Days With the Familia–Salem

Well, we’ve been squeezing as much as we can into the week we have with my parents. On Friday Loren took my parents to the mercado and a mini walking tour of Antigua. I went to school for my second day of subbing. We had two birthday parties. Here students can have birthday parties at school instead of at home. The last Friday of every month is birthday party day. We have the parties during recess. At the first party the parents brought a guy to paint all the kids faces. Then we had pizza, pop, and cake and we got party bags full of candy. The party went through the next class period and then my kids went to gym. Then we switched classes and I taught until the second recess. Then we had another party with hot dogs, chips, pop, and cake. We got another party bag, so the kids had tons of sugar. We decided to let them play outside for a bit before bringing them in for art class and sending them home. When I got home we did some more walking around, took the family on a chicken bus to meet the kids Loren tutors, and went out to eat. I hope we gave them a good idea of what Antigua’s all about. Here are some pictures of the first day:

Loren and my mom at our house

Stalls at the artisans market

Loren tutoring William and Luigi

Today we went to a museum called La Azotea. It’s actually three museums and a coffee farm. There’s a free shuttle service from the central park and it’s about a five minute drive from Antigua in a town called Jocotenango. First we went to the Mayan music museum. It was pretty small, but we learned a lot about traditional Mayan instruments and how music changed once the Spanish conquistadores came. We also got to see videos of some of the big festivals here. Next was the Sacatepequez clothing museum. Sacatepequez is the state/county that we live in. We learned about the difference between the clothing in different areas of Guatemala. The last museum was the coffee museum. It is the biggest museum and we learned a lot about how coffee is grown and made. We learned that the best coffee (arabaca) can only be harvested once a year. One plant makes one pound of roasted coffee, which is about 40 6oz cups. We also learned that Guatemala is 7th in exports of coffee, but 3rd in quality of coffee. Then we got to tour the plantation and taste some of the coffee! It was great. We were exhausted after that, so we haven’t done much since, but we’re planning on going to the big mercado tomorrow and maybe going to a point where you can see the whole city! We’ll keep you posted!

Agua. My dad is a good photographer.

The marimba is Guatemala’s national instrument.

Turtle shells, which were used as musical instruments before the Spanish came.

Examples of Guatemalan clothes.

This is the amount of beans that one coffee plant produces. 6 1/2 pounds of “cherry beans,” 1 1/2 pounds of beans without the hull, 1 1/4 pound of dried beans, 1 pound of roasted beans, and 40 cups of coffee.

This guy’s job is to move the beans around so they dry in the sun.

My parents and Loren in the field of drying coffee beans.

Mom and a coffee plant.

Loren and me with a coffee plant


Street musicians in the park. We liked the big guy with the little guitar.


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