Monday June 10, 2019
They day is finally here and I am happy to inform you that all of your lovely children have arrived safe and sound! From what I hear, the flight went smoothly but everyone is excited to be off the plane and headed to get something to eat at a popular restaurant here in Guatemala! I am personally thrilled at their excitement and enthusiasm for what is to come! After dinner, we will head back to the hotel for some brief orientation and some much needed rest!
I also wanted to introduce myself! My name is Jordan Doty. This is my second time serving with GLA in Guatemala and I am so excited to share this journey with your children. I can personally guarantee that they are in for a treat and an experience they will never forget! We have so many incredible activities planned for them and we will do our best to keep you updated about all of the fun! The students will be creating daily blogs with photos attached in order for you to hear their perspective on everything that is going on while we are here!
Tomorrow we will be introduced to a a traditional Mayan wedding ceremony and learn how to make our own homemade tortillas, followed by a trip to the ancient ruins of lximche where we will learn the meaning of the structures and a little about the ancient Mayan history! We will finish our day at the home base where we will be staying for the remainder of the program. Update again soon! I have also attached a picture of their smiling faces 🙂
Tuesday June 12, 2019
My experience in Guatemala during the 2019 Junior Journey trip! My first official day in Guatemala was amazing!! We woke up to a breakfast that reminded me of home (seeing as Im Salvadorean-Dominican). The day continued by us going to a village in San Antonio known as “Aguas Calientes”, we learned about the customs such as the weaving done before a wedding.
I was chosen to be apart of the a showcasing of the wedding and I was decided to be the bride. I was then arranged to marry Stephen and it was fun and hilarious, but what had me intrigued was how intimate and beautiful the ceremony was. I loved going to ruins and learning more about the foundations built based on ancient Mayans and their livelihood. I participated in a fire ceremony that called out to the gods and asked for health, fertility, agriculture and etc. Overall the day was fun!”
Wednesday June 12, 2019
Today was the first time that we went to the school to start our voluntary work. When we got there the kids were in the margins and welcomed us very excitedly. After the welcome, we began our service in painting the external walls of the school.
We worked on that until it was recess time for the kids and put everything away. During recess we got the chance to interact with the kids by playing games and talking to them. After that, we returned to painting the walls and then we went to home base for lunch time.
After lunch, we took a ride to the city of Xecul. In arriving, we met with a guide who would then go on to show us around the city. We visited a church and learned about the religion that is common there, which is a mix of catholism and mayan religions. While hiking up the mountainous city, we visited a woman who weaves and we had the chance to drink hot chocolate and eat a different type of bread, in which they told us is served to visitors!
More updates to come!
Thursday June 13, 2019
On the fourth day of our Guatemala trip we started our day with the children at the Intra Mundo elementary school in Xela. We had so much fun playing soccer and jump rope with them!
After lunch we went to the market place in Chichicastenango. We bought so many cool things there such as sweatshirts ,bracelets, and purses.
We ended our day with dinner all together and a game of uno.
Friday June 14, 2019
Today we went to the school and painted over the walls that we had previously painted, painted the lower sides of the walls blue, painted the kitchen, and played with the kids. After we finished playing with the kids, the kids performed for us and gave us all gifts of gratitude for painting their walls.
A little while later we went to the hot springs and had fun in the water over there. The most exciting thing about the hot spring had to be the captivating environment we were located in. It was an extraordinary experience and definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity that we will all remember forever.
Saturday June 15, 2019
Today is day six on our junior journey trip and it was also our last day at the school. We started off our morning ziplining in Retchuleu. To start ziplining we had to get on a truck and travel up a mountain, it was a short but bumpy way up. After harnesses and helmets were on, we were ready for a once in a lifetime experience. The view while ziplining was beautiful, and the experience was extremely thrilling. We even got to see a waterfall!
After ziplining we got back to home base, ate lunch, and left to finish our work at the school. Unfortunately, our last day at the school was without the children but we were able to finish up our work. When we got home a Guatemalan civil war veteran was waiting for us. He shared his side of the war which was the side of the Guerillas and we all learned so much and realized how important it is to understand both sides of a story.
Sunday June 16, 2019
Today we as a group faced another extreme challenge that tested our phycological and physical abilities. We all woke up as a group early today and ate breakfast, we had cereal, yogurt and toast. The milk was supposedly fresh from a cow, and it tasted differently than traditional milk from back home. We also tried a different cream cheese which didn’t taste like cream cheese at all, it tasted like butter.
After breakfast a lot of us went on a hike up a volcano! The volcano was not active, but it did have a surprise at the top. The hike was intense but it was fun. At the peak of the mountain we saw a beautiful lake. According to the Mayan religion, some hold rituals there in order to praise their ancestors.
Lastly one of the GLA agents told us a very personal story. It was eye opening to hear about the normal life of a large population of people who live here. It made a lot of us open up our minds and our ears.
We miss home! But we are having a blast here.
Monday June 17, 2019
Today we left our home base to go to the lake Atitlan in a city called Pana. We took a boat ride together to San Juan, where we explored the village and all of the local venders. After, we went swimming at the local beach where water was warm and had a lot of seaweed.
Next we went shopping and found a cool place to make custom bracelets for us! Then, we went together to watch the sunset on the lake before dinner. We are at a whole new hotel with a new layout and less bunk beds!
I have really enjoyed getting to experience this culture and I am not ready to head home yet!
Your students have boarded their planes and are on their way home to you! I know that some of them are sad to leave but all of them are excited to be back home as well!
We had a wonderful time here in Guatemala and I hope your students share all of their highlights with you but I am also going to share a few of mine:
– We made some serious progress and really changed the lives of the students at Intra Mundo forever. Their school is now more beautiful than it was before, but even more than that, they now know that there are people around the world who care about them and were willing to come to paint their school for them because they matter and so does their education!
– We met many local Guatemalans here and built connections that will continue. The students are also returning home with a better understanding of other cultures around the world.
– We had a lot of fun zip lining, hiking, swimming in hot springs and that lake, boat riding and shopping in the local markets!
We made memories that we will never forget and I know that I am very grateful!
International Director Jordan Doty