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Guatemala 4-week, Group "B", Summer 2008


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    [post_content] => hello there. this is dillon. since my last post there has been so many fun things going on and i could write for forever. my homestay family was great as they took me into their home, fed me, and treated me as one of their own children.  being out in the cornfields was a great change in atmosphere as opposed to the city and travel life we have been used to for the other parts of the trip. jorge and raul were great friends that i met as we played a bunch of fun games together. the work at chico mendes was really awesome as i really felt like my community service work was going to help the cause in the long run. leaving the community of Pachaj was slightly difficult but also exciting as we were moving on to something new. after a long, stressful day of travel we are now in Nebaj which is much like the city life in the US. exploring the market and the local shops is really cool because we are given good free time to be able to explor the local life of Guatemala. the food is great and so is an occasional ice cream. peace.
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Guatemala 4-week, Group "B", Summer 2008

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Post number 2

Dillon DuBois,Guatemala 4-week, Group "B", Summer 2008

Description

hello there. this is dillon. since my last post there has been so many fun things going on and i could write for forever. my homestay family was great as they took me into their home, fed me, and treated me as one of their own children. being out in the cornfields was a great […]

Posted On

07/8/08

Author

Dillon DuBois

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watup family.

having a great time in Guatemala. still not feeling homesick, and im truly enjoying every minute of it. yesterday i had a grilled cheese and french fries at Big Popi´s hotel, and it was more amazing than words can express. everyone here is very friendly and nice and im having lots of fun. just bought some awesome colorful pantalones from an old lady and im really excited to not be such a tourist when i where them tomorrow. i also miss my homestay family a lot, and i know the next family will have a lot to live up to. nothing to complain about, having a great experience.

love sam

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Guatemala 4-week, Group "B", Summer 2008

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checkin in from Nebaj

sam anderson,Guatemala 4-week, Group "B", Summer 2008

Description

watup family. having a great time in Guatemala. still not feeling homesick, and im truly enjoying every minute of it. yesterday i had a grilled cheese and french fries at Big Popi´s hotel, and it was more amazing than words can express. everyone here is very friendly and nice and im having lots of fun. […]

Posted On

07/8/08

Author

sam anderson

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A fabulous morning today, which more than made up for yesterday's long and at times disheartening travel day. We even got to sleep in (in theory -- in practice Guatemala's everpresent roosters ensured that I was awake by 6), then met for a breakfast of bananas, pan dulce, and peanut butter: an unbeatable combination. Then we took a van to nearby Chajul, where it was market day and we fifteen were absolutely the only gringos there: even in smaller groups, we attracted many stares and a retinue of small children. Around us were women and girls in the traje típico of the region -- elaborate woven huipils (blouses), maroon cortes (skirts) with vertical stripes, and beautiful, colorful servietas (literally napkin, I'd always thought; here a kind of shawl thing.) A few of us stopped to talk with a woman running a tienda who was meanwhile weaving herself a huipil on a loom attached to the wall; we befriended an astounding number of small children (the boys, generally, were more adventurous and followed us around); and discovered the heaven of chocolate-covered frozen bananas. Later on, we all congretated in the plaza in front of the church, and Jessie began talking to some children: soon there was a horde around her and quite a few more staring at the rest of us. Rebecca and I tried to think of some game to play with the shy ones watching us, but they were much too scared to play hand games or to draw. Finally we came up with paper airplanes, and the plaza turned into a huge game of tag and run-around-yelling with paper airplanes flying everywhere. And then to top things off, we managed to catch a pick-up truck back to Nebaj, through gorgeous scenery and past muchos Guatemaltecos who waved back at us as we passed.

I guess this is why I'm here...

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Guatemala 4-week, Group "B", Summer 2008

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just another mañana Guatemalteca

Cassandra Euphrat Weston,Guatemala 4-week, Group "B", Summer 2008

Description

A fabulous morning today, which more than made up for yesterday’s long and at times disheartening travel day. We even got to sleep in (in theory — in practice Guatemala’s everpresent roosters ensured that I was awake by 6), then met for a breakfast of bananas, pan dulce, and peanut butter: an unbeatable combination. Then […]

Posted On

07/8/08

Author

Cassandra Euphrat Weston

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We are currently in Nebaj, a considerably big town in the highlands. Were having an amazing time here. Although very different from our old homestay town, Pachaj, Nebaj is still an amazing town filled with curious Guatemaltecos staring at us as we walk by.

Yesterday we said goodbye to our homestay families, which for some of us was very sad because we had really started to feel like we were part of the family. Although we all had our awkward moments and miscommunications, none of us regret living in Pachaj among the milpa (the cornfields) with our enthusiastically dedicated teachers and our loving organizer, Armando. I personally loved my family, they were so great to me and so interested with my life at home. Even the little boy in my house, Cristian, couldnt take his ears away from our dinner conversations. My favorite moment in Pachaj was the last afternoon when we had free time with our families. Cristian invited over 10 of his friends over to meet me. I had never met such a lively and energetic group of kids. They were so fascinated in the way I dressed with my jeans and quickdry shirt. They were even more fascinated by my camera and my notebook which had colored paper. Each kid wanted to snap a picture of their friends and quickly look at it and laugh. They went crazy when I took a video and they saw themselves jumping rope. I had never seen such an excited group of kids about a camera and it was so interesting to see how things like a camera and a notebook, which arent very exciting at all back in the states, bring so much joy and happiness to the kids in Guatemala.

After a long 7 hour travel day we arrived in Nebaj. Our leader, Dillon, and our two transport leaders, Nora and Reid, did a phenomenal job of getting us safely and rather quickly to Nebaj. They were running around looking for buses while locals were chasing them down selling food and persuading them to take their bus. After we arrived in Nebaj we finally had free time to really walk the streets and talk to people and for some even call their parents. After a long day we headed back to our Hotel-Papis and finally got a comfortable night in our beds.

Today we woke up at 730 to eat bread with delicious peanut butter and bananas. Our leader/transport team found us a van to Chajul, a neighboring town, where the markets were open. When we arrived in Chajul we split up into groups of 3 and 4 and walked through the markets observing locals buying their clothing, food, and other accessories. After walking around, Nora, Sabrina, India and I bought some Pepsi and some waffers and sat on the steps and enjoyed our relaxing day. Women came by asking us if we wanted to buy the traditional shirts - huipiles or their skirts . cortes. All the little kids would point and giggle at us, as we had drank our Pepsi with our daypacks and nice clothes. The four of us shared stories from home and reflected on our experiences in Pachaj.

Weve had an exciting week so far and we are having a great time in Nebaj exploring the town and learning more about Guatemalan culture.

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Guatemala 4-week, Group "B", Summer 2008

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Guatemala

Hanna Lee,Guatemala 4-week, Group "B", Summer 2008

Description

We are currently in Nebaj, a considerably big town in the highlands. Were having an amazing time here. Although very different from our old homestay town, Pachaj, Nebaj is still an amazing town filled with curious Guatemaltecos staring at us as we walk by. Yesterday we said goodbye to our homestay families, which for some […]

Posted On

07/8/08

Author

Hanna Lee

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There´s a wonderful feeling among us all today. Really soaking up our last day here in this beautiful, open-hearted community and beginning to look ahead to the next phase of our journey.

We woke up early this morning for a Mayan ceremony performed by the abuela of Don Armando´s family. It was beautiful to sit and watch the flames in the comal as she counted the days of the Mayan calendar and made offerings and prayers for our continued success and safe journeys.

Yesterday we spent the morning transplanting small trees. They will spend the next 8 months growing, and then they´ll be planted either here near Pachaj or farther west in San Marcos. In San Marcos, there are several gold mining operations that are being forced through despite the opposition of the local people, and the trees will serve as small acts of resistance. As Armando puts it, they serve as small statements that oxygen and life matter more than tearing apart the landscape for a little bit of gold.

This evening, the students and teachers will share a dinner and dance as part of our graduation ceremonies. I think that this week has been wonderful for all involved, and we hope that it is the beginning of a long and fruitful relationship between Dragons and Chico Mendez. In many ways, it´s programs and times like this that define the Dragons experience...working closely in partnership with small communities and con mucho corazon.

We´re heading up to Nebaj in the morning and we´ll be there for a few days doing some hikes to smaller villages and exploring more deeply the history of the armed conflict here. The students are doing a beautiful job of taking ownership and responsibilty of getting us there, and I´m sure it will be a great few days.

hasta pronto...

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Guatemala 4-week, Group "B", Summer 2008

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Last day in Pachaj

The Instructor Team,Guatemala 4-week, Group "B", Summer 2008

Description

There´s a wonderful feeling among us all today. Really soaking up our last day here in this beautiful, open-hearted community and beginning to look ahead to the next phase of our journey. We woke up early this morning for a Mayan ceremony performed by the abuela of Don Armando´s family. It was beautiful to sit […]

Posted On

07/6/08

Author

The Instructor Team

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Hey everybody,

I´m here at Pachaj, a small farming villiage near Xela. As of right now, I´m actually sitting at a small internet cafe just outside the pueblo, and am facing a small amount of difficulty trying to type on the computer. The most interesting part about internet cafe´s like this one is that while it may not be touristy, they still manage to play ¨Pump It¨ by the Black Eyed Peas (in spanish of course). Anyways, sorry about the blab regarding the cafe itself, I suppose I should actually talk about my experience in general.

I am staying with a family of 7, however, I´ve only been able to meet the women of the family. My house mother´s name is Elvida? I think? Haha. My sisters are Carina, Gris, Angelica, and Thelma, and they have been really hospitable. All has been great, except for the fact that the rooster wakes me up really early in the morning. Spanish lessons have been kind of a drag because of the ginormous amount of review, however, I think it will end up being very helpful. Yesterday, my teacher insisted that she did NOT have a boyfriend, yet when I walked home with her, I discovered she did. That should make things interesting. I´m sure that you have already read other yaks regarding the service work, so I wont get into it, but I am super excited to be helping out my world by planting trees like I am.

Well, I hope all is well.

Comment Back!

Jessie Serrino

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Guatemala 4-week, Group "B", Summer 2008

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Pachaj

Jessie Serrino,Guatemala 4-week, Group "B", Summer 2008

Description

Hey everybody, I´m here at Pachaj, a small farming villiage near Xela. As of right now, I´m actually sitting at a small internet cafe just outside the pueblo, and am facing a small amount of difficulty trying to type on the computer. The most interesting part about internet cafe´s like this one is that while […]

Posted On

07/3/08

Author

Jessie Serrino

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HI, we are doing home stayes now for 5 days in a town filled with corn. Sabrina: my family here is the best. Sure I don´t know any thing that they are saying but i smile and try my hardest. But sometimes they seem to get frustrated because i can´t understand them. I have my own room which is really nice. ...My mother picked me specifically out of everyone. But that was before she knew I couldn´t speak Spanish. I have a 19 year old sister named Leti and two 16 year old sisters. But my favorite is a little boy who´s six (i think) named Huan and a little girl who aboslutely loves me named Mi Mi. Food is good but the bathroom is a card-board box on 3 sides and a stone hole in the middle. It´s actually not that bad because i don´t have to worry about flushing. But the worst part is they have no toliet paper but I have some. It was pretty hard walking home alone last night because I live about 20 min walk away from school. I was terribly scared and stared crying. I prayed to God to help me find my way home and he did!! It´s also hard sleeping here because they get up at like 4:30 or 5 every morning. And then i am really tired at night. I´m not as home sick any more but i still miss you.

Sabrina

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Guatemala 4-week, Group "B", Summer 2008

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Home

Sabrina Hansen also to Dillon and Hanna´s parents , she is well,Guatemala 4-week, Group "B", Summer 2008

Description

HI, we are doing home stayes now for 5 days in a town filled with corn. Sabrina: my family here is the best. Sure I don´t know any thing that they are saying but i smile and try my hardest. But sometimes they seem to get frustrated because i can´t understand them. I have my […]

Posted On

07/3/08

Author

Sabrina Hansen also to Dillon and Hanna´s parents , she is well

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    [post_content] => So far, the homestays here in the indigenous community of Pachaj have exceeded all expectations. I am staying in a villa-style house that has a central courtyard and several rooms with a charming family of four. The mother and father, Flor and Bernabe, were delighted to meet me and quickly introduced me to their 6-year old daughter Karina and their 1-year old son, Ivan. Flor and Bernabe are extremely attentive to my every need (or percieved need) and are extremely friendly and talkative. The spanish instruction is going great, even if it is a bit overwhelming to study spanish for four hours at a time. I am having a wonderful time and can´t wait to see what the trip holds for me next.
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Guatemala 4-week, Group "B", Summer 2008

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The Homestay Begins

Gabe Golvin-Klein,Guatemala 4-week, Group "B", Summer 2008

Description

So far, the homestays here in the indigenous community of Pachaj have exceeded all expectations. I am staying in a villa-style house that has a central courtyard and several rooms with a charming family of four. The mother and father, Flor and Bernabe, were delighted to meet me and quickly introduced me to their 6-year […]

Posted On

07/3/08

Author

Gabe Golvin-Klein

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What strikes me most about my homestay family is not how different they are, but how similar; or rather, how the differences I was expecting happen right alongside the most unexpected similarities. They are well-off, and have 2 TV's and a computer; my homestay brother, Angel, showed me many of his photos on the computer, and they were exactly the sort of photos I have at home, on my computer, of my friends. Yet at the same time, many of the women and girls in the photos were wearing traditional traje. My family has a very modern bathroom with a flushing toilet and hot-water shower: but the sink doesn't work at all, has no plumbing -- instead they use the pila outside. Yesterday my homestay mother came home late, so por la cena we had takeout fast-food fried chicken y papas fritas -- y tortillas, of course, por que siempre uno come tortillas, aqui en Guatemala. It's these contradictions that really jump out at me -- what aspects of life globalization has reached; what traditions people keep a firm hold on.

But the best part of my homestay family is that they are a *family*, small (especially by Guatemalan standards) but clearly close-knit, and I get to share in that for a week, which is incredible.

-----

(NB to those at home: I will check my email when I can, but that time is not now, as we are all crammed into a tiny internet cafe, typing furiously.)

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Guatemala 4-week, Group "B", Summer 2008

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Musings on Homestays

Cassandra Euphrat Weston,Guatemala 4-week, Group "B", Summer 2008

Description

What strikes me most about my homestay family is not how different they are, but how similar; or rather, how the differences I was expecting happen right alongside the most unexpected similarities. They are well-off, and have 2 TV’s and a computer; my homestay brother, Angel, showed me many of his photos on the computer, […]

Posted On

07/3/08

Author

Cassandra Euphrat Weston

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    [post_author] => 39
    [post_date] => 2008-07-03 00:00:00
    [post_date_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00
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There´s no doubt about it, homestays are difficult. It is awkward to barge into someone´s home and try and make yourself part of the family. But it is also a great experience and a way to learn about such a totally different culture. My real family and my homestay family have almost nothing in common but there is no better way to really understand what things are like here. Often it is uncomfortable and hard to communicate, and I know I am still not used to using an outhouse, but the people here are very welcoming and happy to have us in there homes. Eating breakfast and dinner with my family is just enough time to scramble my brain with spanish and figure out what I am supposed to say while still getting time to discuss funny stories, discomforts, fears, and excitments with others in our group. Looking forward to special moments in the next few days.

Nora

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Guatemala 4-week, Group "B", Summer 2008

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Homestays

Nora Casper,Guatemala 4-week, Group "B", Summer 2008

Description

There´s no doubt about it, homestays are difficult. It is awkward to barge into someone´s home and try and make yourself part of the family. But it is also a great experience and a way to learn about such a totally different culture. My real family and my homestay family have almost nothing in common […]

Posted On

07/3/08

Author

Nora Casper

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