Thursday, April 15, 2010

Semana Santa

We hope you and your loved ones are doing well.

There has been a lot of activity in Santiago. The Easter week or “Semana Santa” is the largest celebration of the year here. It was a special time seeing the community come together in preparation for this holiest of celebrations.

The schools all let out the week before Easter and businesses worked half a week to begin preparing. There were many preparations going on, but the most beautiful was the making of “alfombras” or carpets. These are various religious images or images of flowers painstakingly made entirely out of brilliantly colored saw dust, colored gravel, flowers, and/or plant parts that almost fill the width of the streets. The alfombras cover about 10 blocks surrounding the church. On Good Friday, at least 60 men carrying a large platform with a figure of Christ on it, process through the streets over these alfombras. The procession is very slow. It starts around 3 pm on Good Friday and we heard continues throughout the night until it arrives back at the church at dawn. Our children lasted about 1 1/2 hours, not all night!

Christopher and Elizabeth enjoyed their week off from school and couldn’t figure out why we wanted to continue home schooling. They received their first report card and did very well with their lowest scores in English (we still can’t quite figure that one out) and Physical Education. Julianne also had a week off from preschool but kept asking when she could go again. Nicholas celebrated his 3rd birthday April 5 (our first family birthday in Guatemala). We enjoyed hot dogs, a cake, and playing with friends.

We moved into our permanent residence last week and we are excited to be settling down and not living out of suitcases. Brent and Jennifer continue in language school and we are finding language acquisition much more challenging than for our children. We will begin working at Hospitalito in mid May and are looking forward to working with and for the people of Santiago.

Peace and Love,

Brent, Jennifer, Christopher, Elizabeth, Julianne and Nicholas