Apparently it rains in Guatemala. Apparently it rains a lot.
We cross the border from Mexico into in La Messilla, Guetemala and instantly the world changes.
The road is different, the architecture is different, the landscape is different.
We have arrived here at the end of the rainy season. It shows. Landslides are everywhere. We scramble over at least 40 of them.
While circling volcanoes and canyons, we climb to over 10,000 feet altitude several times. Eventually we reach Huehuetenango and are met with roads ten feet wide – labyrinth-like and magically going from two-way to one-way to “No Way” with no warning. One road becomes so steep that the Ural runs out of steam and stalls. This is followed by a reverse sliding pirouette as I try to get the engine fired and get in control again, before we end up upside down.
Disaster averted, we find a spectacular hotel nestled in a hidden alley. La Chacra de Joel is a bungalow with a square garden courtyard viewed by each room.
One unique feature is the roving guard dog on the roof, continuously repeating his route around the perimeter of the hotel. It is here that we meet the first of the many missionaries we will meet throughout Central America. Sammy Winters has been visiting and living in Huehuetenango for almost twenty years. He spends an evening with us, explaining his passions and goals – an inspiring story of creating clean water and a midwife program that has greatly reduced infant and mother mortality rates. Sammy’s message is not about ‘thumping bibles’, it is a message about doing the ‘right’ thing and helping people learn how to improve their world.
We hear this message many times from many missionaries in the coming days – missionaries who also help us to overcome some serious challenges.