Sorry about the lull in posts… Life happens sometimes and I have been busy these past two weeks with work/holiday hours and then out of town photo shoots. I am back however! AND this just stretches the Guatemala experience out more for you all since I have a few more posts to share after this one as well!
Our last segment of mission and outreach work was giving two women’s health and hygiene talks in two different villages. The first village we went to was the one we had put stoves in and the second was where the clinic was located. So we were very familiar with both and saw familiar faces at both talks. We broke our groups into two, one group for the women’s talk and the other group for children’s ministry. The ones in children’s ministry did crafts, played games, blew and made balloon animals, etc. The women’s talk group broke up our talk into five parts; hygiene, feminine hygiene, diabetes, electrolytes and rehydration, and then stretches between each section. The stretching was mainly because many of the Mayan women will weave in a curled position for about eight hours a day, as well as many are bent over their stoves cooking for their families. We wanted to give them some ways to stretch their sore backs and get their blood moving.
My section to talk about was hygiene… I shared the benefits of washing one’s hands, how to wash your hands properly, when to wash your hands, and even sang happy birthday to show how long to wash your hands for. I then taught how to cough properly as well to avoid the spread of germs. The other ladies then each talked about each of the other topics sharing tips and information to try and help these women live a healthier life. We reiterated a lot that a happy healthy family started with the women taking care of themselves so they were healthy for their family. So often enough the women are working all the time, taking care of their family, weaving and trying to sell their weaves, etc. that they often put themselves on the back burner. We all do that sometimes… put ourselves on the back burner. It is so important though to take care of ourselves and it is not selfish at all to check in and take some rest or take care of yourself for a bit.
We had a translator that worked with us for the talk. She was the sweetest lady ever and so gorgeous on the inside and outside. It was interesting and a very different experience working with a translator though. You had to remember to not talk for too long or it would be too much for the translator to remember. You also had to speak at the women present not towards the translator, even if the women couldn’t understand what you were saying. It was connecting and drawing them in, being aware of them as well as the translator. It was definitely very fun. At our first talk Maria and her daughter who we had built stoves for came and it was so wonderful to reconnect and talk with her. They were the only two ladies that showed up so it was very personal and Maria had so many good questions. The second talk we had a family with three generations come as well as a couple other lovely ladies and the nurse from the clinic was there as well. After both talks we shared tostadas with the women and all the children as a yummy snack before they all left. My goodness those tostadas tasted amazing. They were so simple yet so incredibly delicious. A flat taco, black beans spread on top with some salsa and then sprinkled cheese. Yummy yummy yummy!
One of my highlights of these couple days was watching my dad interact with all the children. He is so good with kids and each time I would look out he would be surrounded by a group of laughing smiling children. There was one time he started blowing bubbles up a hill and then children would run chasing them, laughing and trying to pop them before coming back to my dad for more. It was just really sweet to watch. Dad and I also had a really fun time talking with a young man there. My Spanish held up enough to find out that he was a runner and his uncle was a famous runner and that he ran the hills around the villages all the time. Beast mode!
These talks wrapped up the end of our mission work on our trip as the rest of our time in Guatemala was spent exploring and learning about the culture, cacao, and much more. I loved though how eye opening this experience was. How being in the Mayan villages reminded me of how much I take for granted and how many things in my life that I think are necessary really aren’t in the long run. Family is huge. Living each day fully is huge. Enjoying the little moments is huge. Stopping and just enjoying the slowness of life is so important. So often enough we see poor cultures and automatically feel pity, but it’s not until you visit and really open your eyes you see the richness. You see the love and suddenly just feel so honored to get to be even a small part of the culture and lives of these incredible people.