On Friday our day was packed with unpacking the supplies we brought from 2W, setting up the laptops we donated, greeting women, and holding babies! We brought 4 suitcases packed with supplies for the school and children’s home and 4 new computers. We spent time setting up the computers with parental controls and showing them how to use the computers. We also took new books to the library in the school and spent time speaking English to the kids in the school.
The women’s conference kicked off and we welcomed 90 women. They worshiped and learned about the Lord and had amazing fellowship. Six of us were responsible for all 50 kids while the Mamas went to the women’s conference. Man was that an adventure! These kids have so much energy! We took them to the open-air covered sports arena on the grounds and played soccer (futbol) and tag. We ended the night with a traditional Guatemalan meal together with the women and let off lanterns over the mountain and lit sparklers!! It was the perfect ending to a perfect day!
Saturday, was the final day of the women’s conference. We continued with more messages, workshops, imonies, & worship. Again, we helped with the children and allowed the Mamas to have a much needed/well deserved break. We played futbol & basketball with the big kids, and painted the little girls nails.
Today is our final day at Eagle’s Nest. We will attend their church and then start our journey down to Pana, 15 minutes and 2,000 feet below Eagle’s Nest, for some zip lining and a boat tour on Lake Atitlan.
We are very sad to leave our new friends and the Eagles Nest family.
Hola amigos! Wow we have had a couple of packed days here at Eagles Nest. We will try to fill you in on our adventures so far…
Our first full day, Thursday, at Eagles Nest was a whirlwind! We started our day by going to the Nido de Aguila (New Day School) and participating in their morning program. It was amazing to see 185 students who come from several small villages to attend the school here. They were full of energy and ready for a great day! It was International Children’s Day and it is a big deal here in Guatemala. The children had parades, games, treats, and more! It was so fun to watch them get excited for the day ahead!
As school started we went on our way and Felis (our leader) gave us a tour of the facilities and shared more stories about how they ended up buying this bankrupt property for $150,000 which was negotiated down from $600,000. This “hilltop” view is breathtaking (see below)! Felis also shared with us their plans to continue to build out their ministry by building transition homes for the boys and girls to allow them to still have support while attending college. It is amazing to see the work that they have done and the structures they have built to accommodate as many children as they are given.
We ended our tour in the children’s home. There are about 50 little rascals in the home right now most of which are school age (k-6). We got to spend time holding, reading, drawing, and playing with the babies & toddlers and helping out the “Mamas” as they prepared lunch for the kids. We quickly grew bonds with all of these kids!
Our day didn’t stop there…(that was only 10AM)…we continued our day by helping prepare for the women’s retreat. Preparing for a 24 hour retreat for 90 women is a lot of work! We baked, made signs, bedazzled bags, glued, sewed, etc!
Next on our journey was probably the best part of the day for both of us! We were able to travel into the local (and we mean local) Guatemalan market with a couple who works for the home (Anayansi & Omar). Neither of them speaks English so they brought the 5 teenage boys who live in the children’s home with them along for the ride. We soon found that these boys are very sweet and also very good at speaking English (after they told us “no Ingles”). They helped tell us what the different fruits & vegetables were that Anayansi was buying. We made a deal that we would speak in Spanish and they would speak in English…that was a fun challenge! The market was packed full of produce, meats, cheese, and clothing. Our favorite part was to see all of the women dressed in their traditional Mayan clothing and trying all of the fruits before we purchased them.
By the end of the day we were exhausted. The next two days were going to be busy with the women’s retreat and helping in the home.
Today we embarked on our dreamBIG adventure! Thanks to 2nd Watch we are fortunate to be able to travel to Guatemala to volunteer in a children’s home and bring them much needed supplies and new computers.
Today was a day of travel…we started early this morning in Houston where we met up with a group of 10 women from Austin, TX who are also spending the week at Eagle’s Nest putting on a women’s retreat for 100+ Guatemalan women from around the area. When we arrived in Guatemala City we loaded our massive amounts of luggage (donations we brought) and 13 women onto an old school bus to start our 4 hour journey up the mountain to Solola. It was a beautiful (crazy!) drive and we were able to see a lot of the lush, green countryside. It was also very humbling to see how these families live as we drove through the little “towns” and realize how fortunate we are to live in America.
When we arrived at our destination, Eagle’s Nest, we were able to meet with the owners and learn about the history of the orphanage and the plan for the week. Tomorrow we will be able to meet the kids and give them all of the sports balls and other goodies that we brought for them.
Until next time…Adios!
Our new travel buddies from TX.
Guatemalan country side on our way to the children’s home.
Wow. How do I even start with the first day we had at Jehovah Jireh Haven Care Center? It was such an amazing experience. We had a tour of the JJH facilitie, and there were several moments that I was moved to tears. These folks do amazing things with what they have, but after the tour I only wished I could help more. The kids are so fun! They immediately flock to you and start asking questions about you and your family. Most of all, they just want to be held and have some affection.
We had the honor and pleasure of unpacking the donations 2nd Watch brought for JJH. Everyone was so grateful and happy. Many mentioned how “it was like Christmas.” We then began setting up the computers and ensured they were in good shape to provide long service with little maintenence required. We gave several students from Rhodes University enough information to begin providing the JJH kids instruction to begin successfully operating the computers for education.
In the morning we will be shopping for supplies to fix roofs in two buildings that are leaking and causing mold issues on the ceilings as well as building a nice workstation area for the new computers. We topped our day off with our wonderful bed and breakfast hosts, Jennifer and Brent, and our tour hosts, Rufus and Austin. We had an amazing fish dinner from the fish we caught the previous day. I keep asking myself how could this get any better!!
-Pete Irwin, Technical Manager
Most of the group arrived late last night via flights from Spokane to Atlanta to Johannesburg to Port Elizabeth. The 4am wake up was a little rough to head out fishing with Big John Charters in Port Elizabeth. What a day!
We saw the sun rise, caught a variety of Indian Ocean fish, saw a pod of dolphins, the colony of penguins that call St. Croix Island home and then topped it off with 2 battles with massive Raggy Sharks on the reef.
After cleaning up, we took the 2 hour ride to our home, The Golf Lodge B&B, for the next few days in Alexandria. We will be helping install the computer lab at J&J Orphanage tomorrow. The home owners, Jennifer and Brent, just prepped us for what to expect with the kids. I think we will make them smile!
What an amazing experience thus far and we look forward to meeting the children tomorrow.