Day 7: “Guatever”

By: Contento Pod (Jamie, Nickie, Anne, Meredith, and Sophia)

We woke up this morning (today was a sleep-in — we slept until 8:30!) in our temporary “home,” Antigua, Guatemala. After a tumultuous past few days (both literally, as the roads are composed of boulders, and metaphorically, as we have traveled around the country), we are finally settling down in Antigua for the rest of the trip.  Good thing too — “it’s about time I unpacked my toiletries!”

After a breakfast of the always delicious eggs, beans, and bread, we were given an opportunity to reflect on our encounters with the weavers and becadas.  We began our video projects in which we focused on a central conflict in the lives of the weavers associated with Mayaworks. Before breaking into pairs to make our movies, we met as a group to discuss the directions we should take.  After a long morning of splicing, moving, repeating, editing, head-banging, and recording, we happily greeted a box (or 6) of Domino’s pizza (delicious cinnamon sticks with dulce de leche were a plus).

After a healthy lunch, we began touring Antigua with Lucia and Julio (who were incredible guides). As we enjoyed (mostly) the heat that beat down upon us (woohoo for natural tanning and possible skin cancer), we saw various landmarks important to the history of Antigua.  We walked down bumpy cobblestoned streets and past beautifully colored doors and windows, and peered curiously into stores that offered everything from baby chickens to phone cases to traditional Mayan clothing to ice cream (the ice cream was a hit and was a delicious cool down) and we also stopped in a pretty big store (artisans building) that had a collection of many things from traditional clothing to masks to a coffin (we think it was for religious purposes because we saw one in a church but you can never be sure).  Many people bought beautiful beaded bracelets and presents for family, and it was exciting because it was our first real shopping opportunity, though short. Lucia pointed out many places for us to visit tomorrow during our free time around the hotel, and we walked through the Central Park of Antigua (right next to our hotel) and gazed at the fountain and walked past a gorgeous church.

After a short return to our hotel, we set out again, this time for Azotea (a cultural center run by the Riecken Foundation). We were given a tour and demonstrations of Mayan instruments (some of which made quite interesting noises) and the guide explained how the instruments were made and when they were used.  Next (since the cultural center had a coffee plantation) we had a coffee tour!  We learned about the process of coffee, from harvesting the ripe raw red beans to different ways of pulping and roasting to drying the beans outside (we had a little too much fun in the beans and there was some coffee bean snow-angeling and meditation before we visited the gift store). We then watched a short video about the Riecken Foundation and had the opportunity to ask Romeo, an administrator for the Riecken Foundation, any questions we had. Next we had the treat of listening to three brothers play traditional Mayanguatemalanwerenotreallysurebutitwascool music.  (correction — it was a band from Comolapa that played traditional Mayan music, I think.)

After our lovely musical experience (that included a fun, but interesting dancing opportunity) we sat down for a traditional dinner at a restaurant in the cultural center. It included a wonderful chicken soup/stew/thing that was kinda like a curry. It was supplemented by by rice, veggies (potatoes and green beens), fried peppers, corn, and tamalitoes (little tamales that don’t have anything inside them). Dinner was wonderfully fun as each table could be seen laughing over their tables and into their food. We finished the night with a goblet of fruit and a presentation of thanks to the Riecken Foundation and Romeo with a gift of Californian almonds and pistachios, and a book made by the students who came last year. Afterwards, we packed up and headed back to the hotel in a short 10 minute bus ride.

We were welcomed by slices of banana bread and warm hot chocolate upon our return to the hotel. We then continued to work on our projects and add finishing touches to our movies (Jamie, as expected, just finished hers…very late). We are waking up at 7:30am for another fun filled day as we return to Comalapa to be with our Becadas.

More photos at the Azotea Coffee Plant:











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  • Sophie

    Ahahahahahahhah! This is hilarious! I’m glad you guys are having fun and we hope that none of you contract skin cancer during your time abroad.

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