Thursday, August 14, 2008

Flavors of Guatemala

What really got me started with this blog was my introduction to Mayan Families earlier this year. Michael and I had just sponsored our two students, Juana and Candelaria, and I was inspired by the blogs of other Mayan Families sponsors. Over the past months, my blog has expanded to cover various topics, but Guatemala is still at its heart.

Patti, who sponsors Juana and Candelaria's brother, Rafael, also traveled to Guatemala this spring. I asked Patti if she could write about some of her food-related experiences during her trip. What's particularly interesting is that this was her first time outside the US. Here are some of her recollections:

"Sounds of laughter carried through the Guatemala City Zoo. Brilliant colored flowers danced as the breeze tickled their stems. My son, Hunter, and I were very excited to visit Guatemala. It was the first time either of us visited outside of the great United States of America. Our trip to Guatemala was no ordinary trip. It was a humanitarian trip, one to see a wonderful organization, Mayan Families, in person to see how they really operated.

Before going to Panajachel, where Mayan Families is located, we went to the zoo in Guatemala City. Here, we watched beautiful animals such as lions and monkeys parade around in natural-looking environments. We watched small children and adults alike enjoy the zoo.

After walking around for quite some time, we decided it would be nice to sit down, have a cold drink and a snack. This was the first time we would encounter fried plantain. At first, the two of us were unsure of the plantain; however, with every bite, it grew on us. My son drank a Coke that came in a glass bottle as he enjoyed the plantain. I gulped down a refreshing bottle of water, perfect for the hot day.

This would be the beginning of wonderful experiences for our taste buds. Throughout the next week, we tried different types of rice, beans, seasoned chicken, and the list goes on.

One of our favorite drinks from Guatemala was the homemade hibiscus tea. In fact, we enjoyed it so much that just last week I ordered two pounds of hibiscus tea off of the internet. It's very delicious, and tastes like punch!

After visiting Guatemala City, we were on our way to Panajachel. What a difference three hours of driving can make. We encountered very poor families. Children lay on the sidewalk, too weak to move. During our stay in Panajachel, we were very busy running here and there, helping when we could at Mayan Families. We met wonderful children and families who appreciated every little bit of food they had.

So many times, our family has taken food for granted. We have over eaten, and we are also guilty of throwing away our leftovers. After visiting Panajachel, our lives have changed. We are trying to be a bit more frugal. We are saving up our money, so the rest of our family can go visit and help others.

In America, we could spend about five dollars on a value meal at McDonalds. Did you know that most families in Panajachel do not make five dollars for an entire week of work? Just imagine what we could do if we all worked together."

You can read Patti's blog here:


During this week's Celebration of Food, I respectfully ask my readers to consider making a donation of any size to the hunger-related charity of their choice.

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