Saturday morning Fr Anton attended another ordination this time in Quirigua. Whilst Fr Anton and Fr Mark attended, the rest of the group visited Maya ruins very close by. We got a taste of the Gran Plazas, massive upright stone structures, worship Altars and many other sights.
That same afternoon we visited a number of families which have fallen upon very hard times. Many of them are very sick or have disabilities to look after with virtually no one to rely on. The visit was merely one to give hope, and remind them there are still people thinking of them and praying for them. We were greeted with song, love and gratitude.
Sunday Mass was at 8am as usual. After mass on Sunday Fr Anton prefers that we don’t work and we visited a village with him. Crafts, baloon games and friendship bracelets went down a treat with the childen. We were given lunch there, traditional Empanadas. Delicious!
Monday morning was an early start. The group left at 2am to get to Tikal- Maya Ruins. A 6 hour drive and we were there. Worth every minute, they were breathtaking. Standing on top of a 65 metre structure, looking over the top of the temples was incredible. A 4.5 hr guided tour explained the ins and outs of the traditional Maya ruins. Although the 6 hour drive back home was difficult, the memories if the views and stunning structures is what we took back with us.
The following day was one of the most memorabile to date, and probably the most difficult. The rain started early but decided to head out anyway. A 1 hour boat ride (still raining) and we got to the furthest point we could get to. From there it was a 3.5 hour trek, in the rain, in the middle of the rainforest, in mud till our knees, all to get to a remote Q´eqchi village so that Fr Anton could celebrate mass with them. We did crafts and played games with the many kids. We were also given lunch there before we started heading back. Thank goodness the rain had stopped by then and the sun dried most of the mud, which means our trek back only took us 1.5 hours. Important to note, Fr Anton does this every month!! An exhausting, unforgettable day.
Thursday was prison day again. After mass was celebrated we bought some of the goods that the inmates make for some extra money. Hammocks, bags, purses, all at bargain prices. We then worked all afternoon.
Friday morning we were taken to another village, up on the top of a mountain. It took us 2.5 hours up a winding mountain road, the weather started to change substantially about half way up and we were thankful for the slightly cooler temperture. Once we got there we were on top of the clouds, on top of the rainforest. Here we gave out soft toys and clothes to the villagers. Once again, we were given lunch. It’s incredible that such poor villages, with so little, are so generous. The outstanding views really made this day all the better.
We then finished the GuateMalta Arena all evening.
Saturday Fr Anton re opened the GuateMalta Arena to the locals. Played sports and did crafts and spent the morning playing with the kids. The arena is open to the locals so that they could have a safe place to hang out.
We then visited what would be our last village. We then went to 4.00pm mass, followed by supper out to eat with Fr Anton and Fr Mark.
The perfect end to a wonderful, eye opening, stunning 3 weeks.
The group will be spending Monday in Antigua, before getting our first flight on Tuesday at Midday.