Friday, June 9th - Antigua:

Believe it or not, we got up at four, loaded the minibus, and then left shortly after five to drive from San Cristobal back to Guatemala City...

and from there on into Antigua.

We checked into the Hotel San Jorge which was run by yet another of Jewel Anita's friends

Antigua was the Spanish capital of Guatemala in the 1600s until an earthquake decimated the city, and the capital was moved to Guatemala City. While still retains much of the feel of an Old World Spanish town, there are old ruins intermixed with modern construction.

Some of the old buildings have been restored to their former glory...

others are simply preserved as relics of the past.

In some cases, even modern construction is delibrately made to appear ancient. This cafe is less than 15 years old.

After registering at the hotel, we left our bags and visited the marketplace. Some of our group stayed for intensive shopping, while the rest of us were lead by Jewel Anita on a quick tour of some of the ruins. We spent most of our time at a preserved convent.

This was a doughnut-shaped choir room located beneath the sanctuary. The near-parabolic ceiling and circular room created strong resonances, magnifying the sound of singing voices. Five of us sang the doxology, and it felt as if we were a choir of twenty-five.

Crossing a plaza on the way to regroup...

we then met with the rest of our group at another small cafe and had a quick lunch.
It seemed that every tenth car on the street that passed stopped say hello to Jewel Anita.

We then reboarded the van and headed to the Agua Viva orphanage to visit with Jean Kilpatrick and the kids.

When we first arrived, it was raining so hard that the noise of the rain on the corrugated metal roof precluded conversation for the first five minutes. We just smiled at one another, realizing that conversation was impossible. Once the rain began to let up, the introductions began. Within three minutes of meeting David, Jean realized that he was a doctor and began thrusting sick kids, mostly new arrivals, into his arms to examine.

The first little boy had apparently been taken in because of abuse, with bruise marks covering his arms. Two recently-arrived 1.5-year-old children appeared to have worms and sinusitis. There was adorable little eight-year-old girl who had a case of strep throat. Fortunately, the formulary there at the orphanage was adequately stocked, and they had the appropriate medications on the shelves already. The orphanage depends on donations of medicines and supplies, primarily from stateside churches, and now maintains a reasonably well-stocked commissary.

While Dave and I were dealing with the sick children, the others in the group were socializing with the healthy majority. Many of the kids recognized team members who had visited in years past.

Jean then gave us a short tour of the campus. They have had substantial improvements in the past few years, including the tile floor and metal roof on the dining hall and in the dormitories. The view from the hill the orphanage sat on was quite impressive. We caught a glimpse of a nearby volcano, but clouds obscured most of the view.

Shortly thereafter we returned to Antigua to celebrate Jewel Anita's birthday, albeit a few months late. We went to a steakhouse with a strong Antigua accent, somewhat of a contrast to the week before.

We then returned to the hotel and presented Jewel Anita with a half cheesecake/half carrot cake birthday cake, and the trick candles that don't blow out.
our rendition of "Happy Birthday"

We then blew up some balloons, losing a few to a nearby cactus.

We then gathered in one of the rooms to reflect on the week, sing a bit, and pray. Then it was time to sleep.

Thursday - Back to index page - Saturday