Buenos Dias, Amigos y Familias!
Skyeler here, one of your trusty trip leaders for the epic 2014 Viva Travel Group in Latin America, aka Team Funny Bone!! Our students will begin updating the Facebook World later this week but my Co-leader, Gigi, and I wanted to take a crack at it and start things off with some heartfelt appreciation for our amazing group of students and our time together thus far in Guatemala.
These last few days have been a whirlwind and we have definitely hit the ground running!! We arrived in Comalapa last Thursday and immediately fell in love with this friendly, open-hearted community tucked away from the tourist traps. Gigi and I were immediately impressed by our group’s willingness to throw themselves into a very different culture and go out on a limb with their varying levels of Spanish. On our first full day, after a second round of safety and cultural briefing, we turned the students loose to complete a challenging scavenger hunt that had them bargaining in the markets and exploring the streets of Comalapa. Friday and Sunday are Market Day here and the Hunt was divided into two to maximize cultural exploration. The students have shown tremendous maturity and engagement with both the program and the new world of Indigenous Guatemala, and have come together as a fantastic team.
One of my highlights of this group in the last few days has been our evening music playing. A couple of us have brought ukuleles, there is a harmonica, and there is always a percussive instrument to be utilized from an empty water jug! There are some stunning beautiful voices in this group, and I think we may just have to start a band! There has been some talk… we’ll keep you posted.
On Sunday afternoon, we had a wonderful walk up to a special church above town with Feliciano, our host here in Comalapa. He shared with us many important facts about Guatemalan history, answered our questions, and even shared some deep wisdom about the power of acceptance. We left that conversation inspired by his words, and grateful to have the opportunity to interact with such open, kind-hearted folks like Feliciano! Then he took us to his family’s house where we learned about weaving, making tortillas….and of course a dance party erupted!! It was awesome.
Wow, I wrote a lot!! Well, its been a jam-packed few days, and tons of fun with this great group of young people. We’ve started working on the sustainably-built school with the NGO Long Way Home, and our work ethic has impressed the staff!! As I write this, students are swinging plastering cob, carrying gravel, and swinging tools around (safely ! ) I feel SO fortunate to be able to share this incredible experience with such great people!
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for our future adventures!!