Kayleigh and I have been in Antigua, Guatemala for 2 weeks nowand this is my first blog because we have been so busy! We are so lucky to be here in a beautiful city surrounded by volcanoes and filled with loving people. Everyone says hello here (random strangers). This is so where I am meant to be! haha.
We are so lucky to be following Hilary Mislan and Darian Lunne because they left a great relationship for us to continue at the Hospicio de San Jose (where we work) and with our homestay family (Olga Marroquin and her children and grandchildren). People are so sweet- everyone asked how Hilary was doing and gave a us big kisses.
We attempt to run at 5:30am, eat delicious food cooked by Olga and Lily (her daughter), catch a chicken bus at 7:30a, drive about 25 minutes outside of Antigua holding on for dear life as we turn sharp corners, switch to the microbus, and arrive at El Hospicio just after 8am along with the majority of workers there. We help bathe the 9 babies and dress them. We spend the morning playing with these adorable children (Hansel, Lester, Cindi, Angela Maria, Ana Lucia, Astrid, Kataryn, Yandel, and Sofia-the 2 month old). They are super cute in the morning and become more of a handful by noon when they get tired and we have to wake them up for lunch. There are 2 -at first sad and now interesting- things we learned from day one. First, never let the babies sleep unless it is the designated time to sleep (at night and their naptime at 1pm). Second, never pickup up a crying child, unless they have clearly been injured. At first we felt really bad complying with both of these rules because we have always been taught to never wake a sleeping baby and because our natural instincts tell us to pick up a crying child. Now I see that children in Antigua cry a lot less than children in the U.S. and that if you don´t let them sleep during the day, they will sleep the entire night. I´m still not too sure how I feel about these two things, but I´m getting on board.
We play with the kids, read to them, and do whatever is needed. At first we didn´t feel too useful because we were sort of in the way not knowing what to do and with so many kids around (there are 82 kids in the orphanage), but now we see that there is always something to be done. We have spent full days with the babies, helped with physical therapy, read to/with the older kids, helped with homework, and helped in the kitchen. The ladies in the kitchen work so hard constantly feeding 100 people for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and barely get paid anything (40 quetzales a day (9 hours per day) which works out to about 52 cents an hour! I am amazed at how much energy everyone has the hospicio. Everyone is constantly full of energy working, playing with the kids, giving them hugs and kisses, and never resting!
At 2:30 we leave the Hospicio and take one-on-one Spanish classes for an hour (4-5) at Ixchel right by our house. I really like my teacher, Ana Lucia. It´s nice having someone to talk to about Guatemala, el hospicio, and my homestay.
At 5pm I go to different free Salsa classes. I am still exploring to find my favorite before I pick one to actually pay for private lessons. I also stop by a few panaderías on my way home just before I eat an amazing meal with Olga, Kayleigh, and the rest of the guests. The food is amazing here! Especially the fresh fruit! They are little stingy on the water, but I feel like they have the right given the amazing deal they gave us for room and board. Olga is hysterical and the whole family-especially Lily- are so sweet and patient! Sara-Lily´s 2 year old daughter- is adorable! (as are Felix and Victor- 2 other nietos of Olga)
There is so much to here, we still have yet to explore the majority of Antigua.