Day One and Two Adventures: Rickety docks and Miming Spanglish- Guatemala

Note to readers: This blog may not make complete sense…but at least we had fun writing it? ¬†And consumed a considerable amount of sugary items? Love, the Contento pod group ūüôā

Day One was basically a travel day — we’re lucky to have made it all in one piece with relatively few struggles!

Day Two was much more interesting than Day One’s travels. ¬†We woke up this morning to a wonderful meal at our scenic hotel in Antigua, Guatemala. ¬†After breakfast, we went up to the roof of our hotel to enjoy the stunning view of the red, shingled rooftops of the city. ¬†We hastily exchanged dollars for Quetzales, and before we knew it, we had boarded the bus and were cruising down the streets of Guatemala that took us from urban to rural surroundings. ¬†The colors of the walls of buildings and the bright hues of womens huipiles (traditional clothing) ¬† Our Spanish was tested as our tour guides spoke quickly to keep up with the vanishing city walls.

We took a quick restroom/snack break at a small cafe that had delicious hot chocolate and quesadillas.  There was also a small ember pit in the center that warmed the cafe, and admittedly we huddled around it like penguins.  (Nickie says the coffee was good and woke her up, and Meredith says the hot chocolate soothed her throat.)

Summary of the boat ride:

Jamie: “I was in the small boat”

Anne: “That’s such a Jamie thing to say”

Nickie: “I got wet. ¬†Well first of all I couldn’t see over the luggage that was shrouding the front of the boat and then Carly was laughing at me for laughing at myself because I proclaimed that I had a mustache because the wind was blowing my hair in my face”

Meredith: “We all got wet, but the view was beautiful and it was wonderfully refreshing.”

Sophia: “I was sleeping during the boat ride and Ms Contento took a picture which was really awkward”

Ms Contento: “No I didn’t get it because she woke up!”

The view from the boat was absolutely incredible, though; we could see all the dormant volcanoes (just looked like mountains), but the water was so blue and the puffy clouds in the sky looked like  cotton candy.  The wind in our hair was so so refreshing and cool, and the warm sun on our faces was perfect.  When we arrived at the (questionably stable) dock, which shook violently every time someone took a step and there was always the peril of accidentally stepping in between the beams and losing a leg to some invisible Guatemalan lake monster.  (See picture of Colleen)  But, we did make it safely ashore and to our rooms with our luggage, and had a little downtime to unpack and settle in before walking to meet the people at the Rieken Library.

(side note: the tour guide just tried pretzel M&Ms for the first time, and the verdict is “OHH YESSSSS QUE RICO”) ¬†To introduce ourselves, we began with a name game called Zap, where you point at a person and say their name, then switch spots with them, and the person whose name was called points at the next person, and so on and so forth. ¬†It was a little difficult and resulted in…..a little confusion and some awkwardness.



We then, as a pod groups, learned about the library and met with specific Guatemalans in our groups. We proceeded to leave the library in our groups and traveled all around San Juan la Laguna. The Contento pod (US!) traveled to the local church, and watched a funeral procession head to the cemetery. With our local guide, Jose, we learned all the town and the different people in it. We saw the coffee corporation, corn drying out on the lawn, and many happy children playing in the streets. Finally, we traveled to an abuela’s house (grandmother of the community) and heard her story , as well asked her questions. It was an enriching experience, as we were able to really hear the native Mayan language.

After our tours of the city and the visits with the abuelas, we headed back to the library. While waiting for the rest of the groups to return, we had some downtime with the kids who visited the library. It was really fun coloring pictures and teaching younger children to play Guess Who?

We brainstormed with each other about our project: a sort of PSA for the community which we will be presenting tomorrow. After meeting in three groups and then sharing our ideas with the larger group, we all walked to a nearby restaurant where we bonded some more over a traditional Guatemalan meal: delicious tea with tortillas, beans, plantains, and eggs.

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  • Emily

    Wow! Sounds like you guys had a lot of fun.

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