Monday, March 31, 2014


April first.  April fool's day.

In Spanish it is called Day of the Innocents, but it is not quite the same.
If you ask someone to lend you $10 and they lend it to you, you don't have to pay them back.
The 1st was Tuesday and also the day when transfers were announced.  Transfers for the missionaries happen every 6 weeks.  A missionary will get transferred every 5 or 6 months.  Anyway, the zone leader got up and started announcing who was leaving, and every time he called a name there was surprise, and then sadness: "oh, elder so and so is leaving".  At the end he told everyone, April Fools.  When he called out the real transfers it was still sad to say goodbye to the ones who were moving somewhere else.

We were able to go to the temple in Quetzltenango last week.  It sits up on the side of the mountain that surrounds the valley.  Everyone refers to Quetzaltenango as Xela (shay-la).  I think it is an old Mayan name for this place.

Almost at the top of the mountains are field of vegetables - carrots, cabbage, onions, potatos, etc.  Some of the  fields look like 45 degrees, but nothing is terraced.  Look close and you'll see people in the field above.

 We were driving to the chapel (in the background) and saw a family carrying firewood to their house.

 It is a verv common sight.  The majority of people cook over open fires outside the house.  The rainy season is coming next month, so you seem to see more people carrying wood, in preparation for the rain.

It is hard to see, but this guy is carrying a log.

 Taken thru the windshield, these fronds are about 4 feet wide.

Typical construction.  Houses are all cement, no wood (termites).  Vicky wants to paint our house this color ☻

 Here is their stash of firewood.

A pueblo on the way to the temple.  Cabbage growing in foreground.

 Rafael, in the wheel\chair was baptized 2 months ago.  Last week his wife Mikaela was baptized (dressed in white).

 I think we should get one of these to take people to church.  We could get at least 12 people in there.  He delivers bottled water.

 This is a popular place.  They have stores all over the city.  Like Kentucky Fried chicken, but not as good.

 Last week was Semana Santa, getting ready for Easter week.  They have some strange traditions here.  I am not sure they are tied to any church, just local traditions,

 There are speed bumps everywhere, about every 200 yards.  We rarely go over 25 mph, which is why our gas mileage is so low - we are in 2nd gear most of the time.  So on Monday at the speed bumps were these people dressed in "rags" carrying pop cans in their hands, asking people for money.  They are "Judas", and I suppose the money refers to 30 pieces of silver.

Later in the week they reappeared.  This is downtown.  They look scary.  

Friday morning we drove to the Stake Center, and these were on the road all over the city.

 They are "paintings" made with colored sawdust.  Very beautiful.

 They are almost an inch thick, and looks like a carpet.

 That same day there is a procession to the church, and they walk on the "carpet".  By the end of the day they have been swept up and the road is open to traffic again.

 The name of the chapel we attend is Gardenias, because they  planted at least a dozen gardenias around it.  It is one of Vicky's favorite flowers.

 This guy went over the speed bumps very carefully, ☺☻

The entrance to a small town, just for Easter.

The wood gathering continues.  The rainy season is coming soon, so they have to get what they can before everything gets soaked.  I wonder how she got it up off the ground onto her back,

I had my first run in with a cement wall.  Rats!

We have been working in the outback with the members who live there.  We saw these little calves rambling around with the herd.  Milk cows are not like back home - no Jerseys.  Saw a Brahma Bull today.  that's what the milk cows look like.


These are plantains.  They grow kind of sideways (the leaves too), while bananas grow up (upside down).  These plants are only 7-8 months old.  On the big plantations they have them growning in different stages, so the harvest is continual.  In the end, after the bananas are harvested, the trees are pulled out and the new shoots start growing where the tree was. in 7-8 months its time to harvest again.

We visited the Martinez family and our conversation turned to yuca and malanga, both root crops.  Little Angel went into the house and came to the front door with this - a big malanga that they had dug up.
They gave us a smaller one last week, but we haven't tried it yet.

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