Most Important Lessons Learned:
1. It's all about family, friends and faith. The rest is just details.
2. Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
3. When you know your neighbors, it's a lot easier to love them.
4. When you learn another's language, you acknowledge their worth.
5. All the "things" you really need can fit into two suitcases and a carry-on.
6. There is great joy in giving.
7. God is SO much bigger than we realized.
8. If given the opportunity to drive a chicken bus, take it!
9. Personal hygeine is overrated ; )
10. As a good life rule, beware of foods that start with "ch..." (especially chicharron, which is pig skin)
What We'll Miss Most:
1. Those who have become our Guatemalan family, especially Lety
2. Playing with children at the preschool
3. Greeting neighbors in the street
4. The generosity of those who have so little
5. Inexpensive fresh fruits and vegetables and inexpensive services (e.g., $2 haircuts and $15 computer repairs)
6. Joking around with the clinic staff (except the blank stares, of course, which usually followed Jay's attempts at humor in Spanish).
What We Won't Miss:
2. Bed bugs and mosquitoes
3. Fear of water (Did you disinfect that??!!)
4. Black beans and corn tortillas at every meal
5. Chicken bus fumes during the long commute to the clinic
6. "Fijase que..." (which always proceeded bad news)
U.S. To-Do List:
1. Hug our family and friends
2. Flush a whole roll of toilet paper (just because we can!)
3. Drink water straight from the faucet
4. Eat Tex-Mex until we're sick
5. Take a bath (Carey); continue to avoid bathing (Jay)
6. Go to Sonic between 2-4 p.m. to enjoy a happy hour Route 44 Cherry Limeade
7. Share our experiences with anyone who will listen
The Salud y Paz staff gave us a beautiful sendoff with hymns, heartfelt songs, and communion.
The "guardian" of the SYP clinic, Tomin, his wife, Micaela, and their son, Tomas
The preschool cook, Sebastiana, and teachers, Mary and Paulina
We both shared our appreciation for and love of those who make up Proyecto Salud y Paz
At the end of the service, Juan presented us with a beautiful, homemade wall hanging. And although they have so little, every single staff member gave us a gift. To say the least, their generosity was overwhelming.
Every journey has to come to an end, and it now time for us to leave Guatemala. We fulfilled a life-long dream by learning Spanish and living and working in a developing country, leaving us with happy hearts and cherished memories. The lessons we learned here will forever influence the way we live our lives. It is for this reason that we have decided to make this country and its people the primary recipient of our giving for the rest of our lives. To those of you who have supported us through your generous giving, encouraging words, and ongoing prayers, we are eternally grateful. We could not have done this work without you.
Dios les bendiga siempre (God bless you always).
Salud y Paz,
Jay & Carey