Day One in Guatemala and it has already been quite the experience. We got in late last night and I don’t think many people went to bed immediately, so everyone was tired. Breakfast was at 7:30 and many of us couldn’t be bothered to change beforehand. Breakfast was delicious with many common breakfast foods like eggs and hash-browns as well as some new ones like black beans.
After breakfast we changed and went to church. Because I don't speak Spanish, I can’t say much about the words they used, but I was able to look around the actual church and Ashley translated a little of the pamphlet for me. The church was so large, and people kept coming in right up until communion, then after the service many people stayed afterwards to be blessed.
Their communion was very different from ours. There were four stations and they all served only wafers. The church itself was grand and intricate but it also seemed much more intimidating than a small church community like ours does.
After the service, I saw the priest going around and blessing people and one car. We walked around the market surrounding the church and then changed before attempting to get lunch in a restaurant.
The most noticeable thing about [the restaurant] was the atmosphere. Everything was chaotic but not in a bad way. As opposed to in America where everyone is assigned a seat and quite often have their food brought to them, everyone was finding their own seats and getting their own food. People sat at the same tables as strangers. Unfortunately, they were too busy to have us so had pizza and relaxed until dinner.
Over dinner, we met our Safe Passage guide, Kasidy, and she explained a little about how everything would work. One of the most obvious differences was the relaxed atmosphere. People sat in the back of truck trailers and drove with the doors open. The children played on the edge of the streets and many of the vendors were relaxed on the side of the road. Though it was very different from America, in some ways everything seemed more peaceful. People weren’t as uptight and the people who were around us seemed calmer. There was less technology and in some ways that seemed like a good thing. Today we got to play tourists and while it was fun, I for one can’t wait to meet the kids.