Sometimes, it takes a volcano

“The choice to love is a choice to connect, to find ourselves in the other.”
bell hooks

Three months ago, I was beginning to think about my trip to Guatemala and how to prepare for it. Two months ago I had just returned from Guatemala and knew that my life was uniquely transformed. One month ago I fumbled about in the ramp up of clients that accompanies the beginning of the school year.  Today, I return to writing here, certain that my responsibility is to share the voices of those I meet.

A month ago, a volcano erupted in Guatemala: Volcan de Fuego.  During my trip, I had seen and taken pictures of many volcanos (from afar); Juan Carlos and Andres had assured us that most of them were dormant or inactive.  I felt safe–the volcanos were like the marketplaces: different than what I’d see at home, but common landscape in Guatemala.

I stopped posting here for many reasons, but one of them was I got stuck navigating my schedule change.  Schedule transitions are always rough for me in the beginning before I hit a new stride and this one was taking longer than they usually do.  My days were filled with clients, traffic, appointments, cleaning, rock climbing, not to mention the basics like sleeping and eating.  No time to write. No time to ground in Guatemala. No time to breathe. Continue reading

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We’ve only just begun

6 a.m. was our departure from the Casa Retiros.  To work backwards, that meant that breakfast began at 5:30, and wake up, 4:30. My earliest meetings, at home in the States, start at 10 am—that’s a stretch for me.  My favorite time of day is morning, where I ease in—often with the same routine: skinny coffee and a book in my pajamas; an hour later, breakfast; then gather and prep for the day.  I had no coffee with me, and if I had chosen to leisurely enter my day, my wake up would have been 3:00 a.m. for a day devoted to manual labor.  No thank you.

Breakfast eaten, teeth brushed, bag packed (complete with baby wipes, sunblock, bug spray, construction gloves, and other Mary Poppins items), we left at 6 a.m.  Why so early? Two words: city traffic.  Although Casa Retiros is just outside Guatemala City, it would take an hour to reach our work site in Zona 7.   Andres and Juan Carlos would pick up the police from city hall after they dropped us off.  In the interim, Alto Gracia and Sr. Esperanza (from St. Francis Coll) and Ever (a policeman who worked at Paso a Paso 2x/week) would keep an eye on us. Continue reading