Thoughts from the field

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Will: Today we traveled to the town of Xix (sheesh) to spend the day with the students and also to learn about the area. We learned our Nahualas which is a Mayan fortune telling type ritual. This was definitely the most interesting aspect of the day because it gave us an insight into the Mayan culture. The people of Xix and Chajul are much more friendly and welcoming than people in America.  

Anaka: So far, the highlight of the trip for me has been the connections with people I have witnessed and experienced. Yesterday, we met the sweetest teenagers named Mateo y Margarita. When I complimented Margarita’s “brunca” (hair tie) on our hike the first time we met, she immediately gave it to me without hesitation. My first reaction was guilt because I felt bad she gave it to me, but I then realized that such an act of kindness and generosity was her natural reflex! With interactions such as these, I have been more motivated to push myself to speak Spanish to strangers because they have all been so wonderful!

Alex y Maya:  Yesterday we hiked up Cerro San Andres, a local sacred site. Anas, one of the most powerful and well-traveled matriach in the town of chajul, joined us along with Margarita and Mateo. As we were hiking up to the peak up of the mountain we walked with Margarita and Mateo and they told us all about their life in Chajul. Alex was hiking mostly with Margarita and as we were walking up the mountain she grabbed Alex’s hand, a usual custom for girls in Chajul. As Maya and Mateo hiked up the mountain they discussed his asperation to become a laywer. Mateo was extremely interested in English, and contanstly asked Maya how to say things in English like “one thousand” and “we’ve arrived”. As we were hiking through the milpa and up the steep mountain, both Margarita and Mateo were extremely helpful in preventing us from falling on our faces, despite their the fact that Margarita was wearing small, plastic flats. At the top of the mountain, we looked out over the entire town of Chajul and over the valley. After we had hiked back down the mountain Margarita gave both Maya and Alex a bracelet so that we could remember her. 

Anna:  First off, HI MOM AND DAD! I hope you are partying like no tomorrow in my absence. But continuing on the part about being in Guatemal: the food. One of the reasons I travel abroad is because of the food. Every country has their own signature dish established in that country and what they are famous for. On the plane ride over I tried thinking of what Guatemala is known for in food, and the only thing I came up with is tortillas. But that is not the only thing that is going on in this beautiful country, BEANS. We have beans with every single meal: breakfast, lunch and dinner. The first morning here I was hesitant to try beans with breakfast but looking around I realized that there was tortillas and beans with fruit. That was it. But I tried it and and loved the combination. Ultimately beans and some type of starch is good but the tortillas they have here are handmade and delicious. On to drinks: Soda is different, even if it has the same name, it still is different somehow. Coffee in Guatemala is not the same as it is in the United States: They add sugar, I don’t mean like a little teaspoon of sugar, I mean at least a 1/4 cup of sugar for a pot of instant coffee. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that it is gross, it is just a difference that I’m not used to yet. But rest assured other parents, We are healthy and we are happy, as there is a XXL bag of m&ms sitting next to me getting devoured. ;) AB