I can’t believe Guatemala is over. Those ten days went by so fast and there is so much to say – but I’ll make this short.
My favorite cities were Antigua en Xela; I can’t just pick one!
My favorite food was: all of it!
My favorite experience: definitely the hike up Chikabal volcano and the Mayan ceremony (but also the concert by Sacate Jag!).
What I learned:
I think that the trip fulfilled its purpose of enlightening us on the history, culture, and current situation of Guatemala. It was very well-rounded in the information we received. I very much appreciated that we interacted with real people, rather than professionals who only study the issues; this made the experience sincere.
Coming into this trip, I expected Guatemalan’s to be very much like Mexicans – oppressed and submissive. I expected them to show a lack of willingness to change their current situation and a personality of giving up or believing that their situation is unchangeable. On the contrary, I was amazed to learn that Guatemalan’s have fought oppression for years and have not given up – they are still going strong. There was not a single rural or urban resident that ever said that their life situation ‘’is what it is’’; no Guatemalan that is oppressed seemed to be willing to accept the treatment they get from the government and society. The Guatemalans are very humble, very nice, and very welcoming. They work hard and are extremely intelligent. They have a desire to at least ameliorate their situation in a progressive way –starting a chicken business, exporting coffee, selling macadamia nuts, or selling purified water – rather than resorting to drug operations or criminal activity that could just as equally provide them a higher standard of living and is very common in Latin America. The Guatemalan people are not ready to give into the trend of trafficking and aggression; they are ready to be educated so that the business they have started or want to start can become more successful. Guatemalans, in short, are a very healthy people, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
I highly believe that his is a must-do trip. As a co-leader of SOL, I will work to find funding to make this trip possible again for a new group. The trip will teach students through first hand experience. It is very mentally, emotionally, and physically demanding. I hope that our blogs will serve to inspire other students to part-take in this trip the next time it becomes possible.
Thank you for following the blogs. If anyone wishes to ask me more about my experience, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org -I can even meet in person!