New friendships, flights… 3 spiders & a scorpion

24 01 2011

We returned today from the annual 5-day Latin Link conference in Nicaragua.  We were both struck by the ‘familiar’ feel to the country;, it was a tropical countryside area near to the town of Granada (for those with a map to hand), with much visible economic poverty.  For Charmari it had similarities to Sri Lanka and for Benjamin a close comparison to northern parts of Bolivia.  There was something that we both really enjoyed about being in those surroundings.

The Guatemala Team

It was a good time to meet others working in the other countries of the Central American region, and we were encouraged to hear others’ stories and experiences.  The conference sessions were all held in Spanish so that was a good challenge for our language to improve.  As we sit here, only 2.5 weeks into living in Guatemala, it is funny and amazing to meet people who have worked in Latin America for over 25 years… it’s hard to imagine such a length of time (FYI: we’re not currently planning to return when in our early sixties!).

It was also another couple of flights for the boys who have done so amazingly well with all the travelling, changes, new faces and such different surroundings.  Daniel seems much more au-fait with airport terminology, take-offs and landings than I ever was at the age of 3.  He played well while we were in the sessions.  Jonah loved exploring; his walking (and singing…but that is for another post) is now really good and his appetite was more than Daniel’s (and occasionally bigger than Benjamin’s).

Daniel & Jonah

Our rooms were basic and were set in a tropical forest.   The cold showers took some getting used to, and Jonah only stopped weeping during them on the second to last day.  But they were nothing in comparison to the wildlife… we fell asleep each night to the loud night chorus of crickets and monkeys.  One night while getting the boys ready for bed, we had to prepare the ‘bathroom’ (an area in our bedroom separated by a partial wall) by battering a scorpion to death and killing a fairly good-sized spider who wanted to share the shower… it was a night to remember!

We were reminded again that so much is taken for granted when living in more developed nations; on one visit to the public toilets Daniel asked why there was no running water – we were washing our hands by pouring water with a plastic container from a big water-drum (I’ll spare other details of the visit).  Much of Latin America operates in environments that are much less ‘easy’ or ‘sanitised’ (no hot water, and sometimes no running water) than the UK or other developed nations; and most people in the rest of the world live and cope in a way that is often hard for us to imagine.  We are thankful for the richness of our experiences in such a short trip. (Pictures to follow)

On Wednesday, we will be moving into our new rented apartment in Antigua where we will begin our Spanish language classes for the next 5 months.

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7 responses

28 01 2011
Sarah

Hey you guys
Wow are you brave! Bath times in the uk were never like that! So good to read your blog and hear what you’re doing. I love the pictures.
Take care – we miss you all so much.

Love Sarah xx

29 01 2011
Dadsie, Mumsie/ Keir, Shelagh

As always our love and prayers are with you.
Have watched youtube over and over – wonderful singing, Daniel, and great clapping, Jonah. It all made my birthday very special.
Lovely, too, to see you on Skype and to hear Daniel’s stories and feel Jonah as he kept kissing the screen!
You all look so well. We love you.

30 01 2011
Annelize

Hello to the Downings accross the ocean!
I am really glad that you are settling in well and just wanted you to know that my prayers are with you!
Take care,
Blessings
Annelize
(Luke 5)

31 01 2011
Chris

That’s nothing we had a frost here in St Albans! I am now going to stop competing. What an amazing time for you all and what stories you are storing up as a family – enough for a lifetime already. Do give Daniel and Jonah a hug they grow up so fast but look as cute as ever. We have emailed our news let us know if you are receiving mail to you old address too. Much love Sarah and Chris

4 02 2011
Chris and Richard

So glad that you are settling in well – brings back massive memories!! Sorry if we forgot to mention that it can get a little chilly in the evenings in the city. Our prayers and love are with you all. Chris and Richard x x

4 02 2011
Peter Crumpler

Just to say that you are all much in our minds, and in our prayers. Peter & Lin

14 02 2011
Brenda matthews

Just to let you know that I am really enjoying reading your blog – its very helpful and love the piccies. Continuing to pray for you all

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