Sunday, January 17, 2010


Well, I am in Guatemala!

I guess the best way to describe me now is overwhelmed but satisfied.

When I got through customs yesterday the Zamora’s were waiting for me with a big sign. I am so grateful to them for the transportation and translation. They assisted me in getting a phone and some basic necessities (ie. a coffee maker)! Settled now in my, possibly temporary room, I am still a little confused but confident I will find my place. It has been a little hectic here, but school starts tomorrow which will allow for a more scheduled pace. Tomorrow I will also begin to understand my role in this community and the plan for my service, plus I get to go to school!

Relaxing day. I spent the morning eating breakfast in one of the girls homes. I guess I should explain that the orphanage is divided into family units. Homes of 12-15 children, arranged by sex and age, with house parents, and all family-like activities are done in the home. This orphanage model is unique and inspirational, especially with the strong emphasis on the construction of family and the understanding of that means.

So anyway, I ate breakfast with the girls of the home next door to my room and they seemed both welcoming and confused. We did the best we could combining Spanish and English, and mostly I was able to observe the home, the interaction of the girls and parents and feel part of the community too! I went to church for the first time in years and also for the first time it was a church experience that I can relate to. I felt part of the worship, not an audience of it. There was no priest acting as a stand-in, no ceremonial offerings, not even a direct reading. Just a sharing of voices in spirited song, impromptu dancing (which happens to be the best kind), a peace offering to one another, and words about choosing a good path and believing in a larger plan. What is meant to happen will, but we have to be an agent of that meaning. If there is one thing I’ve learned in these past months it is that everything happens for a reason (and leave my cliché alone)!

So quick first thoughts:

I wish I knew Spanish more.
I could use a shower.
The community at this orphanage is truly beautiful.
That was the first time I really felt connected to a church service.
Names are going to be tough.
A Guatemalan grandmother will feed you until you literally burst (I guess this makes me feel at home).
The fruit is unique and amazing- It was a kiwi texture on the outside, but looked like a sweet potato, the meat on the inside was the color of watermelon or papaya, and the texture is best described as banana/avocado combo.
I should appreciate Wal-Mart more.


  1. Sorry i speak no spanish...what does Ayudame mean please?
    There are no showers? or you haven't found one yet?
    I'm glad you found a church service you like.
    What was the name of the fruit?

  2. Hi Liana - I'm glad to know that you made it to Guate safely and that you are settling in. I look forward to reading your blog and will dream that I am there also. I am very jealous that you will be there for 3 months. I'd love to be having the same adventure! Guatemala is a wonderful place and the people are some of the kindest folks in the world. Claudia sent me a coupe of photos that she took on Sunday while you guys were out shopping. Have a great time while you're there! Best, Susanna Coldiron, The Gladney Center for Adoption

  3. liana! this is all so exciting and i'm glad you got there safely! im jealous of that delicious fruit, and after living 5 months in israel, i ABSOLUTELY agree that i should appreciate wal-mart more. i can't wait to read more about your adventures! love love love you. -michelle

  4. So glad you made it safe. The boys and I are enjoying reading your posts. Hope you founds a shower :)