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PARTNERSHIP: Appleby College Guatemala


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    [post_date] => 2017-03-23 10:19:42
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As the trip comes to an end, I find that time is going by even faster than usual. It deeply saddens me that as a collective group we are leaving not only our amazing Dragon’s Instructors, Mitch and Brian, but also the beautiful country of Guatemala. Here we have been able to experience the culture of a variety of communities. It has been the greatest pleasure learning about permaculture and how we need to use the land and available resources sustainable. I personally found it to be incredibly interesting while at IMAP and how the elements are fundamental in regards to permaculture and its many philosophies. Another thing I really loved was the hands on work. One day, we did a reflective piece and discussed how some of the group felt as though our impact was not great enough. I would argue this for two main reasons.

The first reason being that knowledge is power indefinitely. Wisdom is a skill that should be rewarded most generously. If someone is knowledgeable then they are able to share this with others, building up the rapport and overall strength within a community. This is something I saw everywhere I went; seeing this dynamic has inspired me to share my own knowledge as well as learn and grow from others. The second reason is something that I firmly agree with. The leader of the Chico Mendez Project in Pachaj, Armando Lopez, as he once told us how our impact is like a grain of salt; it may not seem like much but with consistent effort and time the pile will grow and our impact may have more reward. This resonates with me a lot because I have always believed in this principle and I always attempt to be aware of not how my impact presently affects the world, but how the future will benefit.

Today, both leaders had asked me about what I plan on doing when I go back home and initially, this question truly stumped me. This was partly because I didn’t know what to answer, as I did not think about where I wanted to start. The day before, we had the opportunity to watch a documentary about consumerism and how it basically controls our lives. I loved this video due to the fact I could feel myself nodding to everything being said, the nods becoming more vigorous as time passed. This got me thinking about globalization and how large corporations are receiving both money and credit for the word of people across the world who are generally being given no thought or recognition. This is why I make it a priority to attempt to indulge in Fair-Trade products. Currently, I am a part of a youth council that works with Oakville, Ontario’s MP John Oliver. We are working on a project that educates and gives other youth the chance to understand Fair-Trade and what it means to support local businesses. This trip has honestly made me realize just how important it is to me and I am eternally grateful.

Getting back to the idea of hands-on work, I have been able to not only confirm my own thoughts on my diligence, but surpass my own challenges and step out of my comfort zone. Whether that be mixing foods to planting food for snails to walking half an hour to my homestay, each thing has shifted my paradigm which would never have happened if I had not gone to Guatemala.

I want to conclude by addressing my initial fears and how that has shaped who I am today. I was ‘stuck’ with Guatemala, my second-last resort. This was the origination of my disdain for going on a service trip, although it was something I was looking forward to since middle school. This was due to finding out that the majority of my close friends were on my first choice trip. However, after sleeping on this news and chatting with the lovely Ms. Buckmaster I was able to accept my fate. I would be going to Guatemala in a few short months. Looking back at this experience, I can who heartedly say that my fears and general angst is something I completely, and without a doubt regret. I can now proudly identify as someone that grown, all because of 15 days with a new group of people in a new country and that is a feeling I will never forget. I hope that when I am faced with different challenges, I am able to keep my new mindset and have no regrets about the choices I make and the experiences I encounter because these are what have and will continue to shape me.

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15 days with a new group of people in a new country and that is a feeling I will never forget

Ana,PARTNERSHIP: Appleby College Guatemala

Description

As the trip comes to an end, I find that time is going by even faster than usual. It deeply saddens me that as a collective group we are leaving not only our amazing Dragon’s Instructors, Mitch and Brian, but also the beautiful country of Guatemala. Here we have been able to experience the culture […]

Posted On

03/23/17

Author

Ana

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I’ve always wanted to do a service project internationally. I guess I’ve always had that ‘motherly’ sense to help those in need; take care of the people who need caring. Many of my friends have already done service trips, so I’m one of the last. In a way, it makes me feel the least ‘involved’. When my grade 11 year came around I was jumping for service, trying to grab every opportunity basically all at once. When I got accepted to Guatemala 2017, I was screaming with joy and overwhelmed with emotions; excitement, anxiety, nervousness, thrill, fear, anticipation. The 4-month wait for the trip was a long, exhausting wait, never thinking March 8th would ever come. Writing this on March 23rd, I remember it as a mere hour ago.

This trip was ridiculously long, and shockingly short. Comfortable and uncomfortable. Joyful and painful. Fulfilling and eye-opening. Unforgiving yet sympathetic. I miss it already.

We will all miss many, many things. The smell of trees and fresh air wherever we went. The powerful heat during the day, and the numbing cold at night. The many layers of sunscreen and bug spray we’d apply every day. The wisdom that permeated our discussions. The laughter shared among students and teachers. The kindness, support, and compassion that filled our hearts.

The service. Our newfound realization of the many issues that Guatemala is facing. Our efforts to aid the environment, and the people who live in harmony with it. Our comprehension of the problems in the in the country, and our best effort to provide the support, and all the strength we could muster. Our dedication to improvement. Our persistence for achievement. Our resistance to obstacles. Our strength in the face of disaster.

The experience. The discovery and unraveling of a brand new culture. Our uncovering of the people; their history, their values, their strengths, and weaknesses. The way of life, and it’s diversity and similarity from region to region. The deep roots of their story, their lifestyles, and their beliefs. Their unique, stone-strong connection with the world, nature, life, the universe. Their sense of community like a sense of family. The feeling of home with each and every family. The warmth and compassion. Their differences and similarities. Their humanity and humility.

After the many loops, turns, and angles, of this trips emotional rollercoasters, March 23rd is finally upon us, and the many hours of many days, seems to have passed by in just minutes. Maybe seconds. Nanoseconds. Perhaps no time at all. This experience was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I hope that we all appreciate the thousands of things we’ve learned on this incredible journey. I will cherish these last moments, and every single moment, past, and that will never falter.

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Nanoseconds

Sarah,PARTNERSHIP: Appleby College Guatemala

Description

I’ve always wanted to do a service project internationally. I guess I’ve always had that ‘motherly’ sense to help those in need; take care of the people who need caring. Many of my friends have already done service trips, so I’m one of the last. In a way, it makes me feel the least ‘involved’. […]

Posted On

03/23/17

Author

Sarah

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    [post_content] => Service is the act of helping others make an impact no matter how small. By definition we preformed an act of service but through our discussion today we realized that we can do service in our everyday lives. Because everyone who is able and willing should do service it is an act of selflessness at the moment but in the end it benefits all. Like at Chico Mendez, Armando will never see the result of his work but he does it to help the future generations. Picking up one piece of trash may seem insignificant but we are a group of 11 so that would be 11 less pieces of trash reaching a landfill. There are more than 7 billion people in this one world. One. If we all did a little something that would make 7 billion differences. Not everyone has to travel to Guatemala like we were given the opportunity to, but everyone can help and maybe, just maybe, we learn to help the world rather than take from it.
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Service reflections

Veyan,PARTNERSHIP: Appleby College Guatemala

Description

Service is the act of helping others make an impact no matter how small. By definition we preformed an act of service but through our discussion today we realized that we can do service in our everyday lives. Because everyone who is able and willing should do service it is an act of selflessness at […]

Posted On

03/22/17

Author

Veyan

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    [post_content] => Service is the act of helping others make an impact no matter how small. By definition we preformed an act of service but through our discussion today we realized that we can do service in our everyday lives. Because everyone who is able and willing should do service it is an act of selflessness at the moment but in the end it benefits all. Like at Chico Mendez, Armando will never see the result of his work but he does it to help the future generations. Picking up one piece of trash may seem insignificant but we are a group of 11 so that would be 11 less pieces of trash reaching a landfill. There are more than 7 billion people in this one world. One. If we all did a little something that would make 7 billion differences. Not everyone has to travel to Guatemala like we were given the opportunity to, but everyone can help and maybe, just maybe, we learn to help the world rather than take from it.
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Service reflections

Veyan,PARTNERSHIP: Appleby College Guatemala

Description

Service is the act of helping others make an impact no matter how small. By definition we preformed an act of service but through our discussion today we realized that we can do service in our everyday lives. Because everyone who is able and willing should do service it is an act of selflessness at […]

Posted On

03/22/17

Author

Veyan

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    [post_date] => 2017-03-22 09:33:13
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    [post_content] => After the delicious lunch I had, we gathered as a group and further reflected on the trip and the experience as well as other topics. One that I found particularly interesting was the topic of ‘stuff’. More so where our stuff comes from and who is affected in the process. In the video we watched the narrator discussed how the consumerism of certain products is destroying planet Earth, the wildlife, and the people co-existing and living in that ecosystem. It was interesting to think about how me buying products can affect so many different things sometimes across the world. This linked to our next activity where we drew lines on a map to where we had bought stuff from. By the end of the activity there were lines in every continent. This further proves that when we buy things it can truly affect things on the other side of the planet. After we played a quick team building and trust game, which I found really fun. 

Next, we were presented with an interesting task, where we would write a letter to ourselves and we would actually receive it in 18 months! I really like the concept of this task as there is so much that I am able to write down and let my future self know. After some free time we had following the game, we all set down and enjoyed a nice dinner followed by a very nerve racking questions game that I will definitely play again in Oakville with my friends.
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Letters to self

Rohan,PARTNERSHIP: Appleby College Guatemala

Description

After the delicious lunch I had, we gathered as a group and further reflected on the trip and the experience as well as other topics. One that I found particularly interesting was the topic of ‘stuff’. More so where our stuff comes from and who is affected in the process. In the video we watched […]

Posted On

03/22/17

Author

Rohan

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    [post_date] => 2017-03-21 11:48:58
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Today was one of those transportation days. In the morning we said goodbye to our homestay families in Pachaj. After playing some games we left to the Earth Lodge. I think that when we were playing those games our whole group was reunited, as we spent a week apart in our homestays. After a quick lunch we took a long drive. This bus ride provided an excellent opportunity for me to reflect on the time spent at Chico Mendez. I thought how we became a part of our families without even speaking Spanish to them. I realized that communication is not just talking to each other, but catching the emotions and feelings of others. For example, a little girl in my homestay couldn’t explain something to us in Spanish, but we always knew what she wanted to do. It was really hard leaving her because we became her big sisters for this week and that girl was crying when her mum told her we will have to leave.

 

The other thing I was thinking about on this ride was the service we have done to help the project. I felt like our group could have done much more work during that week. It was not enough for me. I realize that the work we did was very useful and helpful for the future development, but I still felt kind of useless at some point. I hope that everything we did on this project will benefit the future society and provide next generations the chance to live in a better place. As we were driving those thoughts kept popping out in my mind. Even after a stop for lunch I could not stop thinking about this until we arrived to the earth lodge.

 

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Reflecting on service

Daria,PARTNERSHIP: Appleby College Guatemala

Description

Today was one of those transportation days. In the morning we said goodbye to our homestay families in Pachaj. After playing some games we left to the Earth Lodge. I think that when we were playing those games our whole group was reunited, as we spent a week apart in our homestays. After a quick […]

Posted On

03/21/17

Author

Daria

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We arrived to the earth lodge at around 4 pm and were welcomed by an amazing view over the town of Antigua. On the first day we had seen volcanoes erupt from our hotel in Antigua. It was so interesting to actually take in the magnitude of the volcanoes from a higher point of view. Within 2 hours of arriving to the hotel we heard a rumble coming from one of the father volcanoes. I had never heard a volcano begin to erupt before. It was definitely a moment I would never forget. Until 7 pm we were given free time to explore and relax after a long four-hour bus ride. I immediately rushed to the hammocks, which is my favorite form of sitting. Back home I always plead with my parents to get one. Luckily, I was able to snag a spot and had a peaceful hour or so before dinner talking to my group about what an eye-opening trip this has been.

We then gathered in the dining area and had a meal very different from our typical diet of rice and beans during our time in Guatemala. I had an excellent vegetarian parmesan-eggplant while the non-vegetarians had a lasagna like meal. It’s safe to say we all enjoyed our meal by how quickly we all the food was gone.  A couple of people wanted seconds! I thought that was amazing until we had desert. I can safely say that was one of the best deserts that I have ever had in my life. After dinner I went and check out some of the other rooms my team members were staying in and found the style to be quite unique for every room. By 10 we all settled into our rooms and got into our clean comfortable beds and went to sleep with the view of Antigua right outside our windows.

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Erupting volcanoes

Zayd,PARTNERSHIP: Appleby College Guatemala

Description

We arrived to the earth lodge at around 4 pm and were welcomed by an amazing view over the town of Antigua. On the first day we had seen volcanoes erupt from our hotel in Antigua. It was so interesting to actually take in the magnitude of the volcanoes from a higher point of view. Within 2 hours of […]

Posted On

03/21/17

Author

Zayd

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    [post_date] => 2017-03-20 13:06:43
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    [post_content] => We've been warmed from the inside out about the tales and stories and photos we've seen from the Guatemala course! Today, the group makes their way from home-stays and families in Pachaj towards the Earth Lodge, an eco resort and avocado farm, outside of Antigua. In this phase of the course, the group will start looking forward on how to incorporate their incredible time in Guatemala back at home.

We hope you enjoy the updates and photos we received in the past couple of days about the group's last days in Pachaj-- seems it was a profound experience for students and families alike :)
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Transition day!

Dragons Admin,PARTNERSHIP: Appleby College Guatemala

Description

We’ve been warmed from the inside out about the tales and stories and photos we’ve seen from the Guatemala course! Today, the group makes their way from home-stays and families in Pachaj towards the Earth Lodge, an eco resort and avocado farm, outside of Antigua. In this phase of the course, the group will start […]

Posted On

03/20/17

Author

Dragons Admin

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Today Rohan and I rode on the back of a pickup truck through town. We enjoyed the beautiful scenery of Pachaj. We went out to a milpa (corn) farm and helped Eric (our homestay Dad) plan corn seeds for corn season. It was very interesting to learn how people rely heavily on corn actually plant corn. We learned that corn is actually a very low maintenance crop. For there is no need to water it because the rain in March and April is an ample amount of water for the crop. Spending time with Eric and his kid while planning was an experience I will never forget.

Later in the night, we went back to Chico Mendez and made around 70 personal pizzas from scratch. The laughs, memories made, and delicious pizzas will never be forgotten. To top it off, the stars at night were one of the most breathtaking things I have ever seen.

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Milpa and Pizza

Danial,PARTNERSHIP: Appleby College Guatemala

Description

Today Rohan and I rode on the back of a pickup truck through town. We enjoyed the beautiful scenery of Pachaj. We went out to a milpa (corn) farm and helped Eric (our homestay Dad) plan corn seeds for corn season. It was very interesting to learn how people rely heavily on corn actually plant […]

Posted On

03/20/17

Author

Danial

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Today beings the last day of our homestay and can be described as both AMAZING and sad. In our homestays we celebrated our abuela’s birthday the second time. The way they celebrated was so different to how we do it back home. Which contributed to the number of diversity of culture in Guatemala. Staying at our homestays for a whole week has been such a good experience for our group. Being welcomed to a complete stranger’s home could have been so difficult for us and even the families but the way the families handled everything was unbelievable. Our Guatemalan families trying to make us feel like we were at home can be confidently said by our whole group that it was successful from beginning to end. This has been an incredible experience that we would all never forget and look back to as an exciting memory. To speak for my group, we will truly miss our mothers/grandmothers in Guatemala and will try our best to fulfill our last hours with the mtomorrow morning.

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Last day in Pachaj!

Eva Vanek,PARTNERSHIP: Appleby College Guatemala

Description

Today beings the last day of our homestay and can be described as both AMAZING and sad. In our homestays we celebrated our abuela’s birthday the second time. The way they celebrated was so different to how we do it back home. Which contributed to the number of diversity of culture in Guatemala. Staying at […]

Posted On

03/20/17

Author

Eva Vanek

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