Thanks for the checking out the blog for this Global Leadership Adventures program!
Here are a few things you can expect:
- We typically receive 2-3 blog posts per week here at GLA Headquarters from our program staff and students, so please don’t be alarmed if you don’t see a blog post daily – that’s totally normal.
- Blog updates sent on weekends may not be posted until Monday.
- Due to many factors, including but not limited to internet accessibility, photos may not always be available to post onto the blog. Sometimes onsite program staff are only able to send text back to Headquarters, where our team updates the blog.
Thank you for your patience and understanding, and we hope you enjoy following along on these unforgettable adventures.
For frequently asked questions about the blogs, please visit our Program Blog FAQ page.
-The Global Leadership Adventures HQ Team
BLOG POST FOR JULY 15
Today was our first day together! Students were super excited to meet everyone and start connecting with each other. We had breakfast at 7:30 which was beans, eggs and plantains. After breakfast we head over to Azotea Coffee farm for a tour. Students learn about the practices that go into making coffee and got to explore. After the tour we hung out and played card games until lunch was ready at 12:00. We had a delicious lunch. The options were grilled chicken, hamburgers, ribs, or grilled vegetables. After lunch we headed to our home base in Xela.
Despite it being a long bus ride, the students made the most of it with games and sing alongs. When we arrived to home base we did a tour of the campus and then had Chow Circle where we went over the schedule for the next day. Then we had dinner. After dinner we had one on one check ins for mentor groups then headed to bed. The group is super excited for zip lining tomorrow!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 16
Today we had a very active and exciting trip to a small town near our home base where we could Zip Line throughout the beautiful mountains and landscapes of Xela.
We began our day by having delicious breakfast at home base: refried beans, sweet boiled plantain, and eggs with cream on the side, yummy!!. After that we took our water bottles, backpacks, bug repellant and we got on our way to Vuelo Extremo which is where we Zip lined.
As soon as we got there we got some pictures of the amazing view of Santiaguito Volcano, other mountains around us, and of course ourselves!! We got to the zip line stations in three different groups. We rode on a pick up to the 1st station and our trip began.
We had a great time and took great videos and pictures thanks to our amazing mentors who were always there to support us. After the Zip line adventure we headed back to home base where we had lunch and had our official orientation day with some activities to get to know us more. Our mentors explained to us the mission and vision of GLA and common rules to follow while we are in Xela and during our entire visit in Guatemala.
We had dinner, then our Chow circle celebrated our accomplishments reflecting on the day’s value: Be Courageous. We had dinner, and had mentor groups where we got to reflect on our values during an activity. We finally went to our rooms and hung out for a while. It was just an awesome and exciting day!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 17
Written by Leaders of the Day – N and T
Our 4th day together was a hit 💥💥students had a pancake breakfast before heading out to begin service at the local school. We were greeted with a beautiful civic display full of songs and art work to celebrate the holiday ‘Dia De La Juventud’. 🎉 Soon after students were divided into pairs and immersed in various classrooms form around 9am-12pm with children ages 5-12. Depending on the age of the students in the class, we engaged by playing games, teaching English, helping with school work, and connecting with the community👩🏫👨🏫💕. After students returned to have a wonderful lunch of fried chicken (or yummy soy protein for the vegetarians), pasta, salad, and papaya watermelon juice 🥤. We had to save room because right after we headed over to a local chocolate museum 🍫!! Students indulged in a chocolate fountain, hot chocolate, tea, and cardamom drinking chocolate! After the chocolate museum, students enjoyed a salsa class from a local dance studio 💃🏻💃🏻 what a great day!!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 18
Written by Leaders of the Day S and R
Today we started off strong with a great breakfast. We had oatmeal, yogurt with granola, a banana, and to spice things up, a piece of chocolate cake. We then headed out to the school where instead of being with the kids, we painted two classrooms. The kids were off from school so we had plenty of space and time to get started. With little left to complete, we headed back to home base. For lunch we had chicken and rice. So yummy! About an hour later we departed for Xelo for a Mayan and Catholic based tour. We began our journey at an authentic, Spanish-Catholic Church. Then we ventured up a hill to a shrine with a beautiful view.
After that, we walked over to a nice lady’s house where she walked us through the process of making the traditional textile shirts. She speaks Ki’ch, and is very well known and respected around her community. After, we quickly stopped by her sauna that was in a cave around the women’s house. Next we headed back. At home base, we were able to rest up and reset for our nightly chow circle! Chow tonight was led by our leaders of the day. They went over the schedule for tomorrow and revealed tomorrows value: uncovering solutions. After all the important stuff they held a game of Musical Chairs! For our well deserved meal we had some brown noodles, beans, and a cheese-filled tortilla. Eager to be done with our schedule, we split into our mentor groups and went over our lesson plan for tomorrow, each crafted by groups of two or three. A great way to end an amazing day!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 19
Written by Leaders of the Day F and J
This morning we woke to hard boiled eggs in tomato sauce, beans and plantains. After we finished we left for our community service at the elementary school where half of our group worked to finish painting the classrooms and the other half began English lessons with the kids. At 11:30 we said our goodbyes and heading back to home base for a lunch consisting of breaded meat, pasta, and vegetables. This afternoon we went to Momostenango where we learned about textile making from a family that has been spinning wool for 6 generations! We got to spin the wool into yarn ourselves, and later we learned what natural ingredients were used to color the wool! We ended the afternoon with homemade tortillas, beans, quac and shopping! We were given the opportunity to buy handmade purses, blankets, sweaters, and slippers from this amazing family before heading back to home base!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 20
Written by G and C, Leaders of the Day
After waking up early in the morning, we started the day off with some delicious pancakes and papaya. We headed to the school where we taught English, played with students during recess and finished painting up some of the classrooms. We’ve loved getting to know both the kids and the community we’ve served this week, and are glad we have a couple more days with them before we have to say goodbye! After service we returned to home base and enjoyed a traditional Guatemalan lunch of chicken and rice covered in salsa verde.
We then traveled to downtown Xela where we learned about its history and the natural beauties Guatemala has to offer. We visited a popular Cafe, where we tried traditional hot chocolate with spices and coffee. We walked around the city and embraced the culture of the city we’ve been calling home for the past few days.
After our tour of the town we were welcomed back home with a lecture on Guatemalan history from a local who endured the countries civil war in the 1940’s-1950’s. Learning from his first hand experience was incredibly moving, and for so many of us it felt as if our history books had come alive as he shared his experience.
As we reach the midpoint of the program we reflect on the wonderful memories and new things we’ve learned, as well as look forward to new experiences to come!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 21
Written by leaders of the day K and S
After waking up bright and early, the group started the day off with a delicious breakfast of beans, plantains, eggs, and watermelon! We then headed out to the school and fully painted a classroom together, practicing great teamwork, we finished quickly and all had the chance to play with the kids at recess! After getting back to home base we had an amazing lunch consisting of broccoli, mashed potatoes, beef, corn, and salsa. For dessert we ate blue jello! Afterward, we headed out on an hour long car ride to las fuentes georgina’s. These hot springs contained thermal and mineral-rich waters which are said to be beneficial for both physical and emotional health. Stunning mountain side views accompanied these hot springs. After taking in the hot springs, the group headed to Walmart where we all stocked up on snacks and essentials. Many quetzals later, we headed home, had chow circle and mentor groups and got some much needed rest.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 21
Written by Leaders of the Day J and T
Today we started out with a delicious breakfast of fresh fruit and oatmeal soup. Shortly after we departed for the lovely panajel, where we took a boat ride to San Juan. In San Juan we explored a lively market and tasted some refreshing gelato. On the boat ride back, we got caught in a thunderstorm, which made for an interesting time. Back at the hotel we had a great lunch of chicken, guacamole, rice and chips. After lunch everyone relaxed for a while and took some much needed naps before we headed to another market. After spending a few hours at the market we came back for dinner, which was spaghetti and meat sauce, broccoli salad and cookies. We wrapped the day up with mentor groups and free time.
– Leaders of the day J and T
BLOG POST FOR JULY 23
Written by Leaders of the Day M and L
First, we woke up at the hotel and had breakfast, which was, eggs, yogurt, bread, etc. After breakfast, we headed off to the market of Chichicastenango. When we got there we shopped around for a few hours. The shops included masks, textiles, clothing, food, etc. After we had a lunch at a hotel in the area, which was chicken or roast beef, vegetables, and french fries. Then we drove back to Xela, homebase, and had fried ravioli, filled with carrots and a side of rice. We ended the night with a debate during mentor groups about women’s rights in Guatemala. The debate lasted just over two hours. Then we went to bed.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 24
Written by Lauren:
Today we woke up to Party in the USA blasting and left home base bright and early to go to our last day of service. Since we had successfully painted three classrooms we all got to be teachers today. Saying goodbye to the kids that we had gotten to know and love over the past week was very hard, but it was great to see how what we did made a positive difference on their lives. After lunch we went to a talk about immigration relating to kids. This talk was about the hard truth about child migration from countries in Central America to the US. It was very meaningful. After that talk we listened to a local who explained the other side of the Guatemalan Civil War. This talk opposed to the one we heard the day earlier. At the end of the day we all did the OMG activity where we wrote One Meaningful Goal. We did goal setting based on what impacted us this trip and our goals for the future. Then we went to bed!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 25
Written by Leaders of the day S and M
Today was a day full of a mixture of emotions! We started off the day strong with pancakes, eggs and beans. After we finished our delicious breakfast we hit the road for Chicabal, a no longer erupting volcano. There we hiked down to the lagoon and attended a traditional Mayan ceremony where we gave thanks for everything we have. The ceremony consisted of a shaman performing a Mayan ritual, emphasizing certain impactful parts of the culture which made us as a group feel very inspired! Towards the end, we all threw in six candle sticks into a fire made by the shaman in order to achieve goals we have for the future, the white one symbolizing air, bones, and purity, the black one symbolizing death, sickness, and misfortune, the red being flesh, blood, and war, yellow being the sun, green being nature, and finally blue symbolizing the water, an incredibly respected resource in these communities. Once done we hiked back up which was definitely a workout! At homebase we had lunch which consisted of chicken, pasta and vegetables. Right after we had two hours to pack everything up in preparation for our departure to Antigua and then had an intense soccer tournament on the grass field. With some extra free time before chow circle we played basketball and at chow circle had a concert from our very own, Bubski The Rapper! Following a pasta dinner we had appreciation circle where we shared our appreciation and love for the other members of our trip. It touched a lot of hearts leaving many of us crying! However to switch the mood we had an epic dance party before in rooms and lights out. What an eventful day!
Leaders of the day S and M
BLOG POST FOR JULY 26
We started off our last morning in Zela with a traditional Guatemalan Breakfast of beans and eggs. We then said our last goodbyes to homebase, and began our journey to Antigua. We stopped at Ixmiche, the Mayan Ruins, where we were given a tour. After the ruins we had lunch at a yummy restaurant. We had chicken or veggies. We then continued our drive and stopped to learn about the Mayan weddings. After the wedding we were given the chance to look at the handmade art the family was selling. After we finished we finally made it to Antigua. We quickly got ready for to go out in the town and shop, and then we had dinner at a restaurant. There we celebrated Chloe’s 17th birthday. We ended the night with a quick evaluation of the trip.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 27
Today, a lot of emotions are in the air, most of our students had to say Good-Bye to their friends. There were a lot of great memories and moments we know all of the students will cherish for the rest of their lives.
After their nice dinner last night and celebrating one of the students’ B-day our wonderful team had students walk around Antigua Guatemala, take pictures and have fun with their peers.
Today, some of our students woke up really early at around 2:30 am to get their first shuttle bus to La Aurora Airport, where they had to wish each other the best. The second group of students arrived at the airport at around 9:40 am to do their check-ins and get ready for their flights. We know our students just had a great time these weeks and all the staff felt sad to let them go. Finally, the last group arrived at 5 pm at the airport and got ready to get back home safely.
We appreciate all the time and effort our students put through the whole experience and we only wish the best in their future plans.