This last week I had the opportunity to accompany my friend Pastor Byron Dardon on a Mission Trip to Guatemala. We left at about 6:30am July 12, 2011 from West Palm Beach en route to the airport of Miami for a 10:45 flight to Guatemala City. A two hour flight where I also saw my first illegal alien being escorted to the plane by two sheriffs. We arrived in Guatemala City and spent the rest of the day getting organized for our trip which was to last until July 18, 2011. Our itinerary included: San Jose La Arada, Chiquimula, San Pedro De La Huertas, San Jose Manzana in Santa Catarina Pinula, Aldea Los Ocotes, Guazacapan, Santa Rosa and Guatemala City.
My first experience of Guatemala was not what I expected!! For some reason in my mind I was expecting more of a rural type of setting but it was not what I found arriving in Guatemala City. The city is crowded and extremely congested and very spread out.
Towards the end of the trip seeing more of the country and city my opinions were extremely changed and I came back with an extremely positive reaction in this country and all the great people and all my new brothers and sisters.
July 13, 2011 – Ciquimula and San Jose La Arada – A 3 hour ride by car going about 90 miles an hour over the mountains. We visited primarely a community of about 40 houses (structures made from whatever was around) at San Jose La Arade. Built into the hill (see film). The need here is obvious as can be seen by the crude shelters and the living conditions, lack of food, no health care and total lack of any kind of gainful employment. These are the lucky ones though as they at least have somewhat of a shelter and through the help of this volunteer community are able to sustain themselves.
The first impact is why? And how? Can anyone live under these conditions in this day and age but then they are the lucky ones that are at least being taken care of. We met xxxxxxx who has been helping out since 2002 and land is provided by the state. An old railroad once ran through the area, as a matter of fact built by the Americans. Go To Centro de Adoracion for MORE
July 14, 2011 – Calvary Chapel – we started out at 6:00 in the morning to join the volounteers at Calvery Chapel who Monday-Friday prepare and serve breakfast to a group of about 100 children from the community. Without this they do not eat in the morning so it provides them with a good start on the day.
Met Sergio and his wife Brenda and the group of volunteers which also included some of the mothers of the community that also help out. And my good friend Ermolindo who has grown up in the community and sleeps in the building and is the guard, also his wife volunteers there. He took me around and I met the whole family. They need help on a daily basis with food and also to build their bathrooms and showers which they have started. Go To Centro de Adoracion for MORE
July 15, 2011 – Valley of the Angels – with Father Michael and the Carmelite Sisters. Only one way to describe Padre Miguel and that is fantastic!! The work that was done at the orphanage by Father Rocco “Papa Rocco” and the Carmelite Sisters Madre Julia and Hermana Margarita is truly amazing. With Father Rocco’s vision and the work of the Sisters and certain benefactors Valley of the Angels is truly a Valley of Angels”. The first thing you feel when you enter its walls is the peace and tranquility of the place. The happiness in the childrens faces and the organization. It seems everything runs by itself. Father Michel gave us a whole bunch of food and we filled Pastor’s truck. Beans!!
I will be getting some names from him as well of the members of the Italian Center in Guatemale City. Also by coincidence he went to school with James Martin in Boston. Go To Centro de Adoracion for MORE
Towards the late afternoon we went to San Pedro de la Huertas for a Meeting with Israel and video of what he is doing and the church that he is building. In the evening we met with the “Leaders” as they are called of the catholic church in San Pedro.
We discussed their needs and according to them their primary need is to build a structure on the side of the church to accomodate their statue preparations on the yearly feast day. I was a little surprised in this as I see the children as the main concern. I was even more surprised that the catholic church there as not organized pany programs for the children of San Pedro. Go To Centro de Adoracion for MORE
July 16, 2011 – To Casa Samuel – to visit the orphanage. An extremely good thing that is being done by Two sisters and their family mostly on their own with little donations. We went with Sergio and Brenda, Pastor and Dullia, Danny and his friend from Virginia Scott.
Danny put on a show and we brought candies and little toys for the kids. We ate lunch there and another really great project for the children.
In the evening went with Danny to area 10 were all the rich people live and also saw some possibilities of umbrella sales there as well. Go To Centro de Adoracion for MORE
July 17, 2011 – Went to Antigua to check things out and found very promising things to do with Umbrellas and Jewelry. Will have to look into it a little further. In the afternoon went to Mario birthday party and in the evening to Pastor’s mother birthday party. Very nice both and got lots of video.
July 18, 2011 – Leave for Florida – I guess the thing you say to yourself is where do you start? There is so much need and you want to fix it all at once.