I landed in Guatemala City exhausted, excited, and happier than I can explain. It is amazing how this being my fourth trip the airport still feels as though it is out of a movie. Year after year, I exit the terminal with more baggage than I can handle at that point of near collapsing from depletion from what seems to be an easy trip on paper, but always ends up being a marathon! I get spit out into a wide open cement pick up area gated so people can see who comes out. where there are hudereds of Guatemalans pressed up against the gate awaiting family members, prospective taxi customers, volunteers, missionaries and tourists. The many beautiful generations of Guatemalans, smiling children peering through the gate and signs for travelers to be picked up blend into the landscape of traditional Guatemalan dress, current styles and even cowboy hats.
Luckily, I was found by the Lemonade International team very easily, within 5 minutes, record time (unlike the first year I came when we waited for over an hour, only to realize that our pick up people were there the entire time as well, good fun though!) This time it was Mosh (Moses) and my new friend Inna. Moshe is Tita's son and is now almost 12. He now remembers me with out me having to jar his memory with stories and songs.....I guess after for years of consistant visits people are realizing I COME BACK :) It feels good. Inna (pictured left making a funny face HA!), also there to receive me, is from the Ukraine, fluent in both English and Spanish and has been living here for almost 1 year as a volunteer for the mission in La Limonada. She and I now refer to each other as sisters, because of our similar names (we keep answering to both Inna or Gina), and because we immediately became friends expressing that we feel like we have known each other for years.
When the van pulled up I was extactic to see Tita (the founder of the mission in La Limonada) and I starting jumping up and down. Its funny but not the least bit concerning to see locals immediatly turn their heads to see me the gringa jumping up and down, but for me, seeing Tita is a HUGE deal. Tita is like a mother to hundreds... shoot, maybe even thousands of children and now adults. I know no one like her, people say she is like a mother Theresa to the childern of La Limonada. To me she is like a big sister, one of the most understanding, giving, real, honest, open, loving, humble, proactive, prophetic, people following in the foot steps of Jesus I have ever met. I never feel judged when I am in her presence. She accepts me for who I am and for that I love her.
Coming back to Guatemala is in many ways like coming home, and always brings up questions that are waiting to be answered...each year the answers get clearer and clearer and more and more questions shaken to the surface.......