Our 2008 Humanitarian Holiday was a great success, with twelve people traveling to the Lake Atitlan area of Guatemala to participate in various projects

 

Day 1

Arriving at the airport in Guatemala after a pretty grueling travel schedule

 

Everyone manages to fit into the van even with all those suitcases

 

 

The first glimpse of Lake Atitlan

 

 

It really is beautiful

 

The suitcases are full of donated items for Mayan families

Look Mom, I made it!

 

Day 2

 

Each suitcase needs to be unpacked and the donated items sorted

 

There is a mountain of shoes and clothes to distribute

 

Shoes are especially needed

 

This guy gets new runners

 

Special gifts are given to sponsored students

 

And are very happily received

 

Samuel demonstrates how to put an Onil stove together

Everyone is keen to get their new stoves

 

Day 3

A team visits a student's family in Panajachel

 

We are welcomed into their home

 

The kitchen is out back

 

We put in our first stove

 

We meet new friends and find that speaking different languages really doesn't matter

 

And discover that some of them can really use the shoes we brought!

 

We visit the town of San Jorge, where we'll be doing many of our stove installations

A closer view of some of the houses in San Jorge

 

Day 4

Our favorite mode of transportation

 

A new friend

 

A stove team gets an impromptu tortilla making lesson

The tortillas are cooked on the family's new stove

 

Rain starts in the afternoon and the vendors across from our hotel cover up their stands

We discover that when it rains in Guatemala, it really pours!

 

Day 5

We visit San Jorge again and take a good look at the church

 

Not everyone has the benefit of a clean bathroom facility

 

But kids are kids everywhere, and they all seem to like watermelon!

 

There's time for some of us to play with the kids while others are installing a stove

 

The end of the day finds us handing out more shoes and clothing

This little fellow gets a brand new sweater and pair of shoes

 

Day 6

Today we give out chickens and chicken feed to needy families

 

People arrive with every kind of container for their chicks....

 

Baskets, boxes, bags...

 

Some lucky kids also get toys

 

We are able to visit the home of Elvis, Walter, and Eddy....students sponsored by Nanoose Bay Elementary School

 

And get to see the new house that has been built for their family

 

The family is very grateful and we are treated to a beautiful "thank you" speech

We finish off the day with a boat trip on the Lake

 

Day 7

We make the trip to Chichicastenanga, one of the largest markets in Guatemala

 

There's lots to see and buy.....and it's all sooooo cheap!

 

Corn of all kinds is for sale

It's the staple of the Mayan diet

 

Day 8

We get a lesson on preparing a typical Mayan meal

 

First, we make a bunch of Tamales from a corn mixture wrapped in corn husks

 

Then we learn how to make tortillas.....it's not that easy!

 

Tomatoes are roasted on the stove and will soon be turned into salsa

 

The soup is a from a recipe reserved for special occasions

 

Plantains are fried to a golden brown and then sprinkled with sugar

 

There's no doubt that the best part of the day is finally sitting down to eat the meal we prepared

It's Glendy's sixteenth birthday, and the group all pitches in to buy her this beautiful traditional outfit

 

Day 9

We visit a small school in the village of Tierra Linda

 

And hand out much needed school supplies to the students

 

Everyone gets a pen or pencil

 

And they are grateful even for such a small gift

 

We finish the day off installing a couple of stoves and visiting

All that work can make you pretty tired!

 

Day 10

The girls start the day by dressing up in traditional costumes

 

Then on to our last visit to San Jorge to deliver food and corn to a needy family

 

This gentleman is wearing the traditional Mayan costume for men

 

We also get to check up on the repair of a house of one of our sponsored students

 

Then we say goodbye to Panajachel and the Lake Atitlan area....

....and hello to Antigua

 

Day 11

This day starts with a drive to Pacaya Volcano

Then of course, there's the hike up...

 

......and up.....

 

....and up!

 

But it's worth it when you get to stand this close to molten lava

So close, the bottom of our shoes were getting hot!

 

The end of the hike

Following this day, we all went our separate ways. Some went on to the ruins of Tekal, others went to the Cahabon River, and still others to Guatemala City and a plane home. A really wonderful time was had by everyone.