Hola, bienvenidos to our adventure here in Guatemala! We are the Guatemala Gals and Nathan and we are so excited to share our trip with you, so fasten your seatbelts and get ready to tag along with us!

We started our day off today with 7:30 morning mass in Spanish. The church was alive with joy, music, and community. The people of San Lucas welcomed us with open arms, and even though there were so many people that some had to sit on plastic stools in the back or stand in the church courtyard, we were given seats within and throughout the church.

After Mass, we had a delicious breakfast that consisted of bread, beans, eggs with salsa, pancakes, and fruit! Then we were on our way to our boat for a day of exploring the different cities of Guatemala. It was a beautiful day on the water, the sky was so blue, and we had a fantastic view of the Volcan Toliman and Volcan Atitlan from our boat.

Our first stop was San Antonio! Here, we were welcomed by a local woman who gave us the inside scoop to a ceramics shop and her own clothing shop. San Antonio is well know for their unique pottery, and we got to see where and learn how it is made. Some of the ceramics had elephants on them, which we later learned is dedicated to a landform called the ’’Sleeping Elephant’’ and others had the Quetzal, which is the national bird of Guatemala and the local currency.

After we stopped at the ceramics shop, we went to the clothing shop that the local woman worked at. We learned the process of weaving the clothes, the significance of each article of clothing, and the meaning behind the colors that went into them. She asked for volunteers to show the process of dressing in the traditional clothing, which consisted of a skirt, shirt, special belt, and a band for the hair. We learned that the belt had a special meaning, and symbolized the strength of the Guatemalan women. She explained that each port city has its own color that represents them and that the color for San Antonio is blue. She then asked us if we wanted to go to the church nearby for a picture. The church, called ’’The Church of Love’’ had a beautiful lookout over el Lago de Atitlan and view of the volcanoes.

We headed back onto the boat and were off to Santiago! Once we got there, we headed up a big hill full of street vendors and markets to find some lunch. We made a pitstop at the church that was at the top of the hill after passing through a very busy and vibrant marketplace. We then stopped for lunch and tried some local Guatemalan cuisine which was muy delicioso! Then we did some shopping around town. We got handmade pants, bags, and jewelry from different vendors and some of us tried homemade ice cream! Then it was time to head back to San Lucas.

When we arrived, we hung out by the lake and found a big swing-set while we talked to some of the local people. Then it was time to head to dinner, which was chicken and spices, broccoli and carrots, and bread. After dinner we had reflection and talked about gratitude in our lives, and read a story about healthcare in Guatemala. We had some really good discussion, then wrapped up and headed home.

On our walk home, the power went out (which is why this is coming to you all a day late). We made the best of the situation though, and headed to the rooftop of our hotel to look at the stars. They were absolutely breath-taking. We learned that our group needs to touch up on our astrology, but we were able to find the Big Dipper, the Little Dipper, and Orion’s Belt. We also saw some shooting stars (volcanoes in the background and everything) and some fireworks.

After an exciting day of exploring and learning, it was time for good sleep to start off our week of service with the mission.

Signing off for now, (a day late).

Chao, ¡nos vemos a mañana!

Cata and Grace, and the Guatemala Gals and Nathan