This is kind of a belated post but I'm back from Guatemala! For those that didn't know I was gone (I had so much to do before I left, I never got around to putting a post up), I was in Guatemala from March 25-April 3 on a school trip. It was quite honestly the BEST thing I've ever done. Ever. Words can't even describe how amazing it was. But, I thought maybe some pictures could do it better than I could.
When we got to the school, an assembly type thing was held. Most of the classes performed difference dances for us that depicted the traditional Guatemalan lifestyle. The Bilingual Secretary students, pictured above, welcomed us first in English, then in Spanish, and then in Quiché, which is the language of the native local Indians, which was extremely cool. We spent a lot of our time working with their class and helping them with their English.
The above is just a shot of the school from the second level. The center is where the students have their gym class, recess, and free time. The school is a work in progress - they're working on adding another level and a few other buildings to it.
The night we arrived in the town we'd be staying at, there was a Quinceañera, a girl's 15th birthday which is a HUGE deal in their culture, at the hotel we were staying at. It was an honor for us to be invited and even though it was really long and involved a lot of people speaking things I didn't understand, it was also REALLY cool. The cake in the picture was made by the girl's MOM.
We also took a detour to the ancient Mayan ruins, which made the history geek in me fangirl. The top photo is where they used to sacrifice to virgins, the second picture is the view BEFORE we hiked way up HIGHER, and the bottom is me standing where they used to play their ancient sports. Our host is an anthropologist (I think that's what they're called, anywhere) so he knew TONS. It was awesome.
At the end of our week, we took a trip to Panajachel on Lake Atitlan, which is THE most gorgeous place I've seen in my entire life. The photo above was taken from along the road. You can see the volcano in the background with the steam coming out of it. SO beautiful.
Before we left the school, we went around to say our goodbyes to all of the classroom. This is me with either the second or third grade class. All of the kids were so great - we couldn't walk through the halls without a bunch of them running out of class and clinging to us. The teachers were great about it, too.
We had our own personal cook, whose house we went to every night for dinner. One night, she made tomales (sp?) for dinner. They're a traditional food and take FOREVER to make and are usually saved for special occasions. They're also possibly the best thing I've ever tasted.
After the students left each day, we spent the afternoon painting their classrooms. We put different designs in each of them, along with Bible verses above their boards.
So that's a glimpse in to my trip! It was absolutely the most amazing 10 days of my lives and I did NOT want to come back to the States. I'm still craving the perfect weather and the people and the amazing things that we did every day. I'm most definitely planning on going back, hopefully to teach English someday.
I just wanted to say a huge THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to everyone who helped me make it on that trip, whether it was through the T-shirt promotion, blog promotion, or just a general donation. There is absolutely no way I could've gotten there without that support! So thank you so much!