Day 10 (and our second to last day) in Guatemala proved to be a bittersweet day. It was sweet in the fact that we had a very relaxed day and got to spend several hours being “tourists” in the beautiful city of Antigua. It was bitter in that the trip is almost over and I am not quite ready to give up the beautiful scenery and great group of students I have gotten to work with while I have been out here.
Aside from the great opportunity to relax a bit via retail therapy in Antigua day 10 also brought about a great closing activity and next steps workshop led by the in country coordinators. The closing activity included an opportunity to speak with each student and co leader individually to share how I valued and learned from them during the trip. Although, I do not really get emotional during these types of activities, I found myself choking back a lump in my throat as I expressed to each student and in country delegate how much I appreciated learning from them during the trip and building a closer relationship that would extend into the future. I was reminded of how fortunate I am to be around such phenomenal and engaged students and how great it was to work with the in country delegates over the past 9 months.
The next steps activity was also very inspiring because it provided a chance to hear more about what students got out of the trip and equally important, what they planned to bring back to campus. I was impressed by the passion and intentionality students conveyed as they discussed creating partnerships with the groups we visited and discussed lobbying various campus committees to consider where food and other items come from. Additionally, students demonstrated tremendous creativity in discussing art based projects they wanted to bring back to campus.
It will definitely be hard to say goodbye to beautiful Guatemala, the in country coordinators and the group in this setting, but I am definitely excited to get back to Grinnell and cross paths with the wonderful students I have gotten to know better these past 10 days and continue to work with them as we share this phenomenal experience we had together!!