We can’t believe it has already been so long since our Guatemala trip ended! It seems like
yesterday that we were playing with our new young Guatemalan friends, taking them for piggy back
rides, playing soccer, teaching them simple English phrases and numbers, and painting lively murals
in their play areas and cafeteria. You’re probably back in school (or starting college!) but we wanted
you to know that those of us that worked alongside you in Guatemala are still thinking of you and the
impact we made this summer together.
Our time spent together in Guatemala truly did make an impact. You should all know you left
Guatemala a better place than when you came. El Centro de Atención Integral daycare and
preschool will continue to be a place of shelter and community for the children you met during our
first days here. The colorful murals you created will remain long after our time there is just a
memory, making the school a friendlier and happier place than when we arrived. More importantly,
we hope the personal connections at the school, the exposure and appreciation of indigenous
Mayan customs, religious practices and craftsmanship, as well as the causes and effects of the
Guatemalan civil war, will serve you and the communities you become a part of in your life! We are
all more aware and empathetic of the complexities of Guatemalan politics and their economic
impacts on the citizens.
Another thing we can’t forget is how much fun we had together in Guatemala! You were a huge part
of making this trip so much fun by bonding as a group. We experienced Guatemalan culture by
dancing the salsa, learning how coffee and chocolate are grown, harvested and produced for
consumption, not to mention the tastings! Visiting local artisan workshops and bargaining at markets
of colorful gave us a surge of adrenaline when we felt we’d gotten the best price and an appreciation
of the workmanship involved in the souvenirs we brought home. We also explored Xela, San Andres
Xecul, Lake Atitlan, Lake Chicabal, Chichicastenango, the hot springs, and views from the road of
the beautiful Guatemalan highlands. The exhilaration of the zip line canopy tour and our dance party
with a group of unforgettable friends will forever be etched into our hearts!
We all worked really hard and had a blast together. Whether it was playing card games at night,
joking with our community members, singing songs on the bus, or exploring new places together- it
was that much fun because we got to share it with all you — the 2018 GLA Guatemala group!
Thanks for helping to make these special memories in an amazing place.
Some special moments from our trip:
-Our service project was amazing as we had the opportunity to engage with and play with the
children of the school as well as paint murals and decorations in the play areas and cafeteria.
-Lots of laughs and awkward moments while doing our best to learn how to dance the salsa.
-The scavenger hunt through the cemetery in Xela and writing the names of our “beloveds” on
-Vanushka’s legendary grave followed by a hot chocolate treat.
-Dipping into the deliciously hot springs surrounded by lush tropical greenery.
-Celebrating Georgia’s birthday with a cake, piñata, and a dance party in the dining room.
-Sharing our “special” talents with each other, especially Patrick’s Nikki Minaj intro!
-The chocolate fondue tower with fresh fruit pieces and delicious hot chocolate at the chocolate
factory in Xela.
-Learning about Mayan wedding ceremonies and watching Erin and Jack get married followed by
making our own tortillas outside of Antigua.
-Zipping across beautiful Lake Atitlan in the speed boats surrounded by volcanoes.
-Driving hard bargains for our souvenir purchases in Chichicastenango.
-Summoning our Mayan Nahual spirits with the Mayan shaman at Lake Chicabal while watching the
clouds roll in over the lake after our challenging hike.
May your Nahual continue to watch over you and keep the spirit of Guatemala in your heart!
Patrick and the Guatemala Team