Saturday, January 13, 2007

Run for the Border...

Every 90 days, since we are all on Tourist Visas, we must do one of two options with our passports. If it is the first 90 days then we have to go to the city immigration office and get our passports renewed. If it is the second 90 day period then we must leave the country.

This particular 90 day window Amber returned to the state for doctor's visit, Matt went to the city to visit Ale and her family, I had to leave the country, and Nancy joined me because she could.

A gentleman in our church, Dick Rutger, had offered to "show us the ropes" and take us to the border. The original plan was for Nancy and I to take a couple days of R&R in Mexico and we declined the offer. The best laid plans that we had were changed up at the last minute because of a simple detail that was not reviewed until the night before we were headed out. This was a matter of the Car Rental and the Mexican border. God's ways are higher than ours. We went with Dick's help to the border.

Dick is a full time volunteer retiree serving as a Wheelchair technician in GUA. He works with Hope Haven Ministries distributing wheelchairs to those who need them in this country. For some time he has wanted to get me out into the remote areas of Guatemala and see what he does.

At first you would think that a trip to the border would be the excitement. In fact, it was only a blip on the excursion. Getting stamps in our passports went incredibly smooth, without issue. The remainder of this two excursion was nothing short of awe inspiring.

He took us to the border by way of CA1 a highway that runs from one side of GUA to the other. It takes you through mountains in the clouds. We hit one pass at 1pm in the afternoon. The sky was mostly clear and blue except for the cloud sitting on this one mountain.
We stayed in the town of Huehuetonango the first night. The next morning we got in and out of the border details. Then he took us up in the high country to a home where lived a boy by the name of Ernesto. Out of respect for the family we are not showing images of the house and family, but here is the view from his mountain. The little white line in the lower frame is the road we took to drive to that point.

To get to the house he drove to a point on the mountain and then took us up a trail, by foot, that he had mapped with his GPS. What a rush. I am glad that I have had several months to acclamate to an altitude of 5,000ft. We now were doing advance hiking at about 8800ft. Ernesto suffers from Muscular Dystrophy while living in the middle of a corn field here in the mountains. As we neared his home the children were running in and out of the corn giggling and gawking at the giant Gringos. It was an ear-ry feeling to say the least.

Once we arrived Dick gave Ernesto's wheel chair a good once over and then we needed to make our way back down the path. I know for me I was hoping and praying that I wasn't going to provide these children the entertainment of 250lbs sliding uncontrollably down the steep, muddy hill.

The work being done by Dick and his team is nothing short of phenomonal. They work to provide life improvement through wheel chairs. Each year they host "camp" for children and adults bound to life inside a body that doesn't work. He and his team spend months on the road seeking out those that live in remote areas such as this giving them hope. Returning to repair the chairs as needed. And doing large scale distributions through out GUA.

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