many bites on my legs that I was just about going crazy. I came out of that shower feeling a lot worse that I did going in. We then decided that it was time for breakfast. After a wonderful breakfast of cornflakes and powdered milk, Lucio and I did a few chores around the church property… things like mowing the lawn and hedge trimming with machetes. After lunch and a little prayer service of our own, we met up with Jeff and Cesar to do some visiting. From walking around the village and talking to a few people, I discovered that Santa Rosita is a pretty quiet, laid-back town. Not a whole lot seems to happen, and there isn’t a lot of modern technology. The people of Santa Rosita are really friendly. Wesley, a fourteen-year-old boy who attends the church in Santa Rosita, asked Lucio and I if we wanted to go fishing. Since we didn’t have time that afternoon, we told him that we’d go with him on Saturday. After the service on Friday evening, Lucio discovered a bag that Jeff and Crystal sent with us that contained pillows. I was very pleased with this find since I had spent half of the previous night without a pillow and the other half using my bible as a pillow. You’d be surprised how logical it seemed to me in the middle of the night to use something hard within reach rather than getting up to search for something softer.

Lucio doing the dishes

Our wonderful kitchen

Our relatively clean bedroom

On Saturday morning, Lucio and I left with Wesley and two of his friends to go fishing. We used Wesley’s boat (It’s actually Jeff’s but Wesley uses it) to go upstream to some rapids. Wesley and one of his friends put their masks on and got their harpoon guns ready. The rest of us watched as they swam around under the water looking for fish to spear. After twenty minutes or so of no luck, they got back in the boat and we headed further up the river. At the next place, the boys had more luck. They caught three fish, the longest being about 18 centimeters long. We then moved to another location where they caught about five more fish. I didn’t get a chance to fish with a harpoon gun, and that was probably a good thing. We wouldn’t have wanted anything other than fish getting harpooned. I’ve never really been much of a fisherman… I’ve only ever caught one fish in my entire lifetime and at the time I had three people helping me haul in the large 5-inch perch. However, I’m pretty good at eating fish. The native boys built a small fire and “cleaned” the fish. In my opinion, the fish didn’t look a whole lot different after they were “cleaned,” but at least they were no longer flopping. They made a nice little “grill” out of sticks and put all the fish on it. Pretty soon though, they decided that it would take way too long for them to cook on the grill, and since a rain cloud was coming anyway, they just threw the fish right in the ashes. “Oh well,” I thought, “I suppose that ashes might add flavour.” After awhile they dug some tortillas out of a cooler and started removing the fish from the fire. I asked them where the forks were and they just laughed. Apparently they thought I was joking. Surprisingly, the fish tasted amazing! I honestly think that it was the best tasting fish I’ve ever had. It was a little annoying eating around the bones. Lucio told me that you don’t want to eat the bones, and then he promptly started choking on one. Thankfully, he was alright.

Boating on the San Pedro river

After a service that evening and two services on Sunday, we headed back to El Chal with Douglas and a few people that had come to Santa Rosita just for Sunday. Riding in the back of a pickup is fun, but after three hours it gets a little old. At least we had nachos to keep us entertained.

The following Thursday was “Día de la Madre” at the school. Apparently, Mother’s Day is a really big deal here in Guatemala. There were decorations, food, activities, dramas, songs, and more. The whole program lasted about three hours. While we were setting up in the morning, Douglas made a comment about how it’s a lot of work for only three hours. I told Douglas that we do it because we love our mothers. Mothers are great people. Especially mine.

The shoe kick competition

As for the rest of the three weeks that have past since I’ve done a blog post, not a lot of exciting things happened. Not anything worth blogging about anyway. Except that I lost and then found my camera charger. That was pretty exciting. 

Top 5 Highlights…

>>Fishing with the native boys. Who knew that fresh fish, salt, and a little bit of ashes could taste so good?
>>Swimming at Mopán. There’s this really cool natural pool surrounded by waterfalls that Stephan’s, Neil’s, and I went to one afternoon. Then a group of us went to the same place again later. I plan on going a third time.
>>Hanging out with the Spanish class from Kansas. Willard and Sharon Mast brought a group of 17 high school students who studied Spanish this past year. I got a couple chances to play volleyball with them. Great group. 
>>Ice cream in a cup. It’s a lot like an ice-cream cone, but you don’t have to eat the cone at the end.
>>Grilled pork at Stephan’s. One afternoon, I got invited (or invited myself) to Stephan’s for lunch, and it just happened to be a food day!  

Top 5 Quotes…

Ian Roth: “So are you dreaming in Spanish yet?”
Me: “yeah, but it’s just as hard to talk Spanish in my dreams as it in in real life.”

“So who’s the dictator of Canada? …or what are they called??” – Dylan

“Since you’re a magician, can you make a piano appear for me?” – Trish

“Pray for you… and I’ll pray for me…” Julia (she was singing a song and confused the lyrics slightly)

“Are you in my way?” – Danny Beachy (when clearly, I should have been the one asking, “Am I in your way?”)

Spanish Vocabulary…

Adentro (ah DEHN tro) – it means “inside”

Memory tool: the word sound kind of like dentures, and dentures go inside the mouth.

Fun Facts…

In Guatemala…
>>People use their horns to say “Hi” rather than to display their anger

>>Coffee with sweet bread is a very common and very delicious snack

>>The passenger and the driver of a semi truck can switch roles while slowing down for a speed bump

>>We have a great watchdog. He sleeps during the day and barks during the night.

>>The only thing better than a cup of coffee after lunch is a glass of Coke

More to Add 

I'm in Guatemala City this weekend for a teacher's institute. Apparently, i'm a teacher now. It should be interesting and fun! Thanks everybody for your prayers! 

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