Thursday, December 9, 2010

Guatemala Part 4

Dec 3, 2010

Apparently the no heat situation extended to the water as well, because if I wanted a shower this morning, it had to be ice cold. So I opted out (the idea of putting my already freezing body into freezing water just was not my idea of a good morning), and began today's journey a bit dirtier than I normally allow myself to be when I venture out into public, especially when I'll be filming myself all day.

Today was another astonishing day. We had breakfast at the cheese farm (pancakes, pineapple, eggs, black beans, and of course tortillas). We spent a bit of time admiring the fog rolling in over the sleepy valley we were staying in, said hello to the horses and chickens (though none of us were particularly fond of the previously mentioned rooster) and then we were on our way. We drove about a half an hour until we got to a little village set precariously on the steepest, muddiest hill I've ever seen.

First we had to trek up this slippery path that led us to the school and the health center (children walk up that path to go to school, every day! I can't imagine!) and we got to go in and see all the mothers bringing in their young children to have them checked out for colds, pneumonia, etc. The health facilitator was this sweet girl who let me come in the consultation room and she taught me how to test the respiratory patterns of babies. The baby I got to test was pneumonia-free. :)

We left the health center (which was just a building with concrete flooring and two rooms in the back for consultations and injections) to head back down the scary steep hill for some home visits. There were two mothers in the village with newborns, so we went to talk with them, give them hats that were donated to Save the Children, and see their homes. I really couldn't believe the insides of some of these homes.

The first home had electricity (meaning a single light bulb hanging from the ceiling) but also a makeshift sink and a sewing machine out front. Inside the house was basically two beds, a small table and a television, actually. That surprised me the most. They also had chickens walking around the house, coming and going as they pleased (which made me giggle). There was also a pig tied up outside with a water dish. Like a pet dog.

The next house was a bit larger but had no TV, and instead of a sewing machine they had some sort of complex and intricate weaving device hanging from the top of the porch. We talked to the mother of this baby for awhile; she wasn't able to sit up because she'd had a c-section but seemed to be recovering well. She let me hold her baby for awhile, and we gave her a little white and yellow hat with matching booties. I have some footage of Rebecca and I putting the little booties on this infant (they were quite a few sizes too big) and I think that's one of my favorite moments from this whole trip. I'm not sure I've ever held a baby so young, either. I think she was only 15 or so days old; it was amazing holding something so little in my arms.

By this time we were running a bit late (it's easy to do that when there are adorable babies everywhere) so we said our goodbyes and hopped in the cars again. We had a very, very long drive back to Antigua so we wanted to get going early. We wound, turned and bumped our way along and after a quick lunch stop at the Save the Children headquarters, we finally rolled into Antigua around 5. Somehow I got a super sweet room with a living room so I am currently just hanging out here by myself before we all meet at 7 for dinner, our last event together. I have a super early flight tomorrow with Mary Beth, so I'll probably just turn in early tonight after we eat.

Mary Beth and I poked around in the artisan's district a little bit when we first got back and I got suckered into buying a couple more things - but two of the things I bought are Christmas presents, and the other is just a little hand-woven bracelet I added to the growing collection of things around my wrists. I like that all of my bracelets have a story (either from places I travel or bracelets fans made and gave me on tour), so I figured one from Guatemala was a worthy addition.

I can't believe how quickly this trip has gone by, but at the same time I'm a little excited to be going home tomorrow. Mostly because I can't wait to tell my friends and family everything i've seen and to start editing the videos I plan to make with all the great footage I shot while I was here.

It's almost dinnertime! I guess this is it. Coming to Guatemala was amazing.


Kathryn said...


Your trip sounds so amazing Kristina, you're so very lucky.
I am really looking forward to your videos of it too. I saw the one on your second channel and it looks so great! Any idea when more will be up?

Jerry Cooke said...

I'm reading this and finding my own life put to shame in comparison. I really hope I get to travel somewhere like that some day (and hope even more that photography is the thing that takes me there!)

gabdc said...

It's so cool that you went to Guatemala! I went there last October on a medical missions trip and it was seriously one of the greatest experiences of my life. I've been to Latin American many times because my parents are Colombian and Costa Rican, but I had never seen people so sick before. It really was an incredible trip.
Also, I've been to the hotel in which you stayed in Antigua! I had lunch there and I had the best black bean soup I've ever had.
I can't wait to see the videos you took while you were there! I lost all my photos from that trip besides the ones I had already uploaded onto Flickr.

Conger's said...

There isn't anything quite like holding a new baby. Your trip sounds amazing. What an awesome experience!

kajsa said...

I must have been a wonderful and amazing trip! :)

VTBurninator said...

Your trip sounds amazing!! I can't wait to see the videos you post. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with us and for doing your part to help make the world a happier (and boot-ier place). Kristina, you are such an inspiration!

pearlsanddreams said...

Your trip sounds absolutely wonderful. I hope you're having a ball. :)

kira902k said...

Your trip does sound really short...but really incredible. I aspire to go on that kind of trip when I'm older. Like nerimon, frezned and nanalew. And you. It sounds like so much fun...and I feel like I'd come out feeling more well-rounded and wise. More cultured.

I loved reading these blogs and I can't wait to see your videos! :)

Kaedtiann said...

Awesome! Your trip sounds so cool. And I'm rather jealous of the food. Pineapple. Miam. I can't wait to see your videos! :)

I went to Thailand for a month a couple years ago (my dad works there half the year), which was awesome. We went to visit an orphanage, but the timing didn't work out, so we couldn't actually spend time with the kids. If I go again, though, I'd really like to do some work helping out in the community, because it just seems like so much fun, and I really like the idea of doing more than sitting on a beach/whatever on a holiday, especially in countries that are a lot less well-off. So, hooray! Thanks for getting me even more excited about traveling! :)

My way said...


Remy said...

Gosh. You've inspired so many people. This trip sound fascinating!

Vetinari said...

Merry Christmas Kristina!

I even got you a present :)

have fun with that!