Kristen is a student at Central Middle School. I've gotten to know her through church and God's Girlies. She's a jewel. She recently had an opportunity to share her precious self with the people of Guatemala. This is her account.
On Our Way
We were waiting to get on the plane. We had just met the other people who were going on the trip with us, and I could already tell that I would like them. They called up our group to wait in line to go on the plane, I was soooo nervous. This one lady behind us was talking to Papa and I really liked her and hoped she would be sitting next to us. I did have T-mobile unlimited text in all, I don't know , 180 countries. I would be able to text my friends when we landed. Deep breath. OK. We got on the plane.
Someone was already in the window seat and Blaine took his spot next to him and I took my spot next to Blaine. The guy in the window seat only spoke Spanish and he was very scary looking. Like, Very. I was really scared of him and just kept looking forward. Blaine then whispered in my ear "Do you want to trade spots? "No," I answered "Why, are you scared?" Blaine shook his head yes. I saw the fear in his eyes. "At least you and Papa trade seats," He said. "OK" I told him. "Psst Papa can we trade seats, Blaine's scared." So am I, I added mentally. "Why?" Papa asked. "Blaine's scared I repeated," Again, I added so am I mentally. "OK," he got up as the person who was supposed to sit next to him got in his seat. I got up, took his place, and Papa sat down next to Blaine.
Mr. John talked to him and told him that my Papa was sitting over there. After a long time we finally took off. They showed the normal safety video, and we took off. The only other kid (besides me and Blaine, his name was Mark) was sitting behind Mr. John. He had never ridden in a plane before and was pretty scared, but (of course) he got over it after we took flight. We were flying for 20-30 minutes when the flight attendant announced "You may now turn on your electronics." "Yes," was the response from the crowd I heard from where I was sitting. I saw every pull out there devices while he said it in Spanish. "Can I have my book?" I asked Papa. When we switched spots our carry-on's did not switch. "Sure," he gave it to me. "Can I have my kindle." I grabbed the Kindle Fire and he shook his head no. So I grabbed the plain-old Kindle and gave it to him. I read for a little while and the man next to me tapped me. I turned my head to look at him. He only spoke Spanish so I didn't know what he was saying until he said Banjo (which means bathroom) and I still didn't understand until he turned to Mr. John and Mr. John said "He wants to switch spots with you." He turned back to the man while I got up, "HER DADDY IS RIGHT OVER THERE." He tried to communicate with him. I was already up though so he went to the bathroom. He got back and I kept reading.
The snack cart came around. The drink cart came around and I got a Sprite. Finally we landed. Nothing to special about the plane ride. We got off and we joined our group. Most of us were sitting right next to each other anyways. We got out and we were trying to find our sign . It was supposed to say Michelle's name but It said "Casa Angelina" , which was the orphanage we were working at is called. We meet Miss. Sarina and they put our luggage on the back of the bus. We sat in the bus and they drove us to a little spot right outside the airport. We were waiting for another group. We landed at 11:30 their time and that meant it was 12:30 here. I was HUNGRY!!! RAVENOUS!! (<-- vocab word) I needed FOOOOOODDD!!! We waiting and waited and waited. We were all hungry. Ann bought me and Blaine and Mark ice creams. I was still hungry." Grab the goldfish," papa said. I quickly jumped out of my seat and grabbed the goldfish. Halfway through the bag me, Blaine, and Mark were all eating in, I said " We better save some for later." "Yah," they both said. I put the goldfish bag up. We played Candy Crush on Mark's Aunt Shirly's iPad.
Our Time in Guatemala
After hours of sitting there the bus started up. Cheers from our group came. We went back to the airport and got the people from the other flight, and we started to go to the hotel. Mark fell asleep, and soon after I did too. They drove through the mountains, but I was asleep. Glad I was too, because when I woke up I wasn't as hungry. We got to the hotel shortly after I woke up. Magnificent hotel too. (picture should be somewhere) Dinner was supposed to be served at six-thirty their time (seven-thirty here) but not till about seven was it served (eight here). The food was...Ummmm..... Well it looked.. Umm.. Cool, I suppose. Part of it had the crust of a chicken patty and on the inside it was spinach. The drink was EXCELLENT. It was lemonade, but it was much sweater. Delish! But the bread was good, it had sesame seeds on it .I ate goldfish....
Well, the next day we toured the city. We had an excellent tour guide. On Monday they picked us up at 7:30 their time and we went to Casa Angelina. When the bus got there all the little kids ran up to the bus and said "Hola" to us. I meet India (the grand-daughter of the woman who owns Casa Angelina) and Ariana. They spoke English. I had my own personal little translators! We went into the big meeting room place and they told us all the rules and stuff. Don't take the kids away from their house (they lived in houses that people build and they have house parents and all the kids are assigned their house and that’s where they live) and stuff like that. So we toured the Casa Angelina. We saw all the different houses. About half way through we found Ethan (India and Ariana's older brother, India is 9 , Ariana 7 , Ethan 10 ) and he toured us cause he was much faster. The adults stayed with Mr. Andrew (the dad of the kids I was just explaining, when I say Mrs. Bethany it is their mom) and we went with Ethan.
The adults were looking at the soccer field and talked about it. Us kids were much cooler and decided to play on it. When the tour was done we ate lunch. All the kids sat together. We talked about random stuff. When the food was ready India, Ariana and Ethan did not jump out of their seats to go and get food, like everyone else. "I'll wait for you guys," I told India. "Oh no," she said "We don't eat that food, we're vegans." Ok, weird. I jumped in line. Crazy food they served. I only ate the meat. After lunch us kids played on the playground. Then we visited the four widows homes. It started to rain while we were traveling up the dirt roads to their house. After that we played with the little kids. After the little like meet and greet thingy they did, I mean. India said "Let's go see Wendy!" She was excited. "OK," I said trying not to let the confusion be seen. We went to find Wendy and she was holding this precious little baby. She was one year old. I held the little baby's hand and she reached her arm out so I could hold her. How do you not hold such a precious baby when it reaches its arms out to you? I had to! I held her. What an adorable baby!
The house tutor (yes, they have tutors) took a picture of me holding her. I guess it was some big deal that I was holding her. India took her to someone else so we could play a game. There was a long ribbon and me and Wendy put it around our ankles. India did this weird jumpy while saying country’s crazyness and we would move it up higher. Then we had to leave. I didn't want to leave. I wanted to stay there and be friends with these little girls. But, I left. It was sad. We got to the hotel and ate dinner and we played a game with Mark in his hotel room. Tuesday they picked us up on the bus and the Georgia people did a devotion. I liked it very much. When we got to Casa Angelina a few kids came up. We had a devotion inside. They told us what we were going to do. We had to pick up the already painted fence out of the muddy covered area and put it down on the grass. There was a fence in between so we did it a weird way. After we did that we painted the fences that had not been painted yet. We had a team thing. There was team 1 (I was on team one ) and team 2. We were counting how many we got.
By lunch we had given up on that and did it a different way. Lunch, again I only ate the meat. We went back to work. The police showed up and played soccer. Blaine and Mark went to go watch them. I gave in soon after to go watch. Blaine and I went to the playground because we got bored. Then Mark gave in and came down to the playground. We found Ethan playing with his friends. "ETHAN!!," We kept yelling. Over and over. He didn't respond. "MOOOOO!!!," I finally shouted, trying to find something to get his attention. He looked over at us. "That worked? MOOOOOO, " Blaine shouted " ETHAN GET DOWN HERE!! MOOOO!! " He came running down rolled down the hill while his friends shot Nerf guns at him. One of them got him and dropped the gun. We watched them play and then I told Ethan he had bad aim and couldn't hit me if he tried. Then we played where someone swung the swing and someone else tried to shoot it. Then we played their game again.
Ethan decided to grab the Frisbee. "Let’s play Ultimate!" Mark suggested. Ethan didn't know what that was so Mark and Blaine explained the rules to him. We played it were I was ref on both teams, until another one of Ethan's friends came and made it even. Then I played on Blaine and Mark's team. Then we had to leave. On Wednesday we had our devotion on the bus again. We had our devotion when we got to Casa Angelina. Then Mr. Andrew told us we would be gardening and another group would be carrying cinder blocks. The boys were gardening with us until Mr. John came and told the boys they needed them. So then I was the only kid. I stood there waiting for someone to tell me to do something. Well.. I never got told to do anything. Lunch finally came and I went to the lunch room. I waited for India and Ariana. And waited... and waited.. and waited. Finally lunch was served and I realized that they weren't coming. I ate the meat and waited for dessert, ate dessert and went outside.
Blaine and Mark were already outside, swinging on the swings, Ethan right in front of me. They wanted to play Ultimate again and I really wanted to play with the little girls. When they decided to play football on the road I sat with the little girls who were watching. In Spanish I said "Hello," and they all said a Spanish hello back. I turned to one little girl in particular (Esmalando) and said (in Spanish) "How are you?" Her Spanish reply was "Good" She looked really shy. I liked her and her friends she seemed really nice. She was adorable too. Then one said something in Spanish to another and they all jumped up and went to their house. Do they not like me, I thought. No there just shy, my mind replied, there not used to you yet. A couple of times they came back and I ran up to meet them. They would go back after a while. I did that until India and Ariana meet me at the playground. "All the little girls are avoiding me." "They have a lot of chores to do," she replied . "No, they keep coming back," I tried. "They're shy. They're not used to you yet. Come up with me and I'll introduce you," She answered. "Nah, I'm good, " I said .
We went back to the hotel. I didn't eat dinner that night, I just ate the bread and some goldfish. Thursday was very eventful. Mark kicked me in the face that morning with the soccer ball. I traded from doing the garden to doing the sand buckets sometime before lunch. Then we had lunch. Ariana met me there, India was reading. India got there right before they served lunch. I didn't eat the food that day, I just had salt and bread. Mr. John asked Ethan, Ariana, and India questions the whole lunch time about what it was like and stuff like that. We went outside and we played. I didn't want to play because I wanted to talk to the little girls. When they decided they wanted to play soccer I went up to Edmond's house while Ethan got the soccer ball. I played on the playground for a while with a couple of little girls. Soon there were 10 of them.
Mark called from down the hill, "Kristen, you gonna play?" I went to the edge, "Yah!" I replied with the girls behind me. "Got some fans Kristen?" Mark asked. He laughed. "Maybe they can cheerlead." Whatever, I thought. I went down the stairs and joined Mark. I wish I knew how to say I have to go in Spanish, I thought, they might know then, I'll learn that first when we get back home. We played soccer until the police got there. Then we went back to the playground and meet India and Ariana. We played hide-and-go-seek then. We played in teams. India, Ethan and Mark on a team, Me, Blaine and Ariana on another. We played that until India got in trouble for not wearing tennis shoes. India and Ethan had to go. We swung for a while until I got bored. Ethan gave Mark the soccer ball so we could play soccer. Everyone was going, they were about to take the group picture.
We meet Ronald, the pilot on the way and he asked "Can I play?" (He can speak English, he needs to learn so he can go to pilot school in America, he needs to take the S.A.T's to go to pilot school) "Of course." We played him against Me, Mark and Blaine. He got two goals and then I outsmarted him while someone told him we were going to take the picture, I kicked the ball from the "holding the ball with your foot" position (I don’t know what it's called ) and made a goal. We took the picture and I got to play with Esmalando and her friend (Claudia). I played until we had to leave and Claudia gave me a little note. She was trying to write in English and it said ' I luv yu tu Kristina ' and it had a big heart on it . I said thank you and gave them both hugs and kisses. I had to leave then.
On Friday we were having a pizza party for lunch. But we had to work the first half of the day though. Just waiting for it to be time. It felt like five minutes and I was already hungry just thinking about it. After I switched jobs twice and I decided to grab a drink I ended up doing the sanding. Finally it was time for the pizza party. After we showed up some of the kids came in. They all came with their houses. I saw all my little friends but I sat with India, Ethan, Ariana, Blaine, and Mark. We ate our pizza and after that we played soccer. Everyone was really good at soccer but some were better. I cut short because I needed to get all my friends to sign my shirt. Ron the pilot's team won soccer. I saw my little Dora and thought, now what is your name in Spanish, well “K es too numbre” is “what is your name” so numbre is name. So I said while doing little writing hand motions "Numbre" Her and some little boys signed it. I got all my friends to sign it and Papa Ivan and Mama Kimberly signed it too.
On the bus ride back to the hotel I thought of how bad their life probably was and how much better it’s gotten with God's grace. I teared up a little while thinking this. On Saturday we had to leave. I was very sad but I knew I would not forget the trip. It was far too good of a trip to forget. We saw Papa Ivan and Mama Kimberly and Sara with her baby Lincon at the waiting lobby. There was an older lady in front of us as we got in line for boarding. She talked to Papa a bit. As we got on the plane someone, we didn't know who, was sitting between us. The lady from the boarding line came and Papa asked," Are you sitting here, because I would like to trade spots with you. I'm sure you don't want to sit by these crazy kids anyway." She replied, "Oh yes exactly where I wanted to sit. I prayed for someone to change seats with me." And as she said that I thought, God answers prayers for a fact. Then they did the safety stuff and we took off. We saw the nice lady from the first flight and she asked us how it was. I really liked her. When the plane finally landed we did the whole "getting back into America, making sure you didn't smuggle anything in" process. It took a whole hour. We drove Mr. John home and we went to Mom's. Papa uploaded our pictures on his computer. And I thought, I'm going to have to go back.
This wasn't Kristen's first rodeo (mission trip) and I have a feeling it won't be her last. In case you missed her last guest blog on Belize, click here http://kristiburden.com/?p=3501.
Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12