Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Antigua, Guatemala

This last weeks have been a true whirlwind of activity in Honduras. I have tasted my first baleadas (a delicious concoction of tortillas, cheese, avocado, eggs and beans), taught my first piano classes completely in espanol, taught my first English classes to grade 4-6 students at Camp Hope, and met many great new people. It has been exciting to see my piano students starting to play piano pieces for the first time!

One highlight of this last week was that I had the opportunity to go on a seven hour bus ride from Copan Ruinas, Honduras to beautiful Antigua, Guatemala with some friends. Although Antigua is definitely a major tourist destination here, it was a great chance to learn more about Latin American culture as we watched the Semana Santa processions going through town. It was also an opportunity to take some time to relax and reflect on what I have been learning here.

In Antigua I also decided to fully embrace my role as a tourist gringa (a nickname applied to any and every white person, although it technically only refers to Americans) and take lots of pictures - something I never have time to do in Copan Ruinas! Here is a sampling from my experiences in Antigua:

I really loved the walls throughout Antigua - and in all of Latin America! They are just rich with texture, character and history.


Me standing by the cross overlooking Antigua and the volcano behind the city!

One of the beautiful cathedrals in Antigua.

I also had an amazing opportunity to help a group of people making alfombras in the street. These are pictures made with sawdust in the street. They are walked on during the Semana Santa processions in which people carry massive statues of Christ through the streets. Alfombras are created to beautify the streets and prepare them for the coming of Christ. More pictures of this will come!

I was able to read a substantial portion of Tolstoy's War and Peace - for those of you who have not yet read it, I urge you not to be discouraged by its length as it is a good read! One line that has stuck with me as I think about the sadness and poverty and struggles faced by people here (and everywhere!) on a daily basis is an expert of the thoughts of a Russian soldier at the moment of falling injured in battle:

"How quiet, peaceful, and solemn, not at all as I ran," thought Prince Andrew - "not as we ran, shouting, and fighting, not at all as the gunner and the Frenchman with frightened and angry faces struggled for the mop: how differently do those clouds glide across that lofty infinite sky! How was it I did not see that lofty sky before? And how happy I am to have found it at last!" - Tolstoy

Although the world around us can feel like a battle, there is a bigger picture that we can embrace. The battles and struggles of today are nothing compared to the infinite grace and power of God, and I think that we can all benefit from taking the time to gaze up at the sky and realising that life is bigger than what we see in the here and now.

Anyways, these are a few of my thoughts and experiences these days. I will try to add more photos of the Semana Santa processions in a future blog post. Thanks for reading!

And tonight a special hello goes out to the lovely Kasadee  - missing you and all my other lovely friends in Canada :)

Sunday, 18 March 2012


I have not had much time to take pictures over the last week, but here are a few to give you an idea of where I am living.

This is a picture of the gorgeous view I can see from my room. Copan Ruinas is in the middle of a valley, so there are hills all around us - not unlike Abbotsford!

My home! We call it the Castle.

The view to the right of the Castle...

and the view to the left of the Castle!

We took children living in the Nueva Esperanza neighborhood to the ferria - a big fair that is going on in Copan Ruinas. The fair is to commemorate the foundation of Copan, and there have been concerts and events happening in the central park all week. I was not able to take many pictures at the ferria as it was very crowded, but hopefully this gives a bit of a glimpse of all the fun that taking a group of children to the fair can be!

I will try to take more photos as the weeks progress. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

First Days in Copan...

Welcome to my FIRST EVER blog post!

As many of you know, after a one week delay due to illness, I recently made the journey from Abbotsford, BC to Copan Ruinas, Honduras. Today is my third full day living in Copan and so far I am loving it! To explain a bit about why I am here and what I am doing, I am volunteering with an after school program for kids in the Copan area through Urban Promise Honduras, and am also teaching piano through Genesis School of the Arts. I am excited to be here and continue working with kids, learn more about Honduran culture, practise Spanish, and see how God can use me here and what He is going to teach me.

This post is going to be brief, but here are a few of the highlights thus far:

- Waiting in a hot bus stuck in traffic for 30 minutes because the engine suddenly stopped.
-  The feeling of relief when a new bus came to pick us up from the broken down bus to take us to the bus that would take us to Copan.
- Meeting lots of new people who I will be living and working with while here in Copan.
- Walking everywhere on cobblestone streets!
- Palm trees everywhere!
- The fact that it is WARM and SUNNY here and the forecast is for snow in Abbotsford. Words cannot express my deep love for summer.

There is my update. Today I will be starting to take Spanish classes, and will also be going to the after school camp where I will be helping out from now on. And tomorrow will be my first day of teaching a full day of piano lessons.

Pictures will come sometime soon!