Sunday, January 15, 2012

Choqui and Xela Markets

Last Sunday President Bautista invited us to drive to Choqui with him and Sister Bautista, as he was dedicating the new chapel in Choqui.  Mike's new Garmin did fine until we left Momostenango, at which point it was clueless.  Sr. Bautista was somewhat familiar with the drive, but still made detailed notes, turn by turn, in order for us to find our way back to Xela.  This isn't making notes of street signs, of which there are approximately two of them during a two hour drive, but rather, turn left at turquoise shop with clothesline on roof.  For someone who hates amusement park rides that go up and down, I was rather proud of myself-not a lick of carsickness, much to my surprise.

 This isn't a very flattering photo of the chapel, but it's an interesting one.  The small building on the right side of the church is the living quarters for one pair of missionaries who work in Choqui.  It's about the size of a good sized garden shed.  It was very compelling to see the tops of the mountains around us dotted with similar LDS chapels, just as Elder Boyd. K Packer said they would be in a previous chapel dedication.

A mile or so before we got there, the APs (young missionaries, assistants to the mission president) stopped their truck and picked up a mother and her children as they walked up the hill to the church.  These amazingly tolerant and patient people walk across and up the mountains for two hours to get to the church.  Their dedication makes me feel terribly guilty for the complaining I have done taking my children to church on a cold winter morning in a heated car with the kids in  car seats, not having to carry them on my back as these mothers do.

Another, better look at the view from our apartment window.  We finally found the perfect time of evening to capture the volcano.  It has been very elusive in past photos.  This still doesn't begin to show the beauty that is just outside our window.

Saturday we went to Centro with Sr. Otto and Sr. Benton.  Sr. Otto is the mission nurse and Sr. Benton is her companion.  Centro is an area of downtown Xela that has a unique marketplace.

We took a taxi, as it's too far to walk, and while we were waiting for the taxi to arrive we snapped this photo of the building where we live.  Our underground parking is behind the red car.  Where the black wrought iron fence is there are two sets of stairs.  The one on the left is our apartment entrance and the one on the right is our mission office entrance.  Nice commute. We share the office location with other businesses, such as a laser surgery and optical office.

Here we are letting the sisters out of the taxi to start our walking tour of Centro.

 Interesting street art.

Srs. Otto and Benton at the park in Centro.

A typical market at the Demo, another marketplace in Xela.

Another view of the markets in the Demo.  This is just a few blocks from our office.

We found some authentic Guatemalan goods in the stores in this mall in Centro.

Once inside the mall pictured above, we can see the outline of the other end of the mall with the church behind it.  This is a typical mix of architecture here.

The woman behind the sisters is typical of the little marketplace shops that are set up around the city.  It's also very common to see the kind of beggars that I saw a few feet from this.  An older gentleman looked like he had Cerebral Palsy and was probably destined to sit on the stairs where I saw him the entire day.  His skin was full of open sores and his useless hands disfigured from the disease.  He had dropped a coin and was unable to pick it up, so I stopped to get it for him and to give him the coins that I carry for that purpose.  He was unable to speak, or even to swallow his own saliva.  One has to wonder if he is placed there by someone for the purpose of drawing sympathy, and left on his own all day, helpless to provide for his own needs.  I don't think I'll ever become accustomed to it, although I've seen it on many occasions in Venezuela and Peru.

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