Saturday, January 30, 2010, Trista Matascastillo - Community Relations Sr Associate
Our last day in Guatemala City we held a Forum of all the agencies we had visited throughout the week. The room was a bit tense at times, with differing views expressed; however, there was a strong feeling in the room that the government needs reform, and it should begin with the formation of a Ministry of Housing. It is the one issue all sides agree upon. Beyond this there is a bill that is before the congress that the nonrofit housing agencies are in full support of, which is #38-69. It is a holistic approach to the housing issues. What we do feel we have accomplished while here in Guatemala is relationship-building between agencies and Habitat Guatemala. We will be following up to ensure that the relationships continue to prosper.
After leaving Guatemala City we arrived in the beautiful city of Antigua! We are spending our last day-and-a-half as tourists in this amazing colonial town with cobble stone streets and brightly colored buildings. We made a quick trip to the local artesian market and had a lesson in negotiating prices. I think I’m getting the hang of it, but I have to admit that I don’t like bartering. I also had the opportunity to hold the most beautiful baby girl fully dressed in pink while her mother sold me a baby sling for the baby I am expecting in July. I did pay too much, but I feel that it was totally worth it. The rest of my purchases were more reasonable.
We were delightfully surprised to have Clive Rainey, who was on the founding board of Habitat for Humanity and served side-by-side with Millard Fuller as one of our first volunteers. He now works for Habitat for Humanity International as a public speaker and travels around the world. He will be retiring this summer and plans to move to Guatemala for his retirement. He led us in our nightly devotional and inspired all of us to not get caught up in details but to all do our part. He is truly a man to admire.
View all of our photos from the trip at http://bit.ly/8qRili