Sunday, October 31, 2010


The night before our ward had our big service activity for EFY, I had a slumber party at my apartment with some of the young women. We had a lot of fun. I taught them how to make carmel corn, we listened to music, and played the peanut game.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Tour d'Guatemala

Today while I was out surveying in a small town, news came that the bike race was going to pass through town. I had no idea, but Guatemala hosts a cross-country cycling race every year. This year was the 42nd. I was a little skeptical, expecting that 'Team Guatemala' would look something like this...

I was actually pretty impressed. Once the cyclists went buy, I could tell it was a pretty well-managed event. The only drawback was that spectators thought it was helpful to throw confetti in the cyclists' faces as they rode by.

They even shut down traffic to let some of the smog clear. I did get worried a few times when a stray dog would wander across the road or a 6 year old shoe-shiner wouldn't pay attention to the traffic as they combed the crowd for customers.

Props to Guate for pulling it off.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Guatemala EFY 2010!

Hey Everyone!

As many of you already know, this year will be the first year that the youth in our Guatemala ward will be able to participate in EFY. They are all extremely excited to go!

We are currently holding a "fundraiser" to earn the money for the youth in our ward to attend. I know that I have already mentioned our sponsorship fundraiser to many of my friends but we are still a few donations short of our goal and are looking for anyone who has not yet heard and would be interested in participating.

Here are the details of the fundraiser.

It works like this....

The sponsorship is a $25 donation. The youth in our ward and stake will be earning their $25 sponsorship by participating in a large-scale service activity and will also be writing a letter/e-mail to the person that has sponsored them. As a sponsor you will also receive a picture of the specific youth to whom you have given your donation. Hopefully, I will also soon be creating a blog with pictures of the service activity and EFY week.

My mom in Indiana is gathering all donations and will be depositing them into a bank account so that I can access the money from Guatemala. The money will be donated to the church and will then be payed directly to the church educational system for EFY payment.

Unfortunately, we will be needing the money pretty soon. The money will be deposited on October 19th because all EFY payments are needed by October 23rd for participation.

If you are interested in sponsoring a youth, let me know and I will send you an e-mail with my mom's mailing address and any other information that you might need inorder to participate.

Thanks for reading! If you have any more questions, please ask

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Cerro Quemado

James and I went for another hike this weekend with our friend Mario. It was a bit longer than our last hike. It tok us 3 1/2 hours to get to the top and about 2 hours to come back down.

This hike was very foresty, green and beautiful. Since all the hikes are in Xela are through inactive volcano cites, we always get to see lots of natural vents.

One part of the hike is called the "Chimney" (or at least that's what James said it was called). Basically you climb upwards through a narrowish cave to get to the peak. I'm not a big fan of heights and so two particular rocks gave me a little bit of trouble. We had to climb up onto one rock from the other, which is situated a little lower and to the left. What is in between these two rocks you ask? Only a hole with 20 foot drop to a floor of jagged rocks! That was a little dramatic, but remember, I do not like heights. Also, my poor little Newey legs weren't quite long enough for the crawl over the giant hole. I would get my entire body all stretched out and would still have a few inches to go before I could plant a foot. I made it up ok by myself but needed a little assistance getting back down. James went first and just lifted me right over the hole. What a gentleman.

The view at the top of the hike was beautiful. You could see the city and all the surrounding lava rock fields. On this trip I brought dental floss to catch a lizard. Mario and I had a deal that if I went hiking and caught a lizard, he would touch it. He had never toughed a lizard and was very excited to find out they are not slimy.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Nerd Stuff

Here is a little update on my nerdy activities. The CDC does respiratory disease surveillance in 2 areas, Quetzaltenango and Santa Rosa. From that data, I can figure out a crude rate of influenza infections in each of those areas. Using some of the formulas below, I extrapolate that information to the other areas of the country. The result is a pretty map with some colors, which should be taken cum grano salis.

Obviously, there can be some serious problems with extrapolation...


Saturday, October 2, 2010

Another New Food

Lately my spanish teacher Mario and I have been trading cooking classes at each others home, both to learn to cook and to make me practice my spanish. He teaches us to make Central American food and I teach him to make things like chocolate cookies and homemade pizza. It's been a pretty good deal.

This week we learned to make jocón (a very tradition Guatemalan food based in cilantro). It's pretty yummy and I've been wanting to make it ever since we got here.

First you boil chicken and save the chicken stock for later use.

The chicken stock, along with bunches of cilantro, onion, green pepper, boiled tomatillos, lettuce, and garlic clove are put into the blender and made into a liquid. The boiled chicken is lightly fried on the each side in little bits of oil before going back into the big soup pot along with the liquified ingredients.

The soup is boiled for eight to ten more minutes. Chicken bouillon, salt and pepper are added to taste and  small amounts of flour are added for thickening.

In the end you get this....

A very green looking, yet delicious, soup-like guatemalan food. It's always good with a little side of rice and tortillas. Yum! Get ready family - you're trying this at Christmas.