Trip to the San Marcos area

In mid August, Ken and I took a quick trip to the San Marcos area. We drove from Patzun to Comitancillo and spent the night. The hotel where we stayed was new - actually not open yet, but they let us stay. (The other hotel we were thinking about staying in was closed for repairs.) I don't know if I would stay in this hotel again, because it was on the edge of a cliff, and the driveway getting down to it was rather steep. (Ken says it was probably about a 45-degree slant.) With all the landslides that have happened in this country this rainy season, I'd rather not be too close to a cliff. Also, the bathroom ceiling leaked - through the light fixture! The curtains on the windows were fairly sheer. Other than that, it wasn't all that bad for Comi.


How would you like to hitch a ride like this?
I guess the inside of the car was full.

The next day we drove to the Getsemani - Mam Center to visit with the care-taker, Ruben. He and his boys were happy to see us. They showed us how they make rope.

We then drove on to Tajamulco, picked up a friend, and drove to Malacate where we visited some church members as they were working on their new church building. They are putting 2 rooms on the lower part of the property (built on a mountain-side) and the sanctuary on top. We were encouraged to see how much they had done on their own.

Lower 2 rooms

Site for the sanctuary
(The lower rooms are on the other side of where the men are standing.)

We stayed and talked; Ken giving advise and opinions when asked. At lunch time, one of the members invited us to his home for lunch.

After lunch we drove back to Tajamulco, dropped off the friend that rode with us, and then went on to Tuililen to see the widow of our pastor friend, whom the Lord took home 2 1/2 years ago. We were able to visit with her a little before heading back home. It had started to rain again and it's hard getting in and out of the road to her house when it's raining. We did NOT want to get stuck (We were in the four-wheel drive trooper.)

We were able to drive back home arriving late that night. It was a busy, but great trip.

WET, WET Rainy Season

This year has been the wettest rainy season we've had since coming to Guatemala 20 years ago. The season started off in May with Hurricane Agatha which dumped a lot of water on the country. (Agatha hit two days after the Volcano Pacaya dropped black ash (looking like black snow) on the capital city.) Since Agatha, there have been many other tropical storms. The ground is so saturated, that it has caused countless landslides, bridges to be wiped out and trees to fall. The four lane Pan American highway is down to just two lanes in many places. The rains continue and the ground gets soggier. Needless to say, we are anxiously awaiting dry season this year.

These pictures are all taken on the road between Patzun and Panajachel. They by no means show all the problems on the road caused by the rains.

Fording the river because the bridge is no longer there.

Another view of the washed-out bridge

There used to be a bridge in front of this landslide.
(The bridge was in bad shape before this problem occurred.)
Now we drive over the land bridge made by the slide.

In the town of Santiago, Atitlan, the lake-side city park is now a water park because Lake Atitlan has risen several meters!!

Summer 2010

Time has gotten away from me. We've had a busy summer and early fall, so far.
In June, we had an intern from Tulsa, OK, come to help us for two weeks. Hillary was a GREAT help.

In July, a team from Dallas, TX came to help us. It rained a lot while they were here, but they were troopers! They helped install more "Onil" stoves in poor homes. They also started work on a building for a water purification system. My best friend and her daughter came with the group! It had been a long time since they had visited Guatemala.

Installing a stove

Explaining how the stove works

Preparing to make concrete by hand

Preparing the footings


Then at the end of the month, a group from Tennessee came to install the purification system and to teach the benefits of using clean water. Thank you, team!

Showing how the system works

Ana teaching hygiene/clean water class to adults
(She taught the school children too.)

June 4, 2010

On Wed., June 2, we took veteran missionaries David and Helen Ekstrom from the capital back to their home in Huehuetenango. On Thurs., they celebrated their 60th anniversary.

Happy 60th, David & Helen!

I was able to go with them to their anniversary breakfast at a local restaurant. (Ken was sick, so wasn't able to go.) I made rhubarb pies for lunch, using rhubarb from their garden! Yum!

On the trip to and from Huehue we saw a lot of the destruction that tropical storm Agatha caused in the highlands of Guatemala. The Pan-American highway has MANY landslides, blocking two lanes of the highway, or has simply been washed away.

Landslide covering two lanes of traffic

Someone lost their crops!

One section of the cement road disappeared.

This was NOT caused by Agatha. Nevertheless, we had to be careful!

On Friday morning, we left to return to Patzun. (Ken was still sick, so I drove.) Within five minutes after we arrived in Patzun, we got a call from our gardener in the capital saying that thieves had climbed our wall, beaten him, tied him up and broken into our house. We left immediately to find our home ransacked and our Caravan gone.

We couldn't walk into our bedroom, because of the mess they had made.

Our bed - where they looked for jewelry.

Remnants of my bell collection.
They must have thrown them across the room where they broke hitting against each other.

We lost many things, but are thankful for God's protection for our gardener and us.

May 27-30 2010

On Thursday, May 27, a group from Tulsa, Oklahoma, came.

A few hours after they arrived the airport closed because the volcano, Pacaya, near Guatemala City erupted, raining black ash over the city. (Usually, when Pacaya erupts, the ash is blown southward out to sea. However, sometimes the wind blows it north over the city. This has happened two times in the 20 years we've lived here.)

Cleaning up the ash at our home in the capital

On Friday, Tropical storm Agatha started pounding Guatemala with rain. We had probably 18-20 inches in about 48 hours. That's a LOT of rain. The group was able to get some things done, even with the bad weather.

Wet workers!

The group preformed a drama for the school, and the church.

As a result of the rain, many landslides occurred. One especially affected us by washing out the road beside a one lane bridge on the road between Patzun and Guatemala City making the road impassable. When the group was ready to leave on Sunday morning, May 30, Ken took them as far as the bridge. He and a couple of other men walked over the bridge, got a ride to the nearest town, contracted a bus, that came and took the group into Guatemala City. (They walked across the bridge, with all their luggage!) They had other activities to do in the capital until they returned home. Getting back home was an ordeal. Since the airport had been closed for a week, they bought bus tickets to El Salvador, and flew from there. (One family had to go on to Honduras to get a flight.)

The rains showed us once again, that our room in Patzun has many leaks. Besides the roof having problems, the wall against our bed was wet. Water got down between the wall of Alfa & Omega, and the neighboring wall. The two walls make a dam, which when full, seeps water down on the floor in our room. That is the reason our floor stays moist, moldy and dirty.

One of the things Ken had hoped the group could do while they were there was to put a new water tank up on the tower. However, the tank did not arrive until the day after the team left Patzun! Thankfully, men from the church were able to help Ken.

April 13 -- Happy Birthday, Ken

Our church here in Patzun gave Ken a surprise birthday celebration today.
It was a very special time.

The church ready for the celebration - complete with pine needles to give a festive aroma

Women preparing the special meal

(Tortilla dough boiled in corn husks)

The service

Everyone stood in line to congratulate Ken.

Enjoying the meal after-wards - without the use of a spoon!
(The tamalito wasn't much help with all the sauce.)

The Patzuneros were more adept at eating with tamalitos than the three North Americans! However, a few asked if they could borrow some of our spoons so that the young children could eat. (The church does not have flatware. Actually, that would be a good project for someone to help with --- flatware for Alfa y Omega.)

the youngest attendee (2 months)