Yesterday after our hour boat ride across Lake Atitlan, we got split into pairs (I was with Laura, the girl from Scotland) and waited for someone from each family to show up. Laura and I were one of the last people to get “picked up” by our family. We said that we felt like we were waiting for our parents to pick us up from school. Finally, an older man in his late 60’s or early 70’s came walking down the hill to the visitor’s center that we were waiting at.
He immediately gave us both a hug. He was so sweet! And thus, the language barrier began…. we were trying to speak to him a bit in Spanish and he was speaking a bit of English. After many turns, we finally arrived to his house. This is when we were really swept into a completely different world. This “house” had four cement walls with a few rooms shooting off of the main room, a solid cement floor, and a tin roof overhead that didn’t actually cover the ceiling. He took us up these metal stairs past another tiny room to our room for the night. There were two twin beds and the walls and floor here were cement as well. There was a bedspread from the movie Cars on one of the beds so I figured we were staying in a kid’s room. Then the rest of the family came in to greet us: the man’s wife, all four daughters (ages ranging from 40 to 20), and the six young children. All of the kids were so cute and immediately started playing with us and trying to chat with us.
The father then took us back out into the town square, where we met back up with everyone else to get a tour of the town. But before that, we got to play with some of the local children at the outdoor gym.
We saw a beautiful worn-down church that the townspeople were trying to raise enough money to preserve. It was so humbling to see this worn-down city and shops that people were trying so hard to conserve and save from going bankrupt.
We got to explore a fabric shop where we learned how to make thread and then dye it for clothing.
We also got to see some beautiful artwork by many of the locals, which support the community.
Later that night, we were all gathered on the roof portion of this family’s house. Laura and I were playing with the children while the oldest sister was using this crazy contraption to make a blanket. It was so interesting to watch and I wish I could have understood her Spanish when she was trying to explain to me the process of making a blanket with this machine.
At one point, I was reading a book with one of the young boys. When I asked him how old he was, he said “CINCO!! Five, cinco, five!” I laughed and said that he was so old! He was then helping me learn some more Spanish, by telling me the name for everything I pointed to in the children’s book; “que es?” I was also teaching him the English words for each picture, such as lion, plant, flower, princess, prince, monkey, and much more. It was the cutest thing ever.
That night, Laura and I went to bed early after an extremely delicious home-made meal consisting of: black beans, potato-like cooked slices, flour tortillas (that I saw the elderly women making by hand), and eggs. We had to be up early again, to travel back to Antigua for our last night in Central America!