Daily Archive for Monday, March 18th, 2013

Ferry Ride!

After a morning full of painting, the New Orleans crew took a ferry ride to further enjoy the beautiful day. I’d just like to say that it is 82 degrees here. Too bad it is snowing back in WI :P

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We also stopped at a glass blowing shop that was featured on HGTV called Rosetree:

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Monday, Matt and Mikes birthday

Today we woke up to a very yummy breakfast of eggs and torillas, and of course coffee.  At 9am we headed to the farmers house.  His name was Miguel and his sons name was Mario.  They took us up to their coffee field and explained the coffee farming process along the way.  The hike took a little while.  It was very dusty and the thin air definitely made it a hike.  Once up in the fields we picked the coffee berries.  Every farmer in the co-op with As Green as it Gets had their own area on the volcano to farm.  They use different kinds of trees to mark their farmers and different kinds of trees to help shade the coffee plants so all the berries dont dry out.  These include avocado trees which can produce 2000 avocados a season.  We ended up picking for an hour.  We were only allowed to pick the berries that were completely red because any green berries would ruin the coffee when it was brewing.  We only ended up picking about 30lbs because this was the 6th time picking this field.  After we finished we walked back down the volcano and had lunch at Miguels house.  It was a very delicious lunch.  After lunch we convinced Miguel and his wife to dance to the music which was played on a marimba.  We then learned what happens to the coffee berries after they are picked.  First they must be shelled, this is done using bicycle with a special machine that shells the berries.  This must sit for a day to ferment.  Next they dry the berries out for about 10-12 days.  Then they shell the second layer in a different machine and find any bad berries.  They try to have a max of 10 bad berries for every 100 berries.  Next, the beans are roasted, they pop similar to popcorn.  The longer you roast them the darker the coffee is.  This is how you get the different roasts, like medium, dark, or espresso.  After this they use a grinder to grind all the beans.  Normally this is done with a machine, but we practiced by hand on a stone grinder.  Once everything was ground it was put into boiling water where it brewed.  The final step was everyone’s favorite, we got to drink the coffee. I have never had a cup of coffee and every sip I have had has been gross, but this stuff was so good! I am convincing everyone to buy their coffee through As Green as it Gets!!! We then got a special treat from Miguel, his wife, his son, and some of his 11 grandchildren.  They sang happy birthday to Matt and Mike with a traditional Spanish song.  This ended our stay at Miguel’s house.  We thanked him and his family and headed back to our house.  Tonight we will have dinner at Nico’s, and tomorrow we are learning how to cook a traditional meal.  Which includes chopping off a chicken’s head!! That’s all for now, keep following and stay with us through our internet troubles! Thank you for all of the support!

–Marie

Finishing yesterday’s post…

Our last post got cut off, which we were able to tell everyone yesterday. On Saturday after we landed in Guatemala we had about an hour drive to the As Green As It Gets house. The drive was very scary as Guatemala does not have laws like we have in the USA. People walk in the streets and highways, follow no real speed laws, and weave in and out of the lanes. Once we got to the house we basically showered and went to bed after our long, long day of travel.

To finish up the post portion that was talking about our trip into Antigua (On Sunday)… After we visited the church ruins, we walked over to San Pedro’s museum. He was a man who healed Guatemalans and this place was dedicated to him. Because it is the time of Lent, many Guatemalans were there giving thanks. The museum itself was not very large, but there were gardens and many things to look at. Harvey also talked about the volcanos in Guatemala because we were at a good vantage point to see them.

From there we walked to get in place to be able to see the Procession. The Procession is another thing that is being done in the time of Lent. There were dyed sawdust and flower designs, bands, and then 90 people carrying an enormous float like Catholic memorial…thing. (I wish we could add pictures, it would make much more sense) we had to wait about an hour for the Procession to pass, and this was when many of us got sunburnt. (We have some awesome burn line among us!)

After that we finally got some much needed lunch at a small cafe. I was delicious! We relaxed there for some time, chatting and refueling for our next trek. From lunch we hiked up a big hill to see Cross on the Hill. (It’s name is exactly what it is) it was a fantastic vantage point of Antigua and we took a ton of group pictures there. The hike up and down wasn’t that bad because there were stairs.

After that we headed across town to the bus terminal to take a ‘Chicken bus’ which is the Guatemalan public transportation basically. It is painted and lit up all crazy and is always packed full. Lucky for us, ours wasn’t too packed, but adjusting to how fast it drives was very hard.

Once we got home we had a little down time before we had dinner with Filberto,one of the AGAIG farmers. His family Madison chicken, corn with rice, and some vegetable salad. It was soooo good. They also served a traditional juice drink that is served warm, it was also really great. He talked a lot with us (translated by Nicole) and we learned a great deal about him.

After dinner we walked back to the house and worked on some group reflections. Afterwards we played games as a group. We played a version of Pictionary for awhile and then we played Mafia. It was a blast and a great bonding opportunity.

We are hoping to have our posts more consistent from here on out!

I hear those in Wisconsin are going to get snow? It’s in the 80s here…. :)

Marie is going to be posting what we did today momentarily!

Love to all,

Rachel

First Day at Work

Today was our first official day volunteering. We got up around 7am and headed over to the Capitol Area Food Bank. Most of the day was spent sorting and packing food and everyone got a good workout. We also got to meet some great people that work at the Food Bank and found out how the organization operates. By the time we got done volunteering it was 4pm and raining. On our way back to the metro station we met a local resident that was a very talented guitar player so everyone sang along while he played popular songs by artists like Adele. After the jam session we had to go grocery shopping to get more supplies for the rest of the week. Right now most of us are taking a break before dinner and reflections. There is a few people also hanging out with the people that are currently at the shelter. Here is a group picture of us with all the boxes we packed.

Until tomorrow,
Sara

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Oshkosh? Wait, it actually exists?

That is the first thing everyone at God’s Love We Deliver asked us after they found out we were from Wisconsin. After reminiscing about their children’s bibs, most made a joke about a beer, brats, and of course cheese. Meredith, Courtney, Tiffany, Carly and I started the day with a short video about the history of the organization and how they serve the people. Once again, God’s Love We Deliver makes individually tailored nutritious meals for people who are too sick or unable to cook for themselves. It all started with one woman taking food to a man living with AIDS. The organization gets about 8000 volunteers annually and has never turned a person away or put them on a waiting list. All the services are provided for free and they also provide meals to their clients children and/or caregivers.

We were given hairnets and taken down to the amazing kitchen. all the staff and regular volunteers welcomed us with big smiles. We swapped stories as we prepared veggies, fish, and rice.

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Our after dinner agenda was debriefing and sharing our highs/lows of the day as well as our hopes for tomorrow. The group that went to the Gay Mens Health Club led an informational session about HIV and AIDS and progress the GMHC has made in the last 30 years.
The last mission of the night was to find sweet treats. Chase had his first taste of bubble tea, Kung Fu bubble milk to be exact, Courtney got some Red Date tea and everyone else indulged in some Italian gelato!

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