The two days before I left for a trip to Tikal, which I visited this weekend, were pretty busy. I explored the market, visited the Macadamia Nut Farm, studied in Spanish class, saw a clear view of all three volcanoes surrounding the city, drank at an Irish bar (which is odd for Guatemala), experienced and played with kids at an orphanage, listened to fabulous Guatemalan music while eating at the city’s best dessert place, and of course took a million pictures.
The market here is awesome. You really can’t buy too much of the produce because who knows how safe it is to eat, but it is still fun to wander around and check it out. I almost feel like a voyeur at the market. I walk around finding it all so fascinating, but for so many people here, it’s just their normal everyday life.
On Wednesday afternoon I went to the Macadamia Nut Farm. I visited the last time I was here, and it was pretty much the same this time, but I got some new great pics!
On Thursday afternoon I went with the family who has been living at the same house as me, the Nice’s, to an orphanage for boys about 45 minutes from Antigua. It’s called Hogar Miguel Magone. They have been volunteering here for many years and sponsor many of the boys. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from the place, but I was extremely impressed. They have boys there starting at about age 2. As soon as we got there we were immediately welcomed by the boys, many coming up to give hugs and kisses, even to me who they had never met.
I was given a tour and was so impressed with how well run this place seems to be. The all sleep in big dormitories without about 40 beds. The dormitories were absolutely spotless. I definitely don’t keep my own room that neat and clean. They have a cafeteria, a church, a basketball area, a recreation room, a play area, and a school for the younger kids. The older boys walk to school. The older students all must learn a trade, which I thought was great. I actually bought a t-shirt that said Enjoy Guatemala, a takeoff of a Coca Cola shirt, from the silk screening press that the boys learn how to do. You will see me wearing this shirt in my Tikal posts, soon to come.
I loved playing with these kids. They were all just so lovable and sweet. They have not had easy lives, but I sometimes forgot I was at an orphanage and thought I was just playing with some kids after school. I’m even thinking of sponsoring one of them named Mario. He is only four and adorable. Most of the other boys have a sponsor already who stays in communication with the boys, sends gifts, and come to visit. I figure for a few less trips to Starbucks a month I could help this kid have a future and bring a little happiness to him. I know I can’t change the world, but seeing a place like this makes me want to. I guess every little bit can help.
This past weekend I went on a three day trip to Tikal, but that deserves a whole other entry, if not two or three. Stay tuned.
“The Greatest Love of All” -Whitney Huston