“Bob’s notes” are reports from CFCA President Bob Hentzen, who regularly accompanies awareness trip participants. You can see Bob’s full update on his Facebook page. Photo credits go to Ricardo Ajpuac, CFCA staff member in Guatemala.
Here’s wishing you every blessing in this special season to give thanks and begin anew.
Counting on God’s blessings, we look forward to a tranquil and relaxing journey. The coffee is red ripe on the trees. School is out, and children fill the mountain air with their giggles.
We are a large CFCA community traveling and learning in Guatemala.
Besides Cristina and I who call Guatemala home, this exciting group of 34 hails from many states of our nation: Texas, Georgia, Arizona, Florida, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Washington, Oregon, Wisconsin, Louisiana, Kansas, Missouri and New Jersey.
What a joyful miracle our growth has been. We are blessed with a number of veteran sponsors, who have been with us for a long time. We are also blessed with a diversity of ages, professions and dreams.
Our teams in Guatemala are united and motivated to move forward with all the learning of this trip. They offer some of their vacation time to be with the sponsors and families.
Guatemala is still hurting after the 7.4-magnitude earthquake on Oct. 6. Colleagues along with Cristina and I were able to visit the affected areas recently.
It is inspiring to witness the resilience of Guatemalan families. Again, CFCA is there before, during and after a natural disaster.
Baktun 13óNew Era in Mayan History
On the historical side, national parks in Guatemala have removed entrance fees by congressional decree to commemorate Oxlajub Baktun (a change of Mayan era) and Wajxaquib’ B’atz (Mayan New Year).
Also for the New Year:
Beginning Jan. 1, 2013, the minimum wage in Guatemala will increase by 5 percent to roughly $289 US (2,170 quetzals) per month or $9.46 US (71 quetzals) per day.
Many sponsors coming out of cold weather and storms in the U.S. relished the Guatemalan blue skies, cool nights and pleasant sunny days.
Under blue skies on the first day of our journey, sponsors enjoyed a visit with 132 families in the Aldea of Joya Grande. And a big jewel it is.
The third day took us to warmer temperatures in Santo Tomas, La Union. Here we are blessed to be a part of the lives of 800 families of sponsored children, 50 aging friends and 110 dynamic scholars. We were treated to a firecracker and confetti walk to the town hall, where staff and sponsored families were waiting.
An informative and enjoyable morning unfolded with testimonies, demonstrations of back-strap loom weaving, indigenous musical instruments (drum and chrimiya flute) and talent demonstrations by children and youth. Mothers then offered a fine lunch.
We spent the day before the New Year with sponsored friends and their families in a municipality near Solola.
Hundreds of families filled the large, beautifully decorated hall. Testimonies, poetry, song, dance and learning filled the morning. After lunch, we were able to visit families in fertile highlands.
I like to say that one characteristic of a good CFCA awareness trip is that we put the same number of travelers on the return flights. We have done that this week, and much more. I pray in gratitude for this great group of full CFCA partners.
This is the time for semester breaks in the U.S. In the tradition of the late Father Greg Schaffer, the parish of San Lucas Toliman is filled with visitors, some of whom are longtime CFCA sponsors.
Father John Goggin and the Atitlan team make sure the visiting sponsors are able to spend time with their sponsored children and families.
Cristina and I are looking forward to two days in Kansas City (Jan. 22 and 23) en route to our next awareness trip to the Philippines with 40 sponsors. Alegre!
We send our love and ask for your prayers.