Greetings America del Norte,
Our first day in El Pajal was nothing less than eventful. A day that began with an awe-inspiring (albeit slightly nauseating) trek upwards through the mountainous terrain of Guatemala consisted of unforgettable conversations and interactions with loving locals.
Waking at the crack of dawn, to the sound of David Camacho’s beautiful knock on our door, we were privileged to eat at a restaurant serving genuine Guatemalan food (a stark contrast from the equally salivating meal we delighted in at Chili’s). Impeccable service and impeccable food. This hearty meal prepared us for the long day ahead.
Next came the 1-hour expedition to El Pajal. We soon saw why we had switched from a bus to the 4-wheel drive SUVs for this leg of the trip. The leisurely and smooth ride quickly transitioned to what felt like a roller coaster. Motion sickness galore! Luckily, the beauty of the environment, the medication provided, and prayer after prayer allowed for a team of good health and hearts primed to serve. And just like that, we arrived to the hospitable community of El Pajal.
Our conversation with the Leadership Council came shortly after we arrived. We listened intently to the community president’s lofty goals and dreams, but also to the struggles which encompassed their daily lives. The reality had struck- the community is facing problems that we could only imagine. Children dropping out of schools to enter the workforce at unimaginable ages, fathers leaving their family for the States, and a severe lack of food and water which debilitated the population and was incredibly difficult to hear about. Nonetheless, we saw the pride and the strength of the people of El Pajal. They were truly a glimpse of Jesus.
Party time! School ended for the day, and out came running the overjoyed children of El Pajal. Language barriers blown away by the immediate love and connection allowed for flourishing relationships. There was nothing more humbling than seeing children laughing and playing, with an innocence so pure. Accepting us immediately into their community, we were incredibly grateful for the opportunity to interact, laugh, and play with them.
Although this day was just a glimpse into what is to come this week, we feel blessed by the opportunity given to us today and are excited for the adventures that await.
Peace and blessings,
Thomas and Douglas
(PS. we miss you Dortha)
This last photo is the only water source for the community but it is not accessible. The people of El Pajal get water every 8-11 days, at best!