Before I proceed further into the adventure, I want to show you (and share with you about) our guides for the week: Juan Carlos and Andres. Juan Carlos, our driver, and Andres, our translator/guide extraordinaire, were a team–like Batman and Robin, or Ozzie and Harriet–and they expertly walked our group through the week.
Here are some visuals, so you can see them.
I love this picture of Andres laughing. He laughed the whole week. Especially at dinner where the teens grilled him every single evening about his girlfriend. They wanted to know everything. He answered like a champ and even gave the boys some lessons on how to ask a girl for a kiss. Such joy and hospitality.
Here’s another shot of Andres from the first day. The kids were in love with his spiked hair.
Here are shots of Juan Carlos. Juan Carlos always smiled and it crinkled up his eyes; when I smile, my eyes often do the same thing and I’m self-conscious about it. Such a gift to see someone else whose joy and life cause him to smile so widely as well.
This picture was taken in the space we cleared out during the week. Often the table held our water bottles. Juan Carlos wore stylish cowboy boots every day. I think in this picture he’s watching supplies as they are transported in wheelbarrows. Juan Carlos works with a tourism company; during International Samaritan’s busy times, he shuffles around their groups. During the rest of the year, he works with translators and tourists who come to Guatemala. Often, he doesn’t see his family for days at a time. Although Juan Carlos drives a bus, he doesn’t own a car. Every day he takes the public bus to his job, where he picks up his bus!
I love this picture from our weekend travel.
When I see this photo, I sigh and I smile. Juan Carlos’ joy and presence were consistent throughout the week. Once he learned that I was using my Spanish, he would do little things for me. One day he brought me a daily paper to look at in the bus. While we were on the boat here, he pointed out the three volcanos in the area and told me their history. Sunday was our last full day of activity; he brought me a gift–a bank that was the 25 centavos coin–just a small gift, but something to help remind me of my time in Guatemala. As if I could forget it. I’ll tell you more about the bank later.
A few more words about Andres and his background.
Andres studies at university to be a translator; his classes are in Guatemala City and he travels there daily from Antigua. He grew up in Antigua and is in his late 20s. We also got to meet his father later in the week. Andres has been working with International Samaritan for quite a bit. That’s the “on paper” version. Stay tuned for the more juicy, real-life version.
These two men were our servants the whole week. Without them, our experience would have been missing so much. They lived, breathed, spoke hospitality and welcome. I am ever grateful.