The week after graduating, Allison and I left on a mission trip with UBC to Guatemala, where we stayed and worked at a children’s home outside Guatemala City, Casa Para Niños Aleluya (“Casa on the Rock”). It was a great week, particularly coming straight from term-papers and all the graduation hoo-ha. The chidren there rushed up to meet us as soon as we drove into the compound. Even across the language barrier, it was easy to play and love on them, except for one little girl who really liked to pull my hair. During the morning and early afternoon, we worked most of the week digging a big hole.
This area was about 25 sq. ft., and we had to dig almost 4 feet deep. Yeah…a lot of dirt. Fortunately the dirt was fairly soft. Hauling the dirt off in wheelbarrows wasn’t that bad except for the fact that we had to go through the school-yard where the younger children were playing for part of the morning, and of course, they wanted to help. It wasn’t that hard to work with one child at my side, but I quickly accumulated a whole flock.
We made a lot of friends while we were there, even from the very first day. We met the girl below shortly after arrived, and apparently she thought I was a hunk, because she kept giggling (they think blonde hair is really exotic). Later in the week she told me that I was in the movies (Brad Pitt, I’m guessing?).
The women did most (okay, all) of the cooking. You can tell that Mike Lawrence and I are waiting in anticipation. If it’s any consolation, we did work hard during the day, so we were hungry.
One of the really fun places to go at Casa is the baby dorm. The kids there are really adorable. I, on the other hand, am definitely not adorable, at least with that weird trance-look I’m making with my face.
We had a lot of fun that week, including the day we spent in Antigua (below), but when Friday came, it was hard to say goodbye to all the kids.
For those of you who haven’t heard the story, I did pass out while standing in line to get our boarding passes in Guatemala City’s airport. Fortunately it had nothing to do with Diabetes, but everyone around me was prepared. Apparently we ate something bad, because I was just feeling really sick, and Allison caught the same stomach bug later that evening. There is nothing like fainting, however, to make natural born worriers (Allison and Mike) even more worried. Honestly, though, I really appreciate their concern and watching out for me for the rest of the day. I was slightly worried myself, because I am not accustomed to fainting, and I was afraid something much worse than a stomach-bug might be wrong me. I felt a lot better the next day, just as Allison started feeling a lot worse.
After being back for a week, we joined mom & dad and Katie & Jeremy for an overnight float-trip on the Buffalo River, where we actually had our house on the rocks. We had a great time, and the weather turned out to be agreeable (warm on Saturday and cool/slightly rainy on Sunday). Where we camped, there were some fun rapids that Jeremy and I floated down. I still have some bruises from riding them before the ladies informed us that it was much more pleasant going down on your back.
We men enjoyed building a fire, even though it was sufficiently warm (I think Allison and I about suffocated in our tent for the first hour that night from the extreme humidity).
If you haven’t noticed by now, whenever Allison gets the camera in her hands, we have a habit of making funny faces. Even though we’re grown-ups now (sorta), it’s still too hard to resist.
Allison was the only one brave enough to tote her camera along (in a water-proof bag, of course), so we got some nice action shots. I was grumpy at first, because she wasn’t taking my picture–that kinda reminds me of some of the children at Casa.
Anyway, the trip turned out really great. Thanks to Katie and Mom for doing most of the planning, and I have to say “Kudos”, Mom, for braving a night on the river. You seem to be getting more and more adventurous as time goes on.
-James, the younger brother