Sunday, October 20, 2013

Guatemala - pt. 4, Caquiton Chiacal - playing with the kids and the women's hospitality

One thing that struck me over and over was how hospitable the people in Guatemala were. Our first two days in Caquiton Chiacal the women made us a wonderful lunch with either turkey or chicken legs, potatoes, broth, and freshly made corn tortillas. We weren't expecting such a wonderful lunch from them and our team had packed stuff for sandwiches which we didn't end up using. 

A couple of the women working on rolling out the tortillas.

Making the corn tortillas is a lot of work. They had a lot of corncobs hanging up to dry. We tried to ask how many corncobs there were and I don't remember how many they told us but it was in the hundreds. 

Once the corn (maize) is dry they remove what they need and then shuck the corn by hand. We got to try shucking the corn and it is hard to do! The Kekchi women are quite good at it but we of course struggled. Some of the kernels were really hard to get off. Layla really enjoyed it and was quite disappointed when we were finished shucking all the corn. None of the parts of the corn get wasted. The dried kernels are ground up to make flour and then used to make tortillas. The remaining part is used to help keep the cooking fire burning.



Nkele (the girl in the picture with the blue shirt and the hat) was in charge of facilitating the activities with the kids. Sidewalk chalk was a really big hit and got played with every day we were there.

We introduced hop scotch to them and the first day they weren't very sure about it. But by our third day the Kekchi children were trying to draw their own hop scotch games. The kids also started to try and count in English. All of us were able to count in Spanish and a few times the Kekchi children would count in Kekchi. It was fun trying to teach the children some English words and I tried to learn some Kekchi words. They laughed at me since I wasn't getting it quite right but I knew I wouldn't be able to pronounce their words the right way. But at least I gave it a shot!

The pastor's wife tried to teach Layla how to balance a jug on her head. They had some small plastic jugs that the young girls could practice with.


My girls quickly warmed up to the children and had a lot of fun playing with them. They'd often walk off holding hands to go play with chalk or something.

There was a lot of tickling and giggling. Some of the older girls loved to carry Sanaa and Layla around. Layla didn't really like to be held by anyone except for the girl in this picture that is tickling her.

Another activity that Nkele had was making bead bracelets and necklaces. This was a huge hit. After the younger girls made theirs some of the older girls and even the women jumped in and made some bracelets and necklaces!

Bubbles were another big hit and the kids would run around chasing the bubbles as they floated through the air. I think bubbles are a hit with any and all children!

There was a lot of soccer playing. Layla didn't really participate in it since I think the kids ran too fast for her, but Sanaa had a lot of fun kicking the ball back and forth with other kids.

Even the adults got into playing some soccer with the kids!

Watching Sanaa and Layla play with the kids was a lot of fun. They didn't need to know the language at all. Just playing catch, kicking balls, chasing bubbles, drawing with chalk, etc. was all the children needed and they all had a blast playing together. The girls were sad when our last day came to go Caquiton Chiacal. They had played with these kids for nearly three days and they were now their new best friends and it's always hard to leave good friends even if you don't speak their language.

When it came to food, I wasn't sure how Sanaa and Layla would do. They can very picky. However, while we were in Guatemala they were much more willing to try new things. Layla tried the fresh corn tortillas. She had a few bites and at first liked it but then changed her mind decided she didn't like it.

Sanaa really liked the turkey leg but wasn't a big fan of the corn tortilla.

The picture below is a shot of the lunch that they served us. Fresh corn tortillas, potatoes, either a turkey leg or chicken leg and broth.

I've often talked about how amazing Sanaa and Layla did on our trip and how flexible they were. Our bathroom arrangement while in Caquiton Chiacal (and other villages) was just another example of how adventurous the girls were. We used an outhouse and it wasn't fancy at all. The first day the girls weren't too sure about it, but after that they could care less and got use to using outhouses whenever we were out at a village.

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