Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Day 1 ~ The Journey to Pana

View From The Van Window

I started my day knowing exactly what to expect on our journey to Panajachel, as we had made our first trip here - by car, then plane, then van - in March, 2010, but nothing truly prepared us for the bumpy road ahead.

Last week's tropical storm devastated Guatemala and specifically the Department of Solola which was hit by landslides, mudslides, and raging rivers. Many roads remain impassable and others are just plain scary to navigate.

The photo above was taken from the van window as we (slowly and carefully) crossed a section of a cliffside road that had experienced a massive slide and was now faced with the constant flow of erosion causing rainwater. This is not a bridge that exudes confidence. We recall, last year, on a perfectly clear weather day, being asked by the policia to get out of our vehicle and cross on foot for fear that the road could not withstand the weight of a passenger full van. Needless to say, we all held our breath as we crossed.

Thanks to our wonderful driver and our faith, we arrived safely in Panajachel and then the magic began. There are few places on Earth that feel like home to me, but Pana is one of them.

Our group of 14 ladies and 1 man (David) enjoyed a lovely evening at the home of Sharon and Dwight Poage, two of the three founding members of Mayan Families, the organization that we are serving this week. We were treated to a tortilla making lesson by Gloria, using an Onil wood burning stove, and we were touched by slide show presentations and welcome speeches made by members of the staff. Before we even lifted a finger, we felt like we were already making a difference.

I can hardly wait to get to know my Mission Team this week. Each person has such an interesting story as to how they came to know Mayan Families. We span many decades with teammates in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s, and - after just a few hours together - I know for sure that the week will be full of laughter and fun.

Mission work really doesn't feel like work at all. It's all about human interaction... working together and helping others.

And so, the first leg of our travels is over but the true journey is just now beginning. The road to Pana tells me that I may indeed be in for new experiences this time. I am ready. I am excited. My heart is open... and it is singing (in Spanish).

Hasta manana,


1 comment:

  1. I can't believe the photo. I'm so glad you made it to Pana!