I have been busy mainly with the women of the co-ops that come to Loving Arms’ Centre of Hope. In three meetings with the Sewing Co-op, the women have made 250 lavender sachets to be given out during the fundraising afternoon in Ontario with the Guatemalan ambassador to Canada on May 28th, 2016 (mark your calendars!). They do fantastic work and have many ideas for future products that they may sell at markets both in Guatemala and Canada. The question is now: how to grow lavender locally to supply the sewing co-op? It looks to be a good possibility!
Meanwhile, the Soap Co-op has been busy making glycerine-based soaps with essential oils to sell at market. They have produced several soap products already, including very fragrant bath salts that were produced with Brenda’s guidance. The new soaps look ready for sale for Easter and are both colourful and fragrant.
This past weekend, Michaela & I were able to join Gabby and Charlotte for a trip to Lake Atitilán. The lake is in a setting that some say reminds them of Lake Louise or Lago di Como (Italy). It is in the Guatemalan highlands, 2-1/2 hour drive from Parramos, the home of Loving Arms. The lake is surrounded by volcanoes and dotted with several villages that ring the lake. We stayed overnight in Panajachel – the largest tourist centre and home to a lively market scene and several international restaurants. Our villa was on a street not far from the lake, owned by a Guatemalan family who built 4 villas as a family retreat. It was quite comfortable. We had a boat tour on Sunday morning to visit two other towns, each authentically Mayan with their own character, clothing, and industry. It was fascinating. On our return, we were treated to a delicious dinner by Carmen and then played a good round of Euchre.
Today was the first of 3 days before the kids officially break for Easter holidays. There was much work to be done and the whole place has been very busy. Construction continues outdoors in preparation for a new schoolroom, and indoors both Co-ops came today to complete their projects. The teachers have been marking exams, preparing lessons, and teaching most of the day. Michaela has been with the kids all day and has volunteered to wash a car while the sun begins to go down. At the end of the day some of the staff are busy with adult language lessons, bible study, and administrative duties. From morning to dinnertime, everyone is busy doing something. We are thoroughly enjoying getting to know the staff, students, volunteers, and families. This place is quite special and has us learning new things every day.