Our plan to catch the7:30am chicken bus was quickly changed after we looked at the clock. I had woken up to the irritating screech of an exotic bird mixed with the “Ola, ola, ola” of the parrot that lives as a pet in the hotel. Dad’s watch alarm hadn’t gone off, so I ended up waking everyone up at 7am.
We all had to get ready and shower, so by the time we left our room, it was already 7:31am. Needless to say, we ran the whole way to the bus station. Someone was supposed to pick us up at 8:30 in Parramos to bring us to the orphanage, but we had no idea how long the bus would take. We had no choice but to take the 8:00am chicken bus and cross our fingers. The ride cost Q3 which is the equivalence to 30 cents American. It was nice though because there weren’t as many people wanting to go from Antigua to Parramos that early in the morning, so it wasn’t as full as we were expecting the bus to be.
We were worried however, as the driver inched along at a snail-like pace, hoping to catch some more riders… and money. The door of the bus was open, allowing clouds of dust to drift in and settling in my soon gritty mouth. Uneven cobblestone and deep ruts in the road caused the bright red bus to bump and creak along the roads. The man standing at the open doorway yelling: “Parramos! Antigua, Parramos!” didn’t seem to mind the pungent diesel smell that came in with the dust. As we drove, the road turned from cobblestone to dirt, and buildings grew more scarce. We all breathed a sigh of relief when the bus finally stopped in Parramos just on time.
A white truck was waiting for us and we were loaded in, and brought to the Orphanage. A lady showed us around and we were all taken aback by how different this was to Casa Guatemala! It was not only neater and cleaner, but better cared for. Instead of a mini village of broken down buildings, there was one, intact practical house with a court yard in the center. Instead of dirt and cement pathways, there was freshly cut grass, and even some gardens! You could really tell that this was run by an American, and not some Guatemalan person.
After a brief tour, Jaeden and Dad were put to work painting a room, while I went outside to help watch the toddlers. Soon after, we were joined by the 4-7 year olds who were as eager as the 1 and 2 year olds to get to know me.
After the younger ones went inside for lunch, I spent my time with the 5-7 year olds who were overflowing with energy! They would steal small item and run away in order for me to chase them, doggy pile on me, demand piggyback rides and that I spin them around.
By the time Jaeden come out to help five hours later, I was exhausted. Jaeden did most of the running around after that, while I took pictures and played some games. An hour later, Dad came out to help and was accepted as someone with fresh energy. The lady who had showed us around earlier wasn’t surprised to find us all worn out and tired by the time she took us back to Antigua at 4:00pm.