The rest of my time in Guatemala

Okay so first off, let me apologize for letting so much time go by without checking in. I’ve just been keeping very busy, trying to fit everything in. I’ve had this post well on it’s way for over a week now so finally here it is! To catch up, I’ll go day by day…

Friday, June 27th

In the morning, after breakfast I headed to meet with the director, Ricardo. Together we took the bus to another location where the project offers their services. We were setting up and helping run the same workshop as the day before. To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t overly thrilled because I knew what to expect…or so I thought. Because I had filled out all the paperwork the day before I knew just what to do without any direction so things moved must faster and I was actually able to watch the workshop and really appreciate what the project is dedicated to. This particular workshop focused on teaching parents how to prepare healthy, economical food for their families. One women ran the session while her crew made a sample soup for everyone to try and at the end they provided the recipe to anyone who wanted it. It was very interesting to watch. Here are some pictures from that…

After the workshop Ricardo and I headed back, said hello to a few people, chatted for a bit and then headed home for lunch.

After a delicious lunch I headed to my afternoon class with Helen. We worked from 2-5 without a break and then spent the last hour learning how to make tortillas with a group of students. It was so fun but definitely harder than it looks! Here are some pictures of me and Helen, my teacher, making tortillas!!

After class I went to a bar nearby with some friends and enjoyed an hour there and then headed home for a quick dinner and to pack my bag for my weekend adventures!

Saturday, June 28th

Bright and early on Saturday morning I began my adventure to Panajachel and Chichicastenango. I met two other girls who were also going on the excursion, Corinne and Stephanie. Panajachel is a town located on the Northeast shore of Lake Atitlán and is a center for tourist trade. We took a bus to Panajachel and got there around 12:00. We dropped our things at the hotel and headed out exploring. We ate lunch at a restaurant down the street from our hotel. I tried Gallo for the first time and enjoyed a delicious typical Guatemalan meal.

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After lunch we headed toward the lake to take a boat out and visit surrounding towns. Corrine, Stephanie and I rented a private boat heading to two different islands along the lake. We really enjoyed the boat ride very much. It was such a beautiful day!!

When we got to the second small town we met a women who offered to show us the traditional Guatemalan clothing. We were thrilled! She dressed all three of us and we took pictures with her and her adorable children. It was such a cool, unique experience!

After our adventure on the lake we headed to the hotel and took naps. Gotta love those siestas!! 😉 Around 7:00 we headed to dinner. We weren’t sure where we wanted to go but we passed an Italian restaurant with live music so that sold us!

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We took our time and enjoyed the music.  It was a great time!  After dinner we decided to explore the nightlife a bit and headed to a club to dance.  It was so fun and reminded me of nightlife in Spain.  We didn’t stay long because we had another early morning the next day but it was a great night!  Below is a picture of Stephanie, me, & Corinne:

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Sunday, June 29th

On Sunday we woke up early, showered, and got on a bus to Chichicastenango at 8:00. Chichicastenango is well known for its famous market days on Thursdays and Sundays. It was an amazing site to see…very overwhelming and lots of bargaining. I ended up buying a notebook and purse! We walked around for hours and had lunch in a small cafe to watch the Netherlands vs. Mexico game. We headed back to the bus for 2:00 and got back to Antigua around 5:00pm. I was exhausted after an amazing weekend and headed home to unpack and sleep. I had attempted to write this blog that night but of course, no internet connection. Que suerte!

Monday, June 30th

On Monday I didn’t have to go to volunteer because they were on vacation. Instead, I headed to school to do some homework and ended up chatting with a bunch of people. Around 10:00 there was a group of people going to Cerro de La Cruz, which is a short hike up to a cross that overlooks all of Antigua. I went with them to see such an amazing panoramic view of Antigua. Check out how awesome it was:

When I got back from Cerro de La Cruz I headed to the market in Antigua with Corinne before lunch.  I got home for lunch and then headed back to La Unión for classes with Helen.  It was a great day.  I loved being able to spend so much time at La Unión.  Everyone there is so welcoming.  I absolutely love the environment there.

Tuesday, July 1st

Tuesday I went to the school for the first time with the kids to volunteer.  I was so excited!  I was placed in a second grade classroom with Profe Josue.  I got there around 9:00 when the kids were learning Roman numerals…the only kind of math I consider myself to be sufficient at haha.

After the lesson on Roman numerals, Josue shifted to a lesson about gender and numbers because in Spanish, adjectives vary depending on whether they are masculine or feminine and singular or plural.  To jumpstart this lesson Josue came up with a very creative activity.  He told the kids to search the classroom and find anything they could use to construct a doll.  You should have seen the creativity! I was so impressed.  Very soon after the kids gathered their materials one group came up and asked if they could use my shoes for their doll.  Shortly after that another group requested my necklace.  The point of the activity was for the students to construct this doll and then from there be able to describe what their doll was like, what the doll was doing, what the doll’s name was, etc, etc.  Here are some pictures from that:

Wednesday, July 2nd

Wednesday was my second and last day with the second graders. I had such a wonderful time in the classroom. The teacher was so nice and welcoming and I really enjoyed observing his hands-on approach to teaching. Here are some pictures of me with the kids on the last day. They loved taking pictures with my camera haha:

And a picture of Profe Josue and me:

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Before leaving Josue and I exchanged information to keep in touch and I headed home for lunch. I had lunch at home and headed to my last day of classes. Helen and I wrapped up our classwork in two hours and then Corinne met us and we headed out on one final adventure for my last day. We went to a hotel right down the street and took a free shuttle from the hotel to the top of a mountain. At the top of the mountain there was a restaurant and we enjoyed an afternoon snack and the amazing view. Here are some pictures from our adventure:

After our adventure we returned so I could say goodbye to the many amazing staff members I had the pleasure of getting to know.

I can’t say enough good things about the school. It was such a pleasure to be there every day and although I believe my Spanish to be pretty sufficient now, I will never stop learning more and more and it was so great to be able to focus on areas I wanted to in lessons with my amazing teacher, Helen. I will miss the school a lot but I am still in contact with a lot of the people I met during my time there and I really look forward to promoting the school and their wonderful efforts!

At 6:00, when my class was over Helen and Corinne and I headed out to have dinner and drinks to celebrate my last night in Guatemala. Profe Josue met up with us at the restaurant and we all enjoyed delicious nachos and a shot in my honor 🙂

After an amazing last night in Guatemala I headed home to pack up my things and sleep for a few hours before heading to the airport at the crack of dawn.

Thursday, July 3rd

Thursday morning I headed out bright and early for the airport. My ride picked me up at my host family’s house at 4am. I got to the airport and was through security by 6am, all set for my flight to CR that left at 8:00. It was such a quick flight and once I was through customs and got my luggage Moni, my host sister, was there to pick me up at the airport. We went home where I dropped my stuff, showered and then Moni and I headed to meet Paula for lunch!

I am having the best time in Costa Rica. I couldn’t be happier to be reunited with my amazing host family! I am really enjoying each and every day with them. Tomorrow I am heading to the beach with my friends for the weekend. It will be so great to catch up with so many people who I haven’t seen in three years! Reunions are always so much fun!! =D

A special shout out to API for helping make my trip to Guatemala possible. I am having such a good time traveling but I am also very much looking forward to heading home to begin my tenure with API!

I am off to pack for the beach! Until next time!! xoxo, Caro

Carolyn Boudreau studied abroad with API in Salamanca, Spain and is an alumna of the API Peer Mentor Program. Carolyn is currently volunteering in Guatemala.  

 

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