Here in August of 2009, I led a team of 3 to Guatemala at the invitation of the moderator of the Presbyterian Church.
Following up on a presentation last year by another member of the PRMI ministry, we were invited to address their annual pastors training event at Mt. Zion Camp, about 45 minutes away from the airport in Guatemala city.
The whole story will be broken up into 3 posts (links active when others are published):
- Getting to Guatemala
- Sunday Preaching at Central Presbyterian
- The Pastors Conference in Guatemala.
Getting to Guatemala
My flight was a bit delayed, and the only other hitch was my ground connection was a little late. My teammates came in on a Delta flight earlier in the day.
As we were driven to the camp in a beat-up 4 door pickup, I saw many familiar sights as typical in latin america. Lots of painted advertising on cement one story structures, lots of pedestrians. What was different was seeing alot of the women wearing Mayan traditional clothing. Guatemala city is built on mountains ridges so the descent to the camp was steep and fast. This is one country that hopefully has a good brake inspection system.
Arrival at the camp
Mt. Zion camp is a beautiful but sligtly rustic camp. We had indoor plumbing, but no hot water. Some of the cabins had bathrooms in separate cabins. Our toilet didn’t have a seat.
Daniel, the camp administrator welcomed us, showed us around, and turned out to be a great host. With some instructions, he left us with word that he’d pick us up for dinner.
We used the afternoon to unpack, rest a little from the travel. He also gave us a tour of the office, some introdcutions to staff and the like.
Most of the staff lives on site, and each staff member has at least two chickens. We saw plenty of those chickens everywhere. Lots of dogs around too.
The camp turned out to be more humid than expected, and no where near as frigid cold as Vida Joven’s camp in Matagalpa Nicaragua. We expected overnight temperatures in the 50s from weather reports, but don’t think it ever got that cold. No jackets were needed. Sleeping bags were too much. We would have been fine with blankets.
The scenery was its own beatuiful vista. The camp overlooks a beautiful but polluted lake. From our distance, it doesn’t look polluted, but it was. Algae blooms gave it a green tint. No boaters on it except the olympic team in training. Fishermen might be on it, but only for catch and release. Common words shared with me was don’t eat it. This is the view from the dining hall.
However, mosquitos, roaches, spiders, bees, and flies were plentiful. Bug spray is an absolute must, wearing it nearly every day to keep it at minimum.
Rainy season meant mud. Mud tracked everywhere. An umbrella would have been more helpful than a jacket.
In our cabin, flip flops were a must to keep your feet clean, but make sure they had bugspray. I got bit something fierce on my right leg that may very where have been a spider bite. About 10 welts on my right calf.
Food for the trip
Most of the food during the trip turned out to be wonderfully typical.
- Pureed black beans and cheese with everything.
- Platanos of some kind nearly every meal.
- Corn meal used rather frequently.
- Tamales, and they also liked some picante for their food.
- Lots of tomoatoes, fresh fruit, and fresh bread nearly every morning.
- The boiled corn on the cob, rubbed with lemon and a little salt was new, and tasted just fine.
We asked for typical food and had plenty of it.