Saturday, March 08, 2008

From their fields to our table ... a local connection!!

This past week at Chipperfields, one of the Barista's noticed that the Just Us Coffee "Breaking the Silence" being served as part of the one month challenge, has its origins in the Lake Atitlan area of Guatemala. Kirsten was excited by the realization because a few months ago, she and a group of 12 others from the Minnedosa Covenant Church took a mission trip to the Lake Atitlan area.

Kirsten sent me an email along with the photos above describing her trip as follows:

Myself and a group of twelve people from Minnedosa Evangelical Covenant Church went to San Juan, Guatemala for ten days.

San Juan is on the edge of Lake Atitlan and we actually had to cross it on boat to get to the other side, where San Juan is located.

While we were there we held a 2 day VBS (vacation bible school) for the children of a school, that was on a Saturday and Sunday. Then for the other five days we did a work project in the morning, and taught classes in the afternoon.

For our work project we built a retaining wall 6 feet deep, 2 feet wide and 21 feet long. We dug the trench by hand, hauled rocks and mixed and hauled the cement. We had a paid foreman that instructed us and hired two workers, but the only tools we had were shovels, hoes, buckets and a wheel barrow.

It was very tough work and the temperatures were quite high.

In the afternoon we taught classes such as art, carpentry and choir.

I taught choir class, and taught them how to use small percussion instruments. We also taught them to sing the chorus in English and shared with them a little about Canada.

We did fun things, one including a ride on a zip line 200 ft above a canyon.

Pastor Dan travelled with myself and another girl to also went to a center for disabled children and adults for an afternoon. It was awful to see the lack of things they had. These people did not have proper facilities and lots of their needs were not able to be met because of lack of money, some did not have enough for a small wheel chair for the children and they had to be carried...

The facility was run by volunteers and one paid worker.

Many of us also decided to sponsor a child from the school that we were at, many of them are still unsponsored and need sponsors, but we were able to sponsor a few. and it is neat to be able to actually meet the child you sponsor and get a picture with them.

The area was very beautiful.. covered in trees, and all around there were mountains.. obviously not ones like the snow covered ones in Alberta ... but they were covered in trees ... there were lots of coffee crops all over.. and often you would see corn crops or other crops on the side of the mountain ... we had no idea how they harvested or planted them.

It was a beautiful area.. and they people were so unique and kind.

The children were delightful and we learned a lot about their culture with the help of our translators, because they only spoke Spanish and a dialect which I can't spell.

They were very welcoming and really appreciated what they had, which was not much.

Lots of people barely got by, and lived in very tiny houses, rundown houses, but they never once complained.


Thanks Kirsten, for telling us a little bit about a corner of the world that NOW is more than just a label on a package !!

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