Time Capsule Letter – October 2016
Session 3 was a bit difficult to manage. We ended up having 2 separate clicks of students who for the most part got along, but had a difficult time intermingling. One of the highlights from this group was their involvement at the school. Two of our students, Tamar and Gen, asked us one evening what more they could do to help. After having conversation with all of us and Orlando, they decided they wanted to help build a website where people could donate to the school. Also where their could be sponsorships for children at the school. They spent the final two days of service interviewing students and teachers to help build content for the website. They also chose to sponsor a student each themselves.
Service included the continued construction of the classroom. Another group of students closed the English language classes successfully. GLA students taught Guatemalan 5th graders who were very eager to learn. The mural painting advanced significantly handing off the project to the next session who would easily be able to finish the production.
Summer Blog Posts
First group photo a bit late. Minus Mikayla.
July 16, 2016
Its been an amazing few days in Guatemala. We began by participating in a Mayan wedding at the home of 5 families. We learned about their lives and about traditional Mayan weddings. Later we went to a coffee plantation and received a tour of the coffee making processes specifically in the area of Antigua. Then we drove for 4 hours through the mountains to reach home base in Quetzaltenango. We began the next day by going on a hard hike up Chicabal (a non active volcano). We participated in a Mayan shaman ceremony to bless us all near the sacred lake at the end of the hike. Our final member of the group, Makayla arrived afterwards and we spent the rest of the day at the home. On day 4 we went to the school named Pacaja and received a tour of the classrooms and additions made by other GLA groups. The highlight for most of us was being able to play with the excited kids at recess. Later in the afternoon we drove to a nearby town called San Andres Xecul and were taken on a tour of the town from a local guide. At the end of the tour we were treated to traditional hot chocolate and sweet bread!!! We cannot wait to see what else is in store for us next!!!!
On our way to the base of the volcano to see Laguna de Chicabal
A traditional mock Mayan wedding ceremony filled with flowers, coffee and bread, and a chance to practice making hand made tortillas.
Mayan symbology on Catholic Church built in the 17th Century in the town of San Andres Xecul
GLA students smile for the camera as they wait to hear a presentation by Doña Fabi, a teacher of Pacaja for 30 years.
July 21st, 2016
Media Team: Tamar Weir, Elizabeth Eberst, Ellie Hull
The last couple of days have been super fun! Every morning we have been going to the school for service and in the afternoon excursions/ activities. In San Andreas Xecul we took a tour of the town and as part of the tour we received a traditional dance performance. The next day after service we went to a Marimba class (4thgeneration family-owned music school) and we were able to listen and play the Marimba. Afterwards we went to the nearby mall and got the opportunity to go to Walmart and eat American fast-food at the mall. Everyone overbought snacks and ate a lot!! We came back for dinner and were surprised with an outing at the bowling alley, first night out was a success! On Wednesday after service we all got dressed up and went to a 6th generation family owned mini Willy Wonka factory called Doña Pancha’s Chocolates. We ate more than enough chocolate from the chocolate fountain and tasted some hot chocolate. Afterwards everyone bought some authentic chocolate from the shop!! Later we went to a poppin’ club and learned how to salsa dance, it was hard but everyone had a blast.
Leadership Personality Styles, Blue Group: The compassionate nurturers
Leadership Personality Styles, Green Group: The logical and sensible
Leadership Personality Style, Orange Group: The “We are ready for fun now”
Leadership Personality Styles, Gold Group: The organized planners
Group picture with the granddaughter of Dona Pancha, chocolate artisan
“Salud” and “Cheers” at the chocolate workshop.
Modeling a traditional dress from San Andres Xecul
Cultural experiences at San Andres Xecul
Perfecting our salsa moves
July 24, 2016
The last few days have been fun filled! On Thursday we started off by going to the school, but instead of service, we were in charge of the beauty booth at the school carnival. We painted the kids faces, did their hair, painted their nails, and had lots of fun running around with them. Afterwards, we participated in a softball game against a local girls softball team. The teams consisted of both groups and we had fun attempting to play. The team then came back with us to homebase and joined us for a pizza dinner. It was nice to have the opportunity to interact with teenagers from Xela.
The next day we went to service and then our activity in the afternoon was a trip to the hotsprings, Fuentes Georginas. It was a mini hike on the Ecological Trail to the Mayan hot baths. Everyone enjoyed the relaxing soak in the hot springs and the jungle scenery. Later on that night we had a guest speaker, Don Arturo, who came and talked to us about the origins of Guatemala’s political history. It was a very powerful and enlightening talk that we received and we learned a lot from it.
On Saturday, we had a 1 ½ hour drive to Lake Atitlan, and enjoyed the ride, especially the volcanoes. We arrived at the Paradise Inn, where we spent the night. That morning, we went on a boat ride across the sacred lake, Lago Atitlan, to San Juan from Panajachel. We spent a couple of hours exploring the town and purchasing some goods from the shops. We then got back on the boats and went back to Panajachel, where we ate lunch and walked around at the marketplace. Afterwards we went back to the hotel and got settled in for the night.
On Sunday we drove another hour to Chichicastenango, which is the largest market in Central America. We spent the whole day shopping for souvenirs and had a blast, despite the fact that it started to rain halfway through the day. We’ve had so much fun and although there are only a few days left, we can’t wait to see what else is in store for us!