Utz i Petic


Utz i Putic ("Welcome" in K'aqchikal)

I don’t recall a warmer welcome home than the one Greg and I received on Friday when we returned to Tecpán from Canada. While we were away Antolin (our foreman), his wife Nicolassa and their four kids stayed in our home with Cecilia (our architect) and the dogs. When we drove up to the house, we were greeted with huge grins, big hugs, welcome signs in three languages (K’aqchikal, Spanish and English) and the house decorated in pink and purple balloons and flowers. I was overcome with happiness to be back.

We all sat around the big round table and shared a delicious meal that had been specially prepared for us.. Following lunch, Greg and I brought out the bag of little gifts we’d gathered for everyone. These are kids with very few toys and their gratitude meters were off the charts when they saw the finger puppets, book, game and crystalized science experiment we’d chosen for them! We don’t like to be about “stuff” but felt that in this case, it was important to show our gratitude to all for so lovingly taking care of everything while we were gone. For Greg, as Project Manager, to be able to leave for five weeks, was a big deal. He felt complete confidence leaving things with Cecilia, Antolin and the crew.

Internal Eco-Brick Walls

After the gifts were opened and played with, we all piled into the truck and headed to the land. While Antolin, Cecilia and the workers were overcome with nervousness, fearing that we’d be disappointed in their work, Greg and I were so excited to see the progress. And we weren’t disappointed. Since our departures, both roofs have been put on the houses and nearly all the internal eco-brick walls have been erected in one of the homes! I can’t even begin to describe how exciting it was to see such amazing progress.

Above the door of one of the homes hung a sign that reads “Bienvenidos • Welcome”. It is decorated with eco-bricks and bottle caps. Together, the workers had made this for us. What a welcome! We’ve come home and it feels amazing.

-Heather Alicia


2 Responses

  1. Gin Nielsen says:

    Now that’s a beautiful welcome home story! I am still in shock that you’ve moved to Guatemala. However, seeing the love that you give and get there makes the move easier for me to accept. I know you bring such kindness and compassion to all the places in the world that you go and the Guatemalan people are very fortunate to have you with them!
    love always,
    Gin Gin

  2. Maria says:


    I am so teary-eyed to hear this story! What an awesome welcome! I am in awe about the interior walls. It’s so amazing and real. Dreams really do come true!



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