Saturday, June 7, 2008

One Final Post

I made a little show to sum up my experience in Guatemala.

Just go to http://www.photoshow.com/members/_215cc58f7f05bdf/all (mine is the one called Guatemala Term 2008, the other one is from my Dad's visit).

Whenever you have 18 minutes of free time, check it out!

I guess this is the end - it's been quite the experience!
~Amber

Thursday, May 22, 2008

We're HOME!!!

We made it back to Minnesota safe and sound!
I'll find sometime, who knows when, to put some final updates up.
As for now, I'm exhausted but so glad to be home!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Some pictures to keep you occupied until I come home!

First morning in Guatemala
Magdalena host family Santo Domingo Hotel
Antigua host family and other students At the beach
Cecilia - Our house help's daughter peaking through our bedroom window
Preparing Easter dinner
Last day of school and a macbook...
19 in a van...
18 ladies and one man - you know you're jealous!
Fernando - SI director4 month old baby boy twins in El Gorrion
Don Arturo - School director
Last night out in Antigua
Last night out in Antigua
Taxis
"The hole" - over a foot deep on our multipal times a day walk.
Chicken buses
The Prensa Libre man - We tend to stalk people
3 of 4 Antigua host sisters
Last night in Antigua, sitting by the park
Last morning in Antigua - view from bedroom door
Jungle Party!...
Only the best Chai ever.
Last Chai run of Guatemala Term.
Roommate self-portrait.
Oh, good times.
There's much more to come.... but for now I'm without internet, so you'll have to wait 10 days!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Final Update

This is most likely my final update until I am back in the US.

Last weekend we went to Panajachel - a supposedly gorgeous area with Lake Atitlan surrounded by volcanoes. The reason why I say just supposedly is because we were there for the start of rainy season. It rained both days we were there, but it was still really fun.

Here are some pictures!

We spent another week at ministry sites this week, which was exhausting but fun. We spent most of the week working on a giant mural for a Mother's Day celebration. We cut it up in to puzzle pieces then assigned specific tasks to each grade. It was really neat to put it all together today and see what everyone contributed.

We are finally moving up to Magdalena on Sunday for our last week of ministry. On the following Sunday we will be going back to SEMILLA for a time of debriefing and final presentations. After that we will be coming home!!!

I cannot wait for these 12 days to be done!

I will see everyone soon!

~Amber


Friday, May 2, 2008

Update

Just a few short hours after I got out of the hospital on Thursday, April 17th, my dad arrived in Guatemala for 4 days. It was all part of God’s perfect plan, and I was able to have some great comfort and love of home.

Being sick I had missed four days of language school. Fortunately our Bethel professors had mercy on us and we were able to omit all of the work we had missed. I came back to school the following Monday, ready to finish the last week of language school (and my last week of Spanish class forever).

A little bit more about my second language school session:
During this session I completed 4 compositions, a corrido, and a reader’s theater. Composition 1 was about God’s calling in my life. Composition 2 was about “the dolls of my life” (it was an object composition). Our 3rd was the corrido, which was a group project (look up corrido music and you’ll realize how ridiculous this was). Our 4th was about a social faux paux – I did bodily functions… Our 5th was omitted due to our illness. Our 6th was a satire about something that bothers us – I chose tourists. Our final project was the compilation of 3 of our earlier compositions as a reader’s theater piece. We assembled, wrote, and performed this work that we entitled “Family, Bubble Monsters, and the Teenage Robot.” It was stretching in many ways, but full of fun and laughter and definitely worth it in the end (especially when we received 100%). I am officially finished with Spanish classes. I just have a few classes on how to TEACH Spanish, and may end up teaching it in the future, but no more Spanish!

We have experienced several earthquakes in the past month – one rather small and short (4.8), but another large and long one (6.7). I’m not a fan. (My heart skips and I brace myself any time there is a sound remotely similar to that of an earthquake.)

Originally we were going to move back to Magdalena on April 27th, but this has been put off until May 11th, due to continuing health concerns. Although we really want to be back with our other host families, it is a blessing to not have to stress of packing up and moving while we’re concentrating on getting healthy once again.

Beginning this week we restarted ministry sites, and will work at our sites until May 16th. It’s going to be a very tiring time, but full of blessings. I can already feel the relationships becoming stronger as we spend more and more time with the people at our sites. The children and parents at El Gorrion are becoming more and more comfortable with our presence, and have been expressing this more each day. It’s a blast!

A few prayer/praise requests:
-Health of the team – my roommate Abbey specifically. It’s been a struggle.
-Transitioning into Magdalena, then again to SEMILLA for debriefing and final presentations, then finally back to the US.
-Strength/Patience for folks back home, who are anxious for our return.
-I have yet to find a summer job, which is a little intimidating knowing that I have NO money.
-I got the student manager position in Bethel’s food services! I am so, so excited to step into this leadership role.

I cannot wait to be home in just 19 days!

Until then, please keep the new coming! I still want it!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Details about Tikal

Here are my journal entries from our 2 day vacation to the north of Guatemala.

Day 73 – 4/12:

What a day! It started at 3:50 – we got ready in 10 minutes since it was so early. The shuttle came right around 4, but we couldn’t get out! We didn’t have our keys, but luckily our host mom woke up to the doorbell and let us out.

We rode with ½ the group to the airport (more like a tiny little hanger) – a 45 minutes windy ride. I felt the car sickness once we got there, and eventually got sick. I felt better afterwards so I passed out suckers to the group and only told a few people that needed to know.

We boarded 2 different planes (they were THAT SMALL) around 6:15 and took off right away. The plane I was in was an orange vial, 19 seat, tiny thing. We had full view of the pilots, so I taped take off. The other plane passed us in the sky so everyone was already there when we arrived an hour later. I bought a Sprite and soon we loaded up a bus, equipped with middle isle jumpseats, and went on our way with Eric, our guide.

In an hour we got to Tikal. We started at the tourist center, then walked looking at nature and stuff before hitting up the ruins. We heard the howler monkeys while walking, but didn’t see them. The first ruin we went to was an old bath area, then the central area with a cemetery, Temple I and II, and other ruins. We were able to climb Temple II. We hiked a bit more the V – it was a near vertical climb to the top! We hiked a lot more to IV – the tallest one, currently being restored. While hiking to the park’s restaurant we ran into 2 spider monkeys playing in the trees! Yay! We ate lunch – soup, grilled chicken, veggies, rice, tortillas, and fruit – then loaded the bus and drove for an hour to our hotel. We were all exhausted so fell asleep.

Our hotel was on the island of Flores. It’s beautiful. We hung out a bit, then, after buying water, went to Capitan Tortuga – a pizza parlor type restaurant. I just got lemonade and ate the toppings of 1 slice. We got ice cream afterwards. We relaxed after dinner, and I eventually unintentionally fell asleep.

Day 74 – 4/13:

Again, what a day! I “got up” at 7:15 like every other day down here, but stayed in bed until 8:30. We got ready to face the world then went down for breakfast – tomato, onions, and peppers in scrambled eggs with plantains, beans, coffee, juice, and a hairy sausage which I avoided.

Rachel and I explored before Bible study. We studied Timothy for ½ and hour, then went swimming in the lake (that later caused our hospitalization) and checked out of our hotel rooms.

Rachel and I went to Cool Beans Café for lunch. I got coffee with ice cream, eggs, and potatoes. Yummy. We explored and relaxed until leaving at 3:30. *Observation – it was 40˚C inside, which was much cooler than it felt outside. We’re guessing it was close to 50˚C.* We boarded the same plane and left. Rachel and I did the crossword puzzle (in Spanish) until we hit clouds then landed. We drove back and I had snacks in my room for dinner. We crashed early, to say the least.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Dad's Visit

My dad came to visit me. It was perfect timing, as I got out of the hospital the day he came.
Here's a slide show he made!

http://www.photoshow.com/watch/jZ4aB2rA

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Health

Dear friends,

The reason why I have not updated my Tikal post is because 14/20 of our team ended up in the hospital, myself included. The doctor believes we contracted something from the lake we swam in.

I got a bacterial infection and parasites. When I went in I was shock because my blood pressure was low (80/60) and my fever was high (102), and was not doing well.

Afer 4000ml of fluids, 4 rounds of antibiotics, and other drugs I was dismissed after 2 days.

Just my direct roommate is left in the hospital, with a UTI in addition to bacterial infection and parasites. Not fun, so pray for her. Tonight will be her 4th night there if she is not dismissed this afternoon. --- Update from later in the day. Abbey was able to get out, but is still receiving daily injections from the doctor and is not feeling at all normal.

I hope you weren't worried, and that your doing 10 x's better than we are!

My dad is here taking care of me until Monday (it was already planned that he would come, it just happened to be when we were sick).

That's all. I may find the energy next week after catching up from the 4 days of school I missed to write about Tikal.

I love and miss you!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Wild Monkeys, Ancient Ruins, and Much More!


Yep, I saw that stuff this weekend. I'll eventually have the energy to write about it...
for now here are some pictures and a VERY EXCITING video!

This was our very TINY airplane. It was not safe, but we lived.


This is the national tree of Guatemala - it reminded us of Dr. Seuss.


These were the 3 rules of the park - self-explanitory, or maybe not?
Central Plaza of the Mayan Ruins.
View from Temple II
On Temple II
Hanging out in the ruins of the Central Plaza.
The climb of Temple V - the hardest one, because it's pretty much vertical. Fun.

View from Temple V.
On top of the highest Temple of Mayan Civilization - Temple IV.

View from Temple IV.

A MONKEY!!!

video

A VIDEO OF A MONKEY!!

The architecture of the Island of Flores was beautiful.

Self-portrait at Cool Beans Cafe on the island.

The amazing view from my hotel room.

Yep, it was incredible.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

An update on life in general

So, I haven't updated in a while...

That's because life has been crazy for the past two weeks!

It was rough getting back into the swing of ministry sites after Spring Break, then the majority of our team hit the culture shock wall, which lasted about a week. We started language school in the midst of this, which made life even crazier. To add to it all, my roommate and I had to gut our room and wash EVERYTHING (it cost Q280 for all of our stuff, which is around $35) due to an invasion of bed bugs and microscopic mites. Gross.

But, it's finally the weekend and we have time to do nothing! I don't have any new pictures since the last post, but plan on taking some today as we wander around Antigua amlessly!

It feels wonderful to not have a plan, or bugs crawling all over my skin.

I hope all is well, and would love to hear some news from back in the States!

OH! One thing I forgot to mention! Yesterday I was woken up at 6:12 AM by a small earthquake! I didn't think much of the shaking room and went back to sleep. Later in the day I found out there was a 4.8 size earthquake with the epicenter just 30 miles away. Neat!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Spring Break and Semana Santa

Here are the highlights of this amazing week!

On Sunday I got up early to go pick up Tiffany and Laura at their hotel in Guatemala City. There were some problems getting out of Antigua due to the processions but eventually we made it to the hotel and I got to see them! Unfortunately I did not see their luggage and it turns out it got lost somewhere in Mexico City.
On Monday we didn't do much besides shop at the market and eat. The luggage did not come.
On Tuesday we went to Santo Domingo to visit the museum. In the afternoon we climbed Pacaya - an active volcano! It was definitely the greatest thing we've ever done in our lives. We got withing 6 feet of the flowing lava, but it was too hot to get any closer. We got to watch the sunset as we climbed around on the molten rock, then hiked back down in the dark. It was incredible.
On Wednesday we had a lot of coffee to help give ourselves a boost from the exhausting climb. We even visited a coffee plantation and museum. We had a personal tour around the place and got to help contibute to the process by cleaning the beans for a bit. After a call to the airport for the billionth time we found out that their luggage was in Guatemala City at their hotel from Saturday, and no one would bring it to Antigua. Fortunately the SI director, Fernando, saved us and took as to the hotel. Even though it was more than half way through their trip, both Tiffany and Laura were very glad to have their luggage.
On Thursday the madness of Semana Santa began. Before it really started we had the best Chai in the world, ate at Cafe Sky with an amazing view of the city, and had a cozy dinner at a favorite restaurant of mine - Doña Louisa's. During the day we explored the ruins of the Cathedral, and returned during the evening to see a beatiful alter and candle display. We also watched a reenactment of Jesus's trial and experienced a night procession.On Friday we got up to join the crowds at 4:30 AM. Really they had been out all night long, preparing alfombras (carpets out of colored sawdust) for the following day's processions, but we chose not to show our faces until 4:30. The little boys carrying banners were exhausted and kept on dozing off before the start at 5:00. It was pretty exciting to see, even if it was early. The rest of the day we rested, and Laura and I went out a few times as Tiffany was not feeling to well and the insence made it worse. There were atleast 4 processions, beginning at 5 and ending at 3:30 AM. We only lasted until about 9 before crashing. Even so, it turned out to be a pretty fun day.
Today was the reversal of yesterday - Laura was feeling sick instead. We had a light breakfast then packed up their suitcases and took them to my house. The shuttle driver had no problems today, and we arrived at the airport at 11:50. I said (a quick) goodbye and we returned to Antigua. Now I'm updating this! I'm going to rest for the next few days before heading back to work on Monday.

May everyone's Easter be filled with joy!