Guatemala 2010

The following are the journal entries from my trip to Peten, Guatemala from March 12 through March 19, 2010. Most of them are pretty random–kind of stream of consciousness type of stuff, but it’s what I was thinking.  There’s probably a lot of typos too . . . just so you know. Hopefully you’ll enjoy reading about my adventures. Enjoy!

Visit Jim and Shelley Dinsmore’s blog for pictures and more fun stuff about the trip!

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Date: March 12, 2010
Location: Wichita Mid-Continental Airport
Time: 6:27 am

I’ll never buy cheap pens again. I didn’t want to spend a lot on writing utensils because I figured I’d lose them on the trip, but I’ve changed my mind. The package was impossible to get open. I struggled with it for at least twenty minutes before I gave up and asked the Continental desk lady for a pair of scissors.

No, I didn’t think about how stupid that was (if you were wondering). It made sense at the time to ask. But, of course, they aren’t allowed to have scissors in the airport. But the desk lady got the package of pens opened with her keys; she’s like a super hero or something. Anyway, so that explains why I’m scribbling in my new journal (thanks, Mom!) in the Mid-Continent airport at 6:30 in the morning. I’m off on a grand adventure to Guatemala to visit my dear friends the Dinsmores and to direct another play in an ex-guerilla village.

Maybe I should make a career out of this. Theatre in the jungle. I suppose this could be considered a skill . . . or some kind of talent . . . it’s definitely a form of madness. In any case, I sure had fun when I did it in December 2007, and I can’t wait to get back to do it again!

The sun is starting to rise now. The gate is extending. Maybe the plane is coming. There are a lot of children who are going to be on this flight. It’s probably because of spring break.

If this were a normal Friday, by this time (it’s 6:45 now) I’d already be in the WSU parking lot headed inside to open the library, but I won’t be going back to the library for work again. When I get back from Guatemala, I start a new job, writing for a German plumbing company (don’t ask; it’s a long story). I’m excited about my new career path, but I’m more excited about this trip.

I’m traveling alone for the first time. I mean, I’ve traveled by myself before, but nothing on this scale. It’s a little daunting, but I’m not really scared. I believe fully that everything is going to fall into place because I know God told me to do this. So . . . even if everything looks like it might fall apart, it will all work out in the end.

From Wichita I fly to Houston . . . We’ll see if I remember how to get around inside the airport.

I’m going to be reading Chasing Daylight by Erwin McManus. Colonel and Ethan both recommended it. So I’ll probably start that pretty soon. I also have my MP3 player charged, so I’m good to go.

Side Note: Airport cafes sell coffee that’s too hot to drink and charge you a fortune for it, and you don’t have time for it to cool down enough to drink before you have to board so you have to throw it away. Stinkin’ airport coffee gougers.

Location: Somewhere between ICT and IAH
Time: 7:30 am

I got my carry on bag to fit! Yay! There’s something to say about a bag you can squish.

This is a small plane–one of those ones with the single row on the side and a double row on the opposite side. Andy calls them jungle jets. This one is old, I think. It creaks and groans and rattles; kind of makes me a tad nervous.

I’m way up at the front of the plane, and I’m in one of the single seats, which is good because even though I feel fine I’ve got so much congestion that I’m coughing a lot.  I can see into the cockpit (the pilot looks like Andrew Marklewitz), and the flight attendant is a man in his late fifties who is cracking me up. More on him later.

The flight should take an hour and twenty minutes. It’s gray and cloudy in Wichita, and I’m eager to see the sun. It feels like forever. I think I haerd them say that we’ll be coming in at Gate B, and I need to get to Gate E. That sounds familiar. I’ll have to get on the shuttle at the Houston Airport; that’s always fun. I’ve got two whole hours too, so that shouldn’t be a problem.

Now, the flight attendant. He’s balding, gray, and stocky, and he’s totally bored with the safety routine. The instructions on how to buckle your belt and everything is on a soundtrack played over the intercom, and the attendant is just holding things up, shaking them around, and tossing them back down again. He’s hilarious.

The pilots are locked into the cockpit, and they have a peephole they can look out of. I’m sure they had this the last time I flew, but I must not have paid any attention to it. It’s kind of cool.

Across the aisle from me is a grandfather and his grandson. This child is adorable. He thinks our airplane is huge; wait till we get to Houston and see the real airplanes. He said something about riding on an airplane was like being on a bus–but then we took off and he changed his mind. What a cutie!

And holy cow . . . the steward guy just came around with muffins . . . and he knew my name. Scared me to death. He came up beside me and said, “Good morning, Amy. Would you like a muffin?” And all I could say was, “Uh–Uh-huh.” I was so shocked that he knew my name. He must have had a passenger list or something . . . in any case, it rocked. So he shall be henceforth known as the Muffin Man. I should write a story about a crusty flight attendant. Why does he do it? What keeps him working? Does he do it for the job or for the people? Or does he really just like to fly? I’d think it would have to be for the people–loving them and their quirks. I’d think flight attendants would really have to love people. It’s one thing to work with the public; it’s another thing altogether to be stuck in a tin can with them at 34,000 feet with no means of escape. At least on the ground, you can get away from the annoying ones.

The clouds are pulling apart a bit, and the ground underneath them is red. Are we over Oklahoma already? If so, I didn’t know Oklahoma had so many lakes. There are lakes everywhere. With the sun shining on them, the scattered bits of water look like shards of a broken mirror strewn carelessly across the earth-tone patchwork quilt of the Midwest.

I think the Muffin Man is bringing drinks next. I hope so. My expensive coffee I didn’t get to finish is wearing off. I can also get something in Houston. I think I’ll have time.

Wow, the altitude and this congestion is doing funny things to my head. My ears plug and unplug. I’d chew gum, but I don’t want to because my Diet Coke is coming, and gum and pop will compromise the taste of each other. So . . . I’ll just wait and listen to the popcorn sounds in my ears while my sinus feel like they’re inflating like balloons.

Some part of my brain still can’t believe I’m actually doing this. I must be stinkin’ crazy. =)

LOL. I got my Diet Coke, but I’m still so stopped up I can’t even taste it. It just tastes like cold fizzy water. That’s hilarious!

Oi. Something just popped. Okay. I’m good now. Ahhhh. Diet Coke.

Pop’s done. Now gum. Yay, gum!

Muffin Man just walked past with some kind of alcoholic beverage in a plastic cup. He must double as a bartender.

Okay, so this is probably totally not funny. If it happened to me, I wouldn’t laugh. The guy a few seats in front of me just spilled his pop in his lap. So he’s fanning his crotch with his newspaper. Yeah. Probably not funny . . . but I’m laughing anyway.

Location: Between gates 14 and 15 in the Guatemala City Airport
Time: 4:00 pm

Well, I made it through customs and security without too much trouble, AND all my bags made it. There was much rejoicing. I did get frisked though. That was awkward. But it was a woman . . .  anyway . . . . new experiences . . . .

I grabbed a Starbucks and some bacon and eggs in Houston and I made my flight on time. The flight to Guate was long but fine. We watched a movie–One and Only or something like that? With Renee Zellweger? I totally misspelled her name. I gave my window seat up to an old man so he could sit next to his wife, and I ended up in the middle seat between a Guatemalan student studying in San Antonio (headed home for spring break) and a priest who was shepherding a group of teenagers (Note: tuck that info away for future reference; he reappears once or twice).

I’m really tired. I don’t know if it’s because I’m still getting over this bug or what, but I’m exhausted. It could be the travel, I suppose. I’m having trouble breathing too; I think it’s a result of hiking all over the Guatemala City airport carrying my bags. So just in case I went ahead and used my inhaler, which explains why the text in this journal has suddenly gotten so shaky looking. I’m feeling better now, but I’m shaking like nuts. I love my inhaler, but the side effects suck.

My flight is supposed to leave from Gate 14, but it’s the very end gate in the airport. And there’s no one there. So I’m just going to stay put in this chair until something changes.

Location: Gate 14
Time: 4:30 pm

Now I’ve moved into Gate 14 since the airport people put up a sign. I remember now that this flight is a prop plane, so I bet we have to go down on the tarmac to load which is why this gate area looks so different.

I bought some water because I was dehydrated, and my sugar is crashing. But I am stubbornly refusing to buy anything because I don’t want to miss any announcements about this flight. I have a weird feeling that something is wrong. So I’m chewing gum. I should have gotten something out of my checked luggage when I had it. Oh well. It’s all good.

There’s still an hour before we board, and nobody is here. I mean, nobody.

Okay. Never mind. Someone just came in. Security, maybe?

And he just left. Weird.

And what the heck is up with the helicopters? This one is black, and the two before it were red.

Location: Gate 14
Time: 4:45 pm

Still no one here.

But there was another helicopter.

Location: Gate 14
Time: 5:00 pm

Ha! Another security guy just came in. But he’s sitting in the corner playing on his cell phone. I hope I’m in the right place.

Location: Gate 14
Time: 5:15 pm

Yay! Other passengers! Yay!

Location: Gate 14
Time: 5:30 pm

Yay! Officials! Yay!

Date: March 13, 2010
Location: Hotel, El Chal, Peten, Guatemala
Time: 8:00 am

Well, I made it. I’m alive and sitting in a very nice hotel in El Chal. It’s really beautiful, actually.

The flight from Guate to Flores was overbooked and we had to wait an hour before taking off so they could get three volunteers to agree to go later (it turned out to be a family of three who had already been bumped the previous day; I was very thankful they were willing to be bumped again). We finally got into the air an hour behind schedule. I ended up sitting next to this old dude from California named Harry. He and 15 other old people (seriously . . . with canes and walkers) had a guide and were following the trail of the Maya or something like that. He was very chatty, which was fine. I got to explain why I was going to Guatemala and I told him all about Jim and Shelley and the boys and how awesome they are. It was funny; he had no concept about what a missionary actually did.

As we were flying, we got to see a lava flow on a volcano. It was the only thing it could have been. It was pitch black dark outside and we passed a mountain that had a slim thread of orange fluorescence flowing down its side. It was pretty stinkin’ awesome.

I arrived in Flores (with all my luggage!!) and met up with Jim and Shelley and the boys. Jim took me grocery shopping and we ate at the Pizza Hut for dinner. I’m so glad to see them.

They dropped me off at this hotel. I have a cabin all to myself. The birds woke me up at 6:00 but I lounged in bed until 7:00. Now I’m just waiting for Jim to come get me. We’re mainly going to be planning today. I’m so excited to be here finally!!

Location: Hotel
Time: 8:25 pm

I’m pooped. What a day! And I didn’t really do much, in all honesty. Think how tired I’ll be tomorrow! Jim picked me up at 10:00 and we went to his favorite hardware store to buy tarps for the backdrops. The store is a huge warehouse that’s full of all sorts of crap. We got the tarps and went to their house.

I hadn’t had a chance to be in their house since they moved it. I think it’s very pleasant. Shelley did a great job sprucing it up. A good breeze blowing through it, and that helps with the heat.

I started painting the tarp while Jim went to pick up some carpentry projects he had commissioned–namely two lecterns, a set of light boxes, and a cross to nail our Jesus to in the play.

Jonah and Silas were fussy and their sleep schedule was off thanks to TACA and their stupid overbooking problem. So Shelley spent most of the day trying to get them to sleep. I got to hold both of them! I really didn’t know what to do. I don’t have a lot of experience with babies, so I was really nervous.

Shelley made wonderful chicken and rice soup for lunch and Jim got back with the lecterns and things. The cross is freakin’ HUGE. You could crucify a giant on this thing. Don’t know what we’re giong to do, but we’ll figure it out.

We finished up the first tarp (the house) and ate dinner and spent the rest of the time chatting. It was great. Jim also gave me a book to read by Dara Stolzfus (I think I spelled her name wrong). I met her and her husband Virgil the last time I was in Guatemala; Virgil is the guy who was kidnapped by guerillas during the war. Dara wrote a book about Virgil’s father’s life. So Erwin McManus, as much as I enjoy you, you take a back seat to Dara.

We go to Santa Rita tomorrow, and Mateo is coming! Mateo is one of the kids who was in the Christmas play we did in 2007. Since then, he has accepted Christ. I can’t wait to spend some time with him!

Date: March 14, 2010
Location: Jim and Shelley’s Living Room
Time: 5:45 pm

The first rehearsal today went very well. I’m really impressed with how different Santa Rita is from New Horizon (Jim and Shelley’s first work). Santa Rita is far more welcoming and they take so much more responsibility for their lives and possessions.

Shelley and I have a lot of costumes to get ready, though. I’m not sure how we’ll get it all done.

I wanted to give Shelley and Jim some privacy so I’m sitting in the living room soaking in the heat. The nursery and Jim and Shelley’s bedrooms are the only rooms with air conditioning, so the living room is blazing hot. It’s funny, really. How does one begin to describe heat? I always like to think of different creative ways to describe things–but how do you describe the feel of weather? Especially weather like this. If you haven’t been to Guatemala, it’s hard to explain it. I imagine describing Guatemalan heat is like trying to describe a Kansas winter to a Guatemalan. If you have no concept of ice or snow, how can you explain what it feels like to stand in a field full of it?

Guatemalan heat. Imagine that you’re wrapped in fabric–your whole body covered. It’s fabric thin enough that it doesn’t restrict your movement but it doesn’t allow your skin to breathe either. Imagine it wrapped tighter and tighter until your skin is flat-feeling and burning, finding no comfort even in sweating becuase there’s no breeze to speak of. You wear the heat in Guatemala–like a blanket, oppressive and heavy. And it makes you thankful for dusk when the sun retreats behind the jungle canopy.

Date: March 15, 2010
Location:  Hotel

Time: 6:15 am

I can’t tell if my cell phone clock has reset for daylight savings time, and the clock on the cell phone Jim gave me is wrong anyway. So I’m just going to wait and see when he gets here to pick me up.

It was an interesting night. I ran out of minutes on the aforementioned cell phone, which is my best means of contacting Jim if something happens. Then, my toilet clogged up. So–the only way to contact Jim would be to go to the office and brave the armed guards to make a phone call to Jim’s house. I decided that I didn’t like that idea and that I would just make do.

I’ll ask Jim how to handle the stupid toilet when he gets here.

I also need to ask for a knife. Jim bought me some cheese my first night here and I can’t get it open! I keep forgetting to ask for a knife. I also need to buy the rest of my malaria meds too. So I have a lot to talk to Jim about this morning.

Shelley has a Bible study in Santa Rita this morning, and I know we need to work on costumes and the tarps before we leave at 2:30.

And I’m going to wear bug spray today. I got eaten up yesterday.

I also learned that coffee made with a filter basket tastes better than coffee made without it.

Oh, and I spilled gray paint yesterday and got it on my glasses and on my face and in my hair (not on my clothes, though).  It all came out all right, thankfully.

I started reading Dara’s book Jungle Breezes, and it’s pretty good. The stories are amazing.

I think I need to write a book about missionaries. Jim was saying that the lack of education about missions is one of his pet peeves. Maybe I’ll add that on to my ever-growing list of projects that I’ll probably never have time to finish . . . . =)

Hearing so much of the language yesterday helped immensely. It’s still not coming back as quickly as I would prefer, but hopefully soon I’ll be able to interact a little more. Mateo and I had a very brief convrsation in the car.

Today we will start working with the individual parts in the play, focusing more on some character work and blocking. We’ll see how that goes . . .

I’m taking Dara’s book with me today. Since I’m not sure if my phone is working, I’m going to go outside when it says 7:00 just to make sure Jim isn’t there.

Location: Hotel
Time: 8:04 am

I think my phone is right. That’s good to know. Jim is running a bit late but I told him about the toilet and the phone minutes, so he’ll get that taken care of.

I finished Dara’s book (so much for taking it with me! LOL). It’s really interesting. I may buy it on Amazon, just beause I know the history of it. I wish I could have been here with Virgil and Lico met for the first time since the war. Lico, the first man saved in New Horizon, was one of the guerillas who kidnapped Virgil during the war.

Jim’s going to call me as soon as he gets here, so I can go back to Erwin McManus until then!

Location: Jonah and Silas’s Nursery
Time: 11:30 am

The tarps are mostly done. I did some cutting for Shelley. Now I’m sitting in the air conditioning watching her get the craft ready for Santa Rita. Color by number. Shelley really is amazing.

Jim woke up too. He only got two hours of sleep last night. We’ll probably have lunch soon and then head for Santa Rita. Rehearsal is at 2:30 and the Bible Study is at 4:00.

Jonah and Silas are asleep now. Jonah is one active little kid. He likes to be touched. Silas is all about the visual, though. He loves to watch what’s going on. Both of them have so much freakin’ personality, though. They’re tons of fun to watch.

Lico is here building the car port on the side of the house. That’s where Jim and Shelley will hopefully have their Bible studies for the people of New Horizon, since they were kicked out of the village. It was good to see Lico. He came over to talk to me while I was sweating like an ox painting windows on the Jerusalem tarp.

Today is going to be a scorcher. It’s only 11:45 am now and I’m already yucky.

I’m trying to think of what I need to teach the Santa Rita actors. For the non speaking roles, so much will depend on their body language, obviously. The timing will be important too. Adam and Eve need to be arguing about the apple, or so I wrote it in the script. That might be asking too much, though. I think we’ll be lucky if we get Eve to put her costume on! So if we can get them to eat the apple at the right time, I’ll be satisfied. Mary and Joseph don’t really have to do much. Just come in and exit. Jesus and the miracles will take a little more time. Getting the guys to do what is needed shouldn’t be too hard–I don’t think. The Lame Man and the Blind Man don’t really have to act . . . the Mother and the Dead Girl we’ll have to work on. The Pharisees are going to be tough too. To get them to be snobbish enough may be difficult. And right now we only have one disciple. I think we’re going to have to coach the soldiers too. They’re too nice as it is. We walked through the beating scene and it was pitiful.

I feel pretty much unequal to this whole thing. I’m not really that talented a director, I don’t think. It’s not my first love, if you know what I mean. And to be facing a cast of people who have no concept of what theater or acting is and needing to explain what we’re trying to accomplish with this whole thing is daunting at best. So I’m praying that God really shows up in a big way. I’m really glad, though, that I don’t know what I’m doing. If I did, I guess I might be tempted to take some credit for this whole thing. But as it is, anything good that happens or comes out of this is going to be due to God’s intervention beacuse I’ve got no freakin’ clue what I’m doing. I just know a little about drama and I’m not afraid to go to the jungle to tell villagers how to do a play–and if God can use that to do something awesome, I’m more than happy to be along for the ride.

Jim and Shelley think it would be great to have a drama team come down wiht a prepared wordless presentation of the gospel to take to the Kekchi villages. I think it would be spectacular. So that’s one of the things I’m going to start brainstorming on. Who knows what might come of that? I’ll ask them about my ideas tomorrow.

Date: March 16, 2010
Location: Hotel
Time: 8:15 am

Well . . . my toilet didn’t get fixed. So it’s stopped up again. That’s a sadness . . . BUT . . . I got my cheese open! I used my teeth! AND I got a papaya liquado yesterday at Las Puertas, and it was so stinkin’ good! Oi, I LOVE papaya liquados!

Yesterday was a good day. We got a lot accomplished. Today Shelley and I are going to work on costumes and we’ll rehearse in Santa Rita tonight at 6:00.

The people in Santa Rita are amazing. They pay such close attention and they really do care about doing a great job. The girl who is playing “Luisita” (one of the story tellers) is named Mercedes. She’s sharp as a tack. The girl we drafted to play Mama is named Maria, and she gave me a kiss on the cheek as she left the Bible study. She also talks to me constantly . . . which is a little frustrating since I have no idea what she’s saying or how to answer her . . . Shelley says she just talks constantly anyway and not to worry about it.

The men involved are Aaron, Jose Macz (pronounced “Max”), Eulalio, and Fabio. Jim calls Fabio “Lucky” becuase the man has been stabbed, shot, and run over. He was riding his bicycle on the highway and got hit by a car–not once but TWICE. He was left in the ditch for dead TWICE. Jim thinks he should stop riding his bicycle. They’re all so nice and so interested.

I really think this is going to work.

Location: Hotel
Time: 9:00 pm

I’m sitting in my hotel eating peanut butter and cheese and wondering where the heck this week has gone. Tomorrow is Wednesday. We perform on Thursday. And I leave Friday! I guess time flies when you’re swatting mosquitos constantly.

Shelley stayed at home with the boys to keep working on costumes tonight, so Jim and I went and picked up Mateo. I got to meet Mateo’s dad. He was totally drunk. And what does Jim do? He leaves me with him. Thanks, Jim. Leave me stranded stuck listening to a drunk Guatemalan man going on and on about something even though I told him three times that I don’t speak much Spanish.  . . . =)  It was kind of funny, though. Not funny that Mateo’s dad was drunk. Don’t get me wrong. It was just a humorous situation.

Mateo actually told us his family’s story. I already knew Mateo was Kekchi, and I also knew that Kekchi are generally discriminated against in the guerilla villages. He was the one who was always being picked on when I was here in 2007. Apparently, though, his father was a farmer, and the guerillas came and took all their crops and everything they had stored up. The guerillas told him that they would give him a tractor and land and that he would be respected in the village if he would help them. Obviously, it was a lie. Mateo pointed out that they have no tractor and they are the lowest in the village, always treated poorly and hated. It’s a very sad story. I understand why his dad would have turned to alcohol, but I wish he would turn to Jesus instead. I hope that Mateo can be a positive influence on his dad. Mateo is a great kid. He has a wonderful smile–he should smile more often.

Rehearsal tonight went very well. We were still missing a few people (Adam and Eve dropped out, and we have no Joseph), but most of the important parts showed. The men in this thing kill me. They’re amazing. Eulalio is a Pharisee; he’s adorable. Aaron is the Blind Man and the look on his face when Jesus heals him is so cute! and, Luck, of course, is playing the lame man. He did a great job tonight.

I actually think this is going to work. I’m a bit more calm about all this than last time.

Jim’s coming to get me at 8:00 am tomorrow so I’m going to be early. I have to have enough time for my requisite pot of coffee!

Oh, and my toilet is fixed! Yay!

And I vow to check all my clothes and things before I get dressed from now on. I had to do battle with a spider the size of a half dollar to get to my shoes. I felt like Indiana Jones. It was pretty spectacular.

Location: Hotel
Time: 10:15 pm

Holy crap! Another spider! A cousin or a brother or something!


I thought I killed it but I couldn’t find its corpse so I kept looking. I didn’t want to go to bed with that little stinker sneaking around all angry at me. I looked and looked and I found the little-giant-son-of-a-gun lurking under my bed. A few cool moves of my Indiana-Jones-Like-Towel Snaps (since I know I don’t have the reflexes to jump a jumping giant spider) and I smashed spider number two with my shoe.

I freakin’ hate spiders. I really do. I don’t mind killing them, but I don’t like them walking around me when I’m trying to sleep. Ugh.

Location: Hotel
Time: 10:50 pm

Holy crap . . . again! It’s a freakin’ deluge! A thunderstorm with more rain than I’ve seen in ages! It’s like Houston or Pensacola, the kind of rain that comes straight down in sheets so heavy you’re soaked to the skin in seconds. The bungalow has a tin roof so it’s really loud.

So much for having an early night . . . lol . . .

I’m thinking of the people in Santa Rita and New Horizon who have roofs full of holes. Hope they’re all okay.

Hope Jim’s garden is okay . . . .

Date: March 17, 2010
Location: Jonah and Silas’s Nursery
Time: 10:00 am

I just realized that it’s St. Patrick’s Day and I’m not wearing anything green.  Hopefully Guatemalans don’t pinch people for that.

I’m listening to Veggie Tales singing “Morning Has Broken” . . . I think I’m going to be singing Veggie Tales nursery rhymes for the next twenty years . . . 

Jim lost some zuccini last night but not a whole lot else drowned. It’s a wet, nasty mess.

Jim dropped me off at the house as he had to hurry to Santa Rita to drop off the lecterns and the freakin’ huge cross. I said hi to Lico as I walked in but the house was locked. So I went to the front. It was locked too. Shelley was taking a shower (I could hear her through the office window) and I shouted in at her that I was locked out. It was funny.

We’ve been working on costumes. WE’re nearly done. Jim should be back around 11:30 (probably more like 1:00 though).

Jonah’s waking up. He’s so funny when he wakes up. He screams his head off for no real reason with his eyes squeezed shut. Such a little drama queen. An adorable little drama queen, though. =)

Date: March 18, 2010
Location: Hotel
Time: 7:15 am

I barely remember anything that happened yesterday. It went SO fast. Shelley and I finished the costumes for the most part (soldier armor still needs paint). Yesterday was humid but cool. It was a nice break. I’m hoping for something similar tonight–and that the bugs stay away. I’m praying that the rain stays off, though. That would be catastrophic.

Jim’s picking me up at 8:00 am and we’re headed to Santa Elena for microphones. We’ll get Mateo on the way. The goal is to be in Santa Rita at 10:00 for rehearsal. Then, we’ll pick up food at Las Puertas and come back to eat with Shelley. I’m hoping to check in online for my flight then (and I have to remind Jim to get the malaria meds). But we’ll head back to Santa Rita at 4:00 to get set up and everyone in costume by 6:00 so we can perform at 7:00 (or thereabouts). My flight leaves tomorrow at 8:00 am which means Jim will need to pick me up around 6:00 am so I can get to Santa Elena by 7:00 am. That’s goign to be a long day. But I got mostly packed this morning. I’m praying customes doesn’t give me a hard time. They shouldn’t because I didn’t get anything to bring back.

I’m going to try to take pictures tonight.

Oh, and we got to eat at La Luna last night. That was fun. Mateo got fish, and it still had its head on when it came to the table. Today we’re mainly eating Las Puertas again so I can have a second papaya liquado! Jim and Shelley are too good to me!

I really wish I could stay a few more days. Maybe next time. I wrote Gayle yesterday about the possibility of a drama team coming down for a missions trip. She was all for it, so we’ll talk more about it when I get home.

Jonah and Silas are so good. They’re so well-behaved and happy. They get a little cranky when they’re tired, but mostly they’re just amazing. I just love them.

Date: March 19, 2010
Location: Santa Elena Airport
Time: Before 8:00 am

Last night was freakin’ awesome! The costumes were spectacular (miraculously), the sets were great (even when the tomb fell down and nearly blew away), and everyone remembered their parts for the most part. There were at least 200 people there and they were delighted the whole time. The responses from the crowd were great!

Mateo couldn’t get the vase to break like it was written in teh script so he ended up just smashing it on the concrete. Someone stole Mama’s broom so she had to get one of the twins’ rags and was dusting the painted wall tarp instead of sweeping. Someone ran off with the apples in the Garden of Eden after the scene was over (fortunately).

Pilate (Roselino) ROCKED! Hard core! And the soldiers were amazing too! I can’t even express how happy I was how everything turned out.

Although, I was a little dismayed when the whole crowd burst into laughter during the crucifixion scene. Some of it, I think, was them laughing at the people they knew in costume. But the rest of it, I wasn’t really sure about. Jim explained to me, though, that Kekchi people laugh when they make a connection. Americans say “Aha!” when we figure something out; Kekchi laugh about it. So that makes more sense.

Jim also played a song about Christ’s death after the crucifixion was over, and everyone spent a lot of time thinking in silence. It was pretty awesome . . . .

Jesus stepping out of the makeshift tomb I was holding up was pretty amazing.

All of it was tons of fun.

Jim picked me up this morning and I’m sitting in the Santa Elena airport waiting for my p0lane. We’ll see if the trip home is as smooth as the trip down was. I honestly have no idea what time it is. Jim dropped me off a little after 7:00 and the plane leaves at 8:00. I’m looking forward to traveling in the prop plane during the day so I can see more.

I realized that the airport is right next to the military base. Lots of guards and guns. I don’t remember seeing so many guns the last time I was here. I may have just missed them, though.

Gosh, Mateo cracks me up. We ate at Pollo Campero last night and he got a big plate of chicken. Apparently, part of the thigh meat on a chicken leg is bad to eat–something about making you afraid of things. So he rolled that meat up in a napkin adn shoved it in his shoe so he could throw it away later. Mateo’s shoes have “pockets” in them, which is one way of saying that he hasn’t grown into his shoes yet. So he stores things there. He kills me.

I hope to finish Chasing Daylight before I get home. It’s really good. All about seizing the moment and taking risks for God. Pretty applicable, huh?

Jim hadn’t slept yet when he picked me up. He sent Shelley to bed and did his shift with the boys, but they slept the whole time. Which was good because they were exhausted.

There’s the plane. Will write again from Guate.

Location: Guatemala City Airport Pizza Hut
Time: 11:45 am

So that was freakin’ nuts. It took me 2 hours to get from my plane to my gate because Continental had some kind of system crash and ended up with a line of about 75 people in front of me. It was crazy, but I ended up standing next to this nice guy from Germany.

Oh, dang! I should have asked him if he’d ever heard of Viega! That’s the company I go to work for on Monday! Duh. Oh, well. He was nice in either case.

I’m eating at the Pizza Hut across from my gate because I’m starving and Jim gave me enough Q’s for pizza and two bottles of water.

I’m going to lose an hour in Houston, but I didn’t bring anything back with me so customs should be fast.

Oh, and I got frisked again. I don’t like it.

Location: Flight CO444 somewhere between GUA and IAH
Time: 1:45 pm

Holy crap! It’s the same freakin’ priest from before!

I asked him how his trip was, and he said he got amoebas.

He’s so funny . . . .

Location: Houston Airport
Time: 6:30 pm

So I was standing in the shuttle going to Gate B and a bunch of teens ran on to the shuttle. They all turned and started cheering and chanting, and then that same crazy priest practically vaulted onto the shuttle just as the doors closed! He cracks me up!

Apparently their flight boarded 20 minutes ago, and they’re all running through the airport to make it before the plane leaves without them.

I should have talked to him more. I found out that they were from Tulsa doing some kind of work in Guatemala City. He seemed to be a really nice guy. I sure hope they made their flight all right.

Location: Flight CO2493
Time: 9:00-ish pm

On the last plane. Sounds liek there’s snow in Wichita, so it could be an exciting flight.  They’re overbooked too. Just by one but I think they got someone to volunteer to be bumped.

The plane is full of Kansans, and it’s great. There’s just something about Kansas people that I like. They’re friendly and good natured and simple.

The flight attendant is a lady, and she’s hilarious. She’s older. Maybe she should date the Muffin Man.

I really can’t wait to get home. It was a great trip, though. Maybe I can get another group together to go back in December. We have to make up our minds quick, though, since we’re competing with another group for the same week. And the other group has Mike Starling in it, and while I know I rock, Mike rocks harder. =) (If you don’t know who Mike Starling is, ask me sometime and I’ll tell you. He’s incredible.)

Shoot. I meant to put my socks on, and I forgot. Oh well. My feel will just be cold.

Location: Flight CO2493 somewhere between IAH and ICT
Time: 10:00 ish pm

I used the restroom on the plane. There’s a first time for everything, I guess. I drank too much water, I think. Anyway. Nothing catastrophic happened. Just a new experience. Had a lot of those on this trip.

Hey. That was lightning. I thought it was snowing. Not storming. Oh, well, it’s Kansas so it could be doing both.

And the flight attendant gave me a whole Coke Zero because no one ever asks for them. She’s totally my hero. Skip the Muffin Man; this gal rocks.

We’re coming in to Wichita now. It’s thirty degrees and snowing. I really have missed home. There’s no place like it.

Here we go. Landing in snow.

Guatemala Trip 2010 is done for me, but the results are yet to be seen. And who knows? Maybe I’ll get to go down again in nine months. That would be pretty stinkin’ awesome.


  1. Oh Amy…I smiled all the way through this journal! I can visualize everything that happened (and didn’t happen!) I love you and you definitely ROCK!!



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