Posts Tagged With: adventure

Team Hayes {2014}: What a summer….

So Andy and I had a wonderful summer volunteering in Guatemala with Latin Link followed by a great visit to my family in Alaska. We spent a total of 6 weeks there, two of them up in Fairbanks, my University town and another 4 with my family.

Our time in Alaska was so much fun and we had so many exciting adventures:

Everything from flying in my dads airplane to hauling in our first halibuts!

Flying with my two favorite flying buddies!

Flying with my two favorite flying buddies!

Andy with his Halibut!

Andy with his Halibut!

My halibut that is bigger than my sister!

My halibut is bigger than my sister!

We also go to camp out on our boat out in the ocean and explore some of the little islands off the coast.

The boys off to explore some islands

The boys off to explore some islands

While we were camping we got to swim in glacier water, go fishing almost every day, go on hikes and do a bit of unexpected rock climbing 😉

Out for a swim in very cold Alaskan water!

Out for a swim in very cold Alaskan water!

I took us up a very scary mountain...this is our afraid faces ;)

I took us up a very scary mountain…this is our afraid faces 😉

We attended my little sisters butterfly/cupcake themed 8th birthday party which meant dressing up in the most poofy dresses we could find.

Lily and her birthday pinnate we made :)

Lily and her birthday pinnate we made 🙂

We got to to shoot lots of big guns, and even managed to have a snowball fight! These of course, are just the highlights.

Snowball fight!!!

Snowball fight!!!

The best part by far was just spending time with my family. The moments where we find ourselves playing about our 6th game of Ticket to Ride (a board game) without a break. Chatting about what the kids think about their family, friends, school, or God. My brother and sister are growing up so fast and starting to form their own character and thoughts. They are getting more independent and I love to see them starting to influence their friends for the better. We are able to have heart to heart chats while waiting for dad to fuel up the airplane or while we are out on a run together (course Isaiah always had to to ride his scooter cuz it was faster, fair enough!)

Having one of our girly chats while we waited for dad to get the airplane ready

Having one of our girly chats while we waited for dad to get the airplane ready

Heading off on one of our walks/runs/skates

Heading off on one of our walks/runs/skates

These are all moments I will treasure forever. The excitement and the adventures are all fun but it’s the heart to hearts and being part of their lives that means the most to me. I am so thankful for Skype and email but there’s nothing quite like going home for a good chunk of time and living life together. So much thanks to my parents for always welcoming us home with open arms and lots of yummy food!

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Guatemala travels {summer 2014}

Antigua!!!

Antigua!!!

So Andy and I had the opportunity to go to Guatemala to do volunteer work and while we were there we got to do a bit of traveling around.

Beautiful Antigua!

Beautiful Antigua! 

First of all we got to go to Antigua for the afternoon. A wonderful town surrounded by volcanoes and full of brightly colored buildings and amazing markets! We spent most of the time walking around looking at the volcanoes and beautiful buildings taking pictures 🙂 It was wonderfully chilled out with a bit of shopping!

The  stunning streets of Antigua

The stunning streets of Antigua

We also got to go to Lake Atitlan for two days. It is claimed to be the most beautiful lake in the world and I wouldn’t disagree! Incredible volcanic mountains coming straight down to the shore. I spent most of my time in the lake swimming around loving the gorgeous sunshine. We stayed in a town called San Pedro. A few of us also went on a horse back riding trip through the streets, woods, stopping to hike to a secret beach, and finishing with a tour of a coffee farm. We also go to go kayaking and enjoy all the yummy food!

On our horse riding trip!

On our horse riding trip!

My overall impression of Guatemala was that it is amazing! Beautiful scenery, perfect weather, a very rich culture, and the most inviting people you’ll ever meet! I loved it! Would definitely recommend it to a friend 😉

Swimming in Lake Atitlan!

Swimming in Lake Atitlan!

You can't ask for better than this <3

You can’t ask for better than this ❤

On our horsey adventure ;)

On our horsey adventure 😉

Our tour guide, Louis, showing us around the coffee farm

Our tour guide, Louis, showing us around the coffee farm

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Volunteer work Guatemala! {summer 2014}

Our brilliant Guatemala team :)

Our brilliant Guatemala team 🙂

Andy and I had a great time leading our team of 12 in Guatemala. We worked hard and made a lasting impact. Waking up at 6am and working hard all day until 8 or 9 at night where we would crash into our beds totally exhausted. We had fun and absolutely loved it, what more could you ask for?

Once we landed in Guatemala city we started out with a ride in an old American style school bus. Except this one was pimped out and had flames and Christmas lights decorating it! Apparently that’s what they use for public transportation. I love it!

A Pimped out Guatemalan bus :)

A Pimped out Guatemalan bus 🙂

We were staying in a small town called Zaragoza. One of the poorest towns in Guatemala. We stayed in a 3 story rented house complete with a flat roof that we could sunbathe on! We were working with a group called Educando Para La Vida (Education for Life). A project started by Guatemalans and that is basically self sustaining. It is great to work with a project like that where it isn’t just a bunch of Westerners coming in telling them how to do things but it is exactly what they need done just how they need it. Educando Para La Vida works with kids who are at risk for dropping out of school. They also do their best to support the families of the kids. They are self sustaining in that they have a water purification system where they sell the water to families in the city. They get the older kids in the program to help with orders and deliveries, giving them a responsibility and sense of ownership.

The kids at Educando Para La Vida :)

The kids at Educando Para La Vida 🙂

What does this look like? It looks like a bunch of volunteers showing up every day after school to do a kids club! They provide homework help, singing, dancing, snacks, and games. All things that they don’t get at home. Most of them don’t have dads around (either because they were abusive, they are alcoholics and the moms don’t want them around or they just split when times got hard) and with so much poverty there is often a lot of abuse and the kids are forced to work instead of going to school. Also, with the nature of this lifestyle often times there is not much love or fun coming from home. It can be very rough and hopeless. So Educando Para La Vida tries to give the kids love, affection, support, and encouragement to strive for more. We were able to help with this after school project which was very fun! We brought a lot of art supplies that they cannot afford to buy themselves which was a real treat for both the kids and workers. We planned out each day, did puppet shows, plays, and various other things they hadn’t gotten to do before. It was pretty tiring with all the dancing and translating that we were doing. I cannot believe that the volunteers do that every single day! They also have occasional days out like going to a water park or going into the city. Opportunities many of them wouldn’t have without the center. The center also encourages them to apply for University!!! Almost unheard of for a lot of the children in Zaragoza.

Sometimes we had tickle fights ;)

Sometimes we had tickle fights 😉

Another aspect of our project was setting up 12 small businesses with families of kids involved in Educando Para La Vida. Before leaving the UK we raised money to put into this project. We were creating a system of interest free loans. This is a vision that the center has to help the families in this community. So we split into teams of 2, met with each family, planned what business they would like to start, wrote out a budget, bought all necessary supplies, and got them set up to start working. There were all sorts of businesses: Making clothes and selling them in the market, raising pigs and selling them for food, setting up a street food stall, or raising chickens to sell the eggs and even more!

Bringing home the chicks :)

Bringing home the chicks 🙂

Andy and I were in a team working with two different families. The first family was a single mom named Helen and her 4 boys (she called them her 4 little earthquakes, hehe). She had lost her daughter a few years back from a lung condition. She was a uniquely wonderful hardworking mom with so much love for her boys. She wanted to raise chickens and sell them for food. So we bought the supplies, built the coop, and got the chicks and their food for the next 6 months.

Setting up the chicken coop with Helen and two of her boys

Setting up the chicken coop with Helen and two of her boys

The second family we worked with was a mom Yaseña, her two kids and her husband (out of the 12 families this was the only one that had a dad in the picture). She was such an amazing mom! So much love and care for her kids. The most stable family we were involved with. They already had the beginnings of a farm but she wanted to buy a pig to have babies and she would sell the piglets. We bought the pig, and supplies for a pen, and enough food for 6 months. We bought cement, mixed it on the ground with our hands and a hoe, and spread it on the ground with pieces of wood, HARD WORK! The neighbors even came to help us out. She was 9 months pregnant while we were working with her. She actually passed her due date while we were making the pig pen with her and she was working just as hard as we were!!! What an amazing woman! They don’t have any concept of maternity leave there 😉 I was so impressed and how hard working all the families we were working with.

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Making a cement floor for the pig pen

Making a cement floor for the pig pen

It was amazing to be working with families in Guatemala, being a guest in their home, chatting with them, encouraging them, and making a difference in their life. A once in a lifetime opportunity for every one of these families. But the biggest thing I took away was how welcoming they were of us into their families! Every home we went into we just felt like the most honored guests! They thanked us repeatedly for coming so far just to be with them. I can honestly say I have never felt so welcomed and invited into somebody home. We got other opportunities to be part of the community like attending evening single moms support groups, prayer meetings, youth groups, churches, and small groups. We also got to do a bit of preaching and sharing of our testimonies. From what we heard, we were very encouraging to everybody we came in contact with. I couldn’t believe the welcome we received 🙂

Doing crafts with the kids

Doing crafts with the kids

Our team leading singing during a church service

Our team leading singing during a church service

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Off to Alton Towers we go!

Love him! My roller coaster buddy <3

Love him! My roller coaster buddy ❤

Good group of roller coaster lovers :)

Good group of roller coaster lovers 🙂

So this weekend we took full advantage of our Merlin Passes and made the trek up to Alton Towers. This meant a 5:30am start which was a-ok with me since it meant we were going up to ride roller coasters. We went with James and Ed and it made for a great group! Unfortunately it was freezing cold which meant the cues were short but also meant our feet went numb pretty quick 😉 I’m ok with that trade off 😛 It was good fun, a day full of laughs, screams, and excitement. Tons of fun. Alton Towers is also so beautiful that it was good fun just walking around seeing everything.

Not too sure about this one...

Not too sure about this one…

The boys.... nuff said

The boys…. nuff said

Beautiful castle even at a theme park. Love England!

Beautiful castle even at a theme park. Love England!

Love him! My roller coaster buddy <3

Love him! My roller coaster buddy ❤

Cool Bridges!

Cool Bridges!

My favorite roller coaster!

My favorite roller coaster!

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