Photo of the Week
Guatemala Appleby College
Photo Title


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    [post_date] => 2015-03-21 08:52:44
    [post_date_gmt] => 2015-03-21 14:52:44
    [post_content] => Scribe Day 14

Today was the first time that I have cried for a long time. Today was the day where we had to say goodbye to Pachaj and our families and begin our journey home. This morning was probably one of the hardest mornings I’ve ever had, and the sadness didn’t really hit me until I was actually hugging my family, saying “gracias, adios”. I guess I never really realized until that moment, how much of a family they were to me, and how much I would miss them. I now have a new mother, a new father, new aunts and uncles, new cousins and grandparents, new brothers and sisters. I now have new people to love deeply in my life. As the bus began to roll away, and I watched Pachaj go by, it felt like a piece of me was being ripped away, and I could do nothing about it. A part of me at the same time was also completely full of joy and happiness, because I realized that I had just had one of the best experiences of my life, and I realized that the sadder I felt about leaving, just showed me how amazing the time I had was. It was very bittersweet. I was also excited to go home but at the same time I felt like I was leaving home.

As I looked out the window I couldn’t help asking myself questions like, “what if I never come back, what if I never see them again, what if I haven’t become a better person, what if things will go back to normal, and nothing will change?” I also realized that although I have been here in Guatemala on this incredible journey, time has not frozen back at home, and life has continued to go on without me. That but ride was a deep reflective time period for me, and everyone else. No one was talking, singing, or playing games. We were just looking out the window, or twiddling our thumbs or catching a nap. After a little while longer, I began to think about the last warm loving embrace from my family, those last few hours, and the piece of cloth that my family gave to me just a little while ago, with my name, their last name, and a flower sewed into it. These memories began to make me smile. I began to tell myself that I would never forget my family. I would make an effort to keep in touch, and maybe even visit in the future. I would go home as a better version of myself, I would try harder to help the environment and get involved, and I would try and be the change I wished to see. I would be happy, show my happiness with those around me. I began to answer all of those questions I had with an optimistic mindset. And maybe I will not succeed in doing all those things, but I will for sure try. I will try to take home as much as I can from this trip and this experience, and I will always treasure it, appreciate it, and remember it for the rest of my life.

By the time we arrived at the Earth Lodge, I felt refreshed and excited. The place we are staying at is absolutely stunning, and is like nothing I could have ever imagined! I feel like I am in a movie! It is a camping nature retreat center up in a big beautiful mountain with an amazing view. There is incredible wildlife all around us and we are staying in tents and cabins. There is also a deluxe treehouse that you can stay in too! For the rest of the day we relaxed a bit in the hammocks overlooking the incredible view, and then did some fun reflective activities with our leaders. We did skits reenacting different parts of the trip, and then we wrote poems about it. Here is my poem:

New people, new leaders, new places, new things

Oh how Guatemala has so much to bring

Endless tortillas, piled high

Mountains that can touch the sky

Smiling faces, welcoming hearts

Many incredible different parts

Morning meetings, poops and vibes

Scribes, don’t forget to scribe!

Learning, working, lots of fun

Protect yourself from the sun!

Working together, improving the land

Always lending a helping hand

Listening learning, reflecting a lot

Soaking in every spot

Wash your hands before the meal

You could get some diarrhea!

Lots of games, and fun days

So many amazing things to say

New bed, new home, new family

A new seed in your heart to become a tree

Singing, dancing, eating cake

Saying goodbye is hard, for goodness sake!

The time has gone by super-fast

Memories will always last

Panic, learning, comfort zones,

What do you want to take home?

Be the change you wish to see

Follow a positive light with lots of glee.

 

I really enjoyed these activities, and they really made me reflect and smile upon the time I have had and the people I have met. Now, here I am, full of a delicious dinner, incredible chocolate cake, and deep happy thoughts. I have learned so much, and have had a life changing experience, and made amazing friends and a new family. I am ready to go home now, and take these things with me. Almost every day I have been reminded of the question: “what will you take home with you from this trip?” and Canada will soon see! Lots of love from all of us here to all family and friends back home and we will see you soon! Adios ~Sara

Today is the second to last day in Guatemala and being the last scribe I have many things I like to reflect on. The routine of today started from a hasty morning packing a seven hour bus ride, a delicious buffet lunch, sharing skits and poems, and a thoughtful group talk on service learning. The two events that I would like to highlight are the skits and poems and our group conversation. In the afternoon we all gathered around in a circle and spread out into three groups. In my group Will tied a knot in his hair to act like Mitch and Sara untied her hair to act like Ashely in the first scene. We also thought about making a paper airplane to represent our plane ride to here. Everyone laughed at our acting and it was entertaining to watch others acting too. After the skits we spent thirty minutes to write a poem about our experiences and memories here. Will’s poem was most impressive: “My name is Will Jelineky and the days in Guatemala were so chilly!” It made half of us burst out laughing and made the atmosphere more alive. At 5-6pm we thought about how we had been engaged in service learning. Neil made a couple of good points. We are learning service in a sense that even though we cannot work as hard as Ronnie and Armando we still learned about their experiences and useful knowledge about agriculture and injustice which the Mayans have lived. This knowledge could be passed on through many ways and social media when we get back on other service projects, on our presentation at school, and even in daily conversations. Just like what Armando said during his speech: He planted his seeds in our hearts and hoped that it would one day grow into a tree, causing us to become people who impact others and plant more trees. Mitch also pointed out in our group discussion that we should soak up as much knowledge as we can while we’re young. We had a huge dinner together with avocado, bread, pasta and sausages. After, we went to bed to get a good night’s sleep.

My intentions changed a lot from the beginning of the trip until today. I came to Guatemala ready for learning and now I’ve met so many people that have changed me that I need to reflect on the overwhelming days. Neal’s talk on how we could change the world at IMAP was insightful. We have learned many ways that we can live better, make small changes, being an example of change, and be positive. The family in San Antonio that taught us that the people there get married at ages 15-17 was the most shocking thing that I learned. It also made me appreciative of our proper education. My homestay family was so kind to us that they changed my first prejudice of Guatemalans. We interacted with the little girl twice, once where she drew pitchers of us all and the other time we played with crayons. She was very smart and observant and she was brave enough to communicate with us. That really made me hope she had the same opportunities as us. I have created a strong bond with our Spanish teacher. He talked to me about his lifestyle, the religion in Guatemala, his family and even his interest in music. His wife made me a piece of orange brown fabric with my name on it and I feel regretful for not saying a formal goodbye to him.

I have so many things that I need to reflect on and I hope to spend the next day looking back at everything that we did in our fast paced trip! I will miss Mitch and Ashley and all the good memories that lie in this unforgettable place. ~Rain
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Guatemala Appleby College

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Day 14

Sara + Rain,Guatemala Appleby College

Description

Scribe Day 14 Today was the first time that I have cried for a long time. Today was the day where we had to say goodbye to Pachaj and our families and begin our journey home. This morning was probably one of the hardest mornings I’ve ever had, and the sadness didn’t really hit me […]

Posted On

03/21/15

Author

Sara + Rain

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I really don't know how to express my feelings. I have so many mixed emotions running through my mind. For starters, I am really excited to be reunited with my family in less than 24 hours. I know I will be greeted with a big much needed hug. Secondly, I'm feeling a sense of sadness and loss from leaving a place I now view as a second home. Who would have known I would have found such comfort in a country so far away from Canada. The experience and memories I've had in Guatemala will always stay with me. They have become a part of me and made a change in who I actually am. Again, I'm finding it difficult putting this trip into the right words, so I've chosen to share a poem my good friend Arisa write two days ago. It gives the reader an insight on our Guatemalan adventure and helps to share our journey. I am a country that has been through so much, yet I'm a community that's so happy and tough. I am the warm breeze and the welcoming sun, and I am the wonderful journey that has begun. I am the chirping of the birds in the forest I am the beating leaves of the pine crests. I am the glowing stars in the nights in Pachaj I am the flowing water in the valley of Quichaya. I am the sound of children laughing I am the fun that our family was having. I am the thousand colourful threads in a huipil I am the heart that gets put in a weaving still. I am the sweetness of el pan dulce I am the appreciation that's way to much to say. I am the morning música en la casa I am the wonderful taste of tortillas I am the language yet to be explored I am the pebble streets in Antigua I am the noisy silence in nature I am the experience that will always be remembered I am the friendship that will continue to deepen And I am the memories that can never be forgotten [post_title] => Last Scribe [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => last-scribe [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-01-22 10:17:52 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-01-22 17:17:52 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=116661 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 42 [name] => Guatemala Appleby College [slug] => guatemala-appleby-college-spring-2015 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 42 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 237 [count] => 32 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 6.1 [cat_ID] => 42 [category_count] => 32 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Guatemala Appleby College [category_nicename] => guatemala-appleby-college-spring-2015 [category_parent] => 237 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/spring-2015/guatemala-appleby-college-spring-2015/ ) ) [category_links] => Guatemala Appleby College )
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Last Scribe

Maddy and Arisa,Guatemala Appleby College

Description

I really don’t know how to express my feelings. I have so many mixed emotions running through my mind. For starters, I am really excited to be reunited with my family in less than 24 hours. I know I will be greeted with a big much needed hug. Secondly, I’m feeling a sense of sadness […]

Posted On

03/21/15

Author

Maddy and Arisa

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    [post_content] => I am the center of life, where creatures of all sizes congregate.

I am the hot sun, the wet season.

I am the Mayan homeland, their cultural hub and market.

I am the cosmovision, the harmony between plant and person.

I am the Spanish invasion, the destruction of life, and the invasion of culture.

I am the violence, I cry rivers of blood.

I am the corruption, where money sustains me at the cost of others.

I am the sacred culture, forgotten through force and fear.

I am the weeping mothers, as their sons are taken through combat.

I am bloodshed, baptized in the crucible of war.

I am an opportunity for large companies to reap my wealth.

I am the angel of death, my black wings engulf my starving and thirsty people.

 

But, I am also the free sky for birds to frolic.

I am the rainforest, the home for hunger and hunted.

I am beauty, my forests vast and mountains high.

I am the god of fire, my fury burns through volcanoes all.

I am the sound of tortillas, the clapping of hands and mashing of dough.

I am the corn fields, which cross valleys grand.

I am the rich soil, which ash has made pure.

I am the blade of the machete,

Sharp and unforgiving to those who don’t respect me.

I am the circle of life, the holy bond between predator and prey.

I am the pleasant people, who stop to say hi. Who care and are content.

I am, Guatemala, my history long and wounds deep.
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Guatemala Appleby College

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Poem

Kanishka,Guatemala Appleby College

Description

I am the center of life, where creatures of all sizes congregate. I am the hot sun, the wet season. I am the Mayan homeland, their cultural hub and market. I am the cosmovision, the harmony between plant and person. I am the Spanish invasion, the destruction of life, and the invasion of culture. I […]

Posted On

03/20/15

Author

Kanishka

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    [post_date] => 2015-03-20 08:36:10
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    [post_content] => As we left the plane

We were met with hugs and bread

As we fell asleep

 

Breakfast was a treat

With eggs O.J. and fake cheese

Then, San Lucas Toliman

 

We arrived with joy

And a game of mafia

Where Sara was killed

 

We went to IMAP

Where we met Ronni and Neil

And heard them both speak

 

Next day at Ijatz

Where we built homes for worms

And ate very good food

 

San Antonio

Where we observe how to weave

Where I bought my owl

 

Pat, pat in the air

A sound that made us all glad

A sound of great food

 

Tried to learn Spanish

I tried to learn to say thanks

I learned tree instead

 

Yes, Guatemala

And all the friendly people

Will never forget
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Guatemala Appleby College

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Poem

Graham,Guatemala Appleby College

Description

As we left the plane We were met with hugs and bread As we fell asleep   Breakfast was a treat With eggs O.J. and fake cheese Then, San Lucas Toliman   We arrived with joy And a game of mafia Where Sara was killed   We went to IMAP Where we met Ronni and […]

Posted On

03/20/15

Author

Graham

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    [post_date] => 2015-03-20 08:35:16
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    [post_content] => I am the waking calls of roosters in the morning

I am the feeling of making new friends

I am the sun, rising in the mountains

I am the moon setting over the fields of Pachaj

I am the sound of the birds chirping in the evening

I am the feeling of a hot Guatemalan sun to welcome you in the morning

I am a cool breeze on a hot day in Antigua.

I am the warm welcomes of our host families.

I am the happiness and comfort they gave us

I am the feeling of playing with the kids

I am the sad goodbyes we felt

I am a friend that wiped off those tears

I am the warm hugs they gave us

I am the feeling of letting go and moving on

 

I am the reflection, taking in all that we had done

I am that child that left Guatemala a new man.
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Guatemala Appleby College

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Poem

Aryan,Guatemala Appleby College

Description

I am the waking calls of roosters in the morning I am the feeling of making new friends I am the sun, rising in the mountains I am the moon setting over the fields of Pachaj I am the sound of the birds chirping in the evening I am the feeling of a hot Guatemalan […]

Posted On

03/20/15

Author

Aryan

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    [post_date] => 2015-03-20 08:34:20
    [post_date_gmt] => 2015-03-20 14:34:20
    [post_content] => I am a bird flying through the air following an airplane high above
I am the warm air in the atmosphere waiting to be inhaled by breath
I am a dog barking at a man, protecting its owner's land
I am the dough of fresh baked bread waiting to be eaten by a child
I am a worm squirming through the earth getting ready to reproduce
I am a smile of a happy child that is contagious to anyone near
I am a cat, sneaking through the night, eating leftovers from last nights meal
I am the soil that has been fertilized and is put into tiny black bags
I am the rooster that cockadoodles in the morning at 6 am
I am the garbage that has been collected and is made into an Eco brick
I am the cow that lives in the yard and provides milk to everyone
I am the tears that run down your face that leaves you with a bittersweet feeling
I am the bird that flew through the air and will follow you back home again
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Guatemala Appleby College

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Poem

Eboni,Guatemala Appleby College

Description

I am a bird flying through the air following an airplane high above I am the warm air in the atmosphere waiting to be inhaled by breath I am a dog barking at a man, protecting its owner’s land I am the dough of fresh baked bread waiting to be eaten by a child I […]

Posted On

03/20/15

Author

Eboni

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    [post_date] => 2015-03-20 08:27:32
    [post_date_gmt] => 2015-03-20 14:27:32
    [post_content] => Day 13 scribe

Today it was really hard for me to wake up, not only because I felt tired, but also the fact that it was going to be my last day at Pachaj with my homestay family. It seemed like the weather knew my sad feelings, so it stayed overcast for a long time. Today’s routine went as followed: 8:00 am morning meeting, 9:00-12:00pm continue with the work from yesterday (nursery bags, trash bottles, and trenches), 12pm-1pm lunch, 1pm-3pm finish up the work. After we left to head back to our homestays to pack and return later for a large going away party. I was so happy to know yesterday that every member of the Flores family will show up to the party, but also very sad because it might be the last time to see them together. So I was completely not in my zone for working today, all I ever thought about was to spend as much time as possible with my family today when I get back from working. I was really disappointed by myself because my intention yesterday was to work hard on the last day which I failed to do. So, thanks to everyone's hard work we finally completed the whole trench.

I still remember how sad I was when I got the news that the Morocco trip was cancelled because of Ebola, the teacher from the global education office switched me to the Guatemala trip. Without the persistence of my mother, I likely would not have been on this trip (thank God I didn’t make this decision, which might have made me regretful for the rest of my life). I completely hated this trip at the beginning, but somehow it changed miraculously. I also remember how negative I was on the first day of working and the first night I arrived at my homestay. As the time passed, somehow I started to like them. Instead of complaining about the long and hard work and the bad conditions of the homestay (I used to be a very picky person who likes to complain a lot!), I focused on the positive side like helping the community and make a strong bond with my homestay family, so I got used to wearing dirty clothes, working under the intense sunlight for hours, dirty bedrooms, long distance walking and smaller doors. So I became more dedicated and motivated every day here at Pachaj.

I barely feel tired here because of my passion for the Chico Mendes project and the community. I feel like this place is also my home and that these lovely people are my family members. My heart belongs to this place. Back in Canada, I’ve always had a more stable schedule, so I lost motivation every day because there’s barely any surprises. I wake up at 7:30/8:30 am and get ready for school, come back after club and co-curricular at 5:30/6:30pm, and then I start to do my homework for about 4 hours, and then I go to bed and get ready for the next day. So basically, my life in Canada during the weekdays are like this: eat, study, sport, sleep and repeat. I lost passion in my life and I felt numb, instead of a living energetic person, I was more like waking dead. So, thank you Guatemala for re-energizing me and making me feel alive again! I will definitely bring back this phenomenal experience and share it with my family and friends. From now on, I will definitely love my life, be humble, be positive, and appreciative in life even though there’s no surprises. Right now, all I remember about Guatemala are the awesome project, Doña Flore, Armando, Neal, Ronnie, and Carloina. These people make my life complete and make me realize the fact that as long as you have a passion you will never be numb. Every day might seem normal and boring for other people, but to you, every day means something special, motivating, something totally worth fighting for.

Oh yeah, I forgot to talk about what happened during the party. My journal has been deep and meaningful so far so it’s time for a break! We had lots of fun during the party. Everyone was enjoying themselves. My family and I had lots of snacks and drinks. We read off our appreciation letter to our family and I saw big smiles on their faces. We sang and danced and played cards. I guess everybody wanted to enjoy their last night, just like Maroon 5 says “when the daylight comes I’ll have to go, but tonight I’m gonna hold you so close.” As always there were crying faces. I didn’t cry because I knew for sure sooner or later I will come here again. I imagine what will happen tomorrow morning. I am going to give gifts and say goodbye to my family and get on the bus to Antigua. But this time, I will be stronger, tougher, and more enthusiastic than ever thanks to the homestay experience. Life is a short journey so if you want to achieve something you have to be decisive or you will be regretful for the rest of your life because you achieved nothing at all.

Everything is so quiet right now, so calm and peaceful. The perfect bedtime is waiting for me. Goodbye Pachaj, this is not an ending, this is the start of something new. I will definitely come back someday. Good night. ~Michael

 

Today was such an amazing day, and a great one to end our stay in Pachaj. We are leaving in the morning, so today we did service work until 3 pm and then went back to our home stays to get ready for the party at 7. After another good morning meeting we did a big cheer before we headed off in groups to get some good work done. The first station of service work that my group was in was filling dirt bags. Then we switched out into the trenches where we made some good progress. The trench was around 80 meters long and we had to dig 85 cm deep. Everyone took turns using the shovels and the hoes. It was a great workout. Next, my group was sent to the garbage station where we filled plastic bottles with trash that we found to make eco bricks. We continued to work at the trench station after a delicious lunch break until three pm. Back at our homestays we had dinner with our families, got ready for the party, and prepared speeches and cards to give to our families. My roommate Arisa, Jade, and I each made a card and wrote a speech that we split into three parts. For our last dinner our homestay mother Doña Salvadora prepared an amazing spaghetti dinner with sausage and corn tea. It was insanely good I am definitely going to miss her cooking, especially the corn tea!

We weren’t exactly sure who in our family was coming, but Salvadora said she would meet us there so we headed up the street to Armando’s house for the party. I was super excited and couldn’t stop squealing the whole way there and I really hoped that our family would show up. When we got there we saw that everyone was just arriving and there were three cakes laid out and lots and juice. There was a big circle of chairs and we had lots of fun introducing ourselves to the other families. After about 15 minutes Salvadora and her grandson, Danny, arrived and a little later Dan’s two brothers his mother and his father arrived. I was so excited to see them and pleasantly surprised to see that Danny’s father Sebastian had brought flutes and a guitar so that they could play for everyone. Then it was time to say our speeches and Arisa, Jade, and I volunteered to go first. It went really well and our family appreciated what we said. We then sang to everyone “We are family, all my Guatemalans and me.” Sebastian and his sons then played the titanic theme song for them. Sebastian played the guitar and Danny and his brothers played the flute. Everyone enjoyed it and some people even got really emotional. The rest of the party was full of meaningful speeches, music, dancing, games, and cake. Everyone was having lots of fun and the atmosphere was full of warmth and happiness.

Although I felt sad that it was the last night, I was also overcome with pure joy and love for everyone around me, especially my family. It will always be a night that I will never forget. And something that will make me smile whenever I remember it. I can’t believe how comfortable and close I feel towards my family now and how much I love them even though it has only been a small number of days. It will be very hard and sad to leave them but I will never regret this amazing experience. See you in a few days Canada! ~Sarah

 
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Best Notes From The Field, Guatemala Appleby College

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Day 13

Michael + Sara,Best Notes From The Field, Guatemala Appleby College

Description

Day 13 scribe Today it was really hard for me to wake up, not only because I felt tired, but also the fact that it was going to be my last day at Pachaj with my homestay family. It seemed like the weather knew my sad feelings, so it stayed overcast for a long time. […]

Posted On

03/20/15

Author

Michael + Sara

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    [post_content] => Hi, My name is Will,
Guatemala is so chill.
The forests are a rich green,
None of the people are mean,
When I saw the line at the banks,
My heart stopped and then sank.
I now had my Quetzal,
P.S. the people weren't tall.
Next we visited IMAP,
Permaculture was what they had on tap.
Neil looked like an Irish Matthew McConaughey,
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All the vibrant colours and smells,
The boring people are what they repels.
Ijatz was next,
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We picked out so many worms,
I should be exempt from school for 3 terms.
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So many delicious tortillas,
But still not enough for me-as.
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For Sara's broken string she was grieving.
Adios San Lucas Toliman,
So many bumps on the road,
Graham would rather ran.
Pachaj was so very nice,
Kenny only showered twice!
Doña Estella was so kind,
On great food we dined.
I met Gladis at Spanish class,
At first I feared I wouldn't pass.
With Xay I would play
I wish I could stay.

All jokes aside,
It's been an awesome ride.
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Guatemala Appleby College

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Reflection Poem

Will Jelinek,Guatemala Appleby College

Description

Hi, My name is Will, Guatemala is so chill. The forests are a rich green, None of the people are mean, When I saw the line at the banks, My heart stopped and then sank. I now had my Quetzal, P.S. the people weren’t tall. Next we visited IMAP, Permaculture was what they had on […]

Posted On

03/20/15

Author

Will Jelinek

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