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Guatemala: Mundo Maya 4-week "A", Summer 2010


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hola!!!!!!!!

i have no idea where to start this trip has suprises and new expiriences around every bend. it seems so long ago that i was driving up to our first school on the day we were to meet our new homestay moms. that first never ending night was probly the most intense night of my life. now after about 5 days with that origonally terrifying family i cant decide weather i am more excited for our next step or if i am sad that i am leaving my guatemalan family.

over all the trip has been fantastic. goining to mayan ruins and speaking so much spanish that when you see your friends fromn the group saying good morning sounds odd. i will be spending my last night with my uncountable chickens and dogs, my host mom and dad, my two sisters and their husbands and their children, and my two brothers and few other unidentified residents!! its a very full house!

well i now have to go to dinner

buenos noches

Nyita

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Guatemala: Mundo Maya 4-week "A", Summer 2010

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im alive in Guatemala!!!

Nyita Hooper,Guatemala: Mundo Maya 4-week "A", Summer 2010

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hola!!!!!!!! i have no idea where to start this trip has suprises and new expiriences around every bend. it seems so long ago that i was driving up to our first school on the day we were to meet our new homestay moms. that first never ending night was probly the most intense night of […]

Posted On

07/7/10

Author

Nyita Hooper

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Guatemala isa place where I have let go of my comfort zone, and welcomed an experience I hope to never forget. Although we are leaving San Jose, I will always remember this beautiful town, and everything about it. The gorgeous sunsets, thefascinating lighting storms at night, the delicious food (usually), and the authentic houses and the extremelywelcoming people that sleepinside them.Although everybody is so nice here, my favorites are the kids. They might be crazy, but there my best friends. In fact, Carlito and Danilo are sitting right beside me asI type this entry. My parents, Dona Florinda and Don Falsto,have also been very comforting... although sometimes they give me too much food. Ofcourse, the culture here is much different than Washington DC (as i could list millions of contrasts) butI have so far been able to adjust.

I cant wait for the next week to come!

Ben

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Guatemala: Mundo Maya 4-week "A", Summer 2010

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Viva Guatemala!

Ben Pockros,Guatemala: Mundo Maya 4-week "A", Summer 2010

Description

Guatemala isa place where I have let go of my comfort zone, and welcomed an experience I hope to never forget. Although we are leaving San Jose, I will always remember this beautiful town, and everything about it. The gorgeous sunsets, thefascinating lighting storms at night, the delicious food (usually), and the authentic houses and […]

Posted On

07/6/10

Author

Ben Pockros

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    [post_content] => Last night, after a dinner of tortillas, eggs and beans, I stepped onto the dirt road leading from my homestay families house onto the brightly lit street. On the concrete road are about20 different little kids running and screaming, with 3 other dragons trying to get them to quite down, shouting cuidado! cuidado! as little kids tumble down the hard road. My six year old homestay brother is at my side but the second he sees everyone else he runs towards the mob. After about 10 minutes we get them to quiet down and stand in same general area. At this point we realize we now actually needed to come up with an activityfor them so I shout the first thing that comes to mind, the game my whole group (teenagers and instructures) played earlier, ride my pony. So after fruitlessy trying to explain it in spanish we simply shouted circulo circulo over and over again until they formed a circle. At that point one of the other dragons shouts we need to translate the song into spanish! So we take two minutes to to this and then it began. She stepped into the middle of the circle and began to gallop around it singing monta mi cabellito, monta mi cabellito, monta mi cabellito, eso es como lo hacemos! At which point she stops and begins to dance in front of one of the kids singing ba ba ba mi cabellito, turns singing the same tune and then does that again. Once this is over both of them repreated the same dance until everybody was doing it. The street was now filled with the sound of singing and screaming children as the sun sunk behind lake.
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Guatemala: Mundo Maya 4-week "A", Summer 2010

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Ride my pony

Elizabeth Solomon,Guatemala: Mundo Maya 4-week "A", Summer 2010

Description

Last night, after a dinner of tortillas, eggs and beans, I stepped onto the dirt road leading from my homestay families house onto the brightly lit street. On the concrete road are about20 different little kids running and screaming, with 3 other dragons trying to get them to quite down, shouting cuidado! cuidado! as little […]

Posted On

07/6/10

Author

Elizabeth Solomon

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    [post_title] => some pics from Yaxha and San Jose
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Guatemala: Mundo Maya 4-week "A", Summer 2010

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some pics from Yaxha and San Jose

Ariel, Emanuel, Eva,Guatemala: Mundo Maya 4-week "A", Summer 2010

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Posted On

07/6/10

Author

Ariel, Emanuel, Eva

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9 days into our journey, our students have already created a support system, very much like a family, among themselves. Furthermore, after 5 days of homestay, we are thrilled to see them connecting with their local, Guatemalan families, eating at least 10 tortillas a day (some have a running tally on tortilla ingestion) and enjoying the beautiful view of Lago Peten Itza. Alex has already picked up the local language Itza, has a good eye for finding scorpions in his bed and dealing with them appropriately and is perfecting his “linda morena song” with his Spanish teacher. Caroline is now in charge of preparing the tortillas for her entire household and helped her instructor to move out of her panic zone on the water slides. Eva’s tortilla making skills are finally accepted by her family and is perfecting her Spanish holding long conversations with her host mom. Lily is enduring the heat and sweat every morning to stay in shape for her soccer fit test, while practicing her Spanish with her little brother and kids on the street. Jack is mastering the technique of recovering lost soccer balls in trees, while Carlitos, his ever present 8 year old shadow, shows him the ways of the streets in San Jose. Beth is teaching us about microfinance and other aspects of development and fearlessly styled the “red water slide” on our 4th of July celebration. Wendy is surviving on her diet of leaves and twigs, has already facilitated a lesson about values and her instructors have predicted that she will be part of the next generation of Human Rights activists. Ben is mastering the art of extreme hammocking, when not roaming the streets with his Spanish teacher or playing soccer with the locals. Ivan is on his way to be the next mayor of San Jose, already having translated a tour in the traditional medicine gardens (if he can manage to cross the “puente del amor” safely every day) Mario has already taken more pictures than the rest of the group combined, while constantly motivating everybody with his positive energy. Nyita is already engaged with the local kids on her street, teaching them “ride my pony” in Spanish, while bringing a smile to everybody’s face. And finally, Emily is teaching kids how to play Duck Duck Goose, while researching and interviewing locals about gender roles in Guatemala. We couldn’t have asked for a better group of students.

We only have 2 days left in the lowlands jungles of Peten, finishing our last day here with a visit to the Mayan Pyramids of Tikal National Park, before we embark on our highlands bound journey passing through the cloud forest mountains of Alta Verapaz. Here we expect to have some fun in the sun and swim in the turquoise travertine pools of the Semuc Champey Natural Monument, before our next set of homestays and language immersion in Pachaj, Quetzaltenango.

Un abrazo para todos.

Ariel, Emanuel, Eva

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Guatemala: Mundo Maya 4-week "A", Summer 2010

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The lowland jungle experience

Ariel, Emanuel, Eva,Guatemala: Mundo Maya 4-week "A", Summer 2010

Description

9 days into our journey, our students have already created a support system, very much like a family, among themselves. Furthermore, after 5 days of homestay, we are thrilled to see them connecting with their local, Guatemalan families, eating at least 10 tortillas a day (some have a running tally on tortilla ingestion) and enjoying […]

Posted On

07/6/10

Author

Ariel, Emanuel, Eva

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So far we’ve been in San Jose four days and I don’t think I have ever sweat this much in my life. It is very warm and very humid; I don’t understand how the people who live here don’t sweat. I suppose you can adapt to anything including heat and humidity. I am being constantly surprised by the generosity and openness of the people here. Everyone answers all my questions no matter how difficult I am to understand and everyone is kind and polite regardless of how many mistakes I make with their names. I would have thought that calling the oldest daughter Diabla (thinking it was her name) it would turn her against me forever but instead it just became a joke. It took a while for me to understand or accept the differences but I soon realized that to fully immerse myself I had to let go of my American social norms. Once I realized this everything was much easier. I began to try to make conversations with all the members and became less shy about speaking with people. At the beginning I was hesitant to speak if it could be avoided as every time I open my mouth people laugh at the strange American girl’s accent; but the more I speak the better I get. I am excited for the rest of the trip and look forward to learning more about this really interesting and drastically different culture.

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Guatemala: Mundo Maya 4-week "A", Summer 2010

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San Jose

Emily Levin,Guatemala: Mundo Maya 4-week "A", Summer 2010

Description

So far we’ve been in San Jose four days and I don’t think I have ever sweat this much in my life. It is very warm and very humid; I don’t understand how the people who live here don’t sweat. I suppose you can adapt to anything including heat and humidity. I am being constantly […]

Posted On

07/4/10

Author

Emily Levin

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Being placed in a situation drastically different than one´s norm can cause one to have immense reflections that can shape their character and determine what kind of person they may turn out to be. Only having been here for about 5 days it´s amazing how already relationships have formed, inside jokes have been created and we are all willing to be honest and open with eachother. This is something that I feel can only happen in this kind of situation. Aside from the strong relationships that I´m sure will grow throughout this journey, the homestays and spontaneous and wonderful moments spent with locals and the children playing in the street serve as a reminder of why we are here. We are all here to gain a better understanding of the world we live in and continue our journey as global citizens. Being here has allowed me to reflect on my experiences to gain a better understanding of who I am and who I want to be. This is especially prevalent here because being so far from home I am able to see what I hold important in my life when completely out of my comfort zone. This kind of experience is making me look at my values.However, not just the obvious or not just values that I think should be important. Because that is not an honest depiction of ones self when values are simply listed without being embraced with your psyche and your heart. I could say that throughout my life I have felt secure about what I hold Important however I know that in some situations, in fear of being weird or different, we don´t always live up to them. This trip has already changed my perceptions of the world as a whole and has given perspective to my own life. Through doing things everyday that are challenging, fun and sometime scary, it helps me really to see what I hold on to in times like those. Because these are the moments that matter as they change our perceptions of our role in the grand scheme of the universe. For me, this is no doubt the most challenging part of this journey because it makes you look honestly at yourself which can be uncomfortable or confusing however this is what can make us good people and true global citizens. Arriving eagerly ar our homestay families in San Jose accompanied by the overwhelming heat and breathtaking lake, we were feeling an array of different emotions. I entered the warm and understanding household that I was given and after taking a deep breath, I dove into somewhat broken Spanish but the kindness of everyone was present and encouraging. This was helpful as I helped my mom make tortillas, (about one of mine for every five of hers), had a long conversation with my sister about everything from school to marimba music and played a short but hilarious game of hide and seek with my little brother. All of this, while wonderful, is still very overwhelming but the family that we have in eachother as a group `provides all the support necessary for one to have an absolutely profound and amazing time here in this beautiful country. I have no doubt that all we learn from ourselves and eachother will give us the courage and power to return to our various homes and truly be the people we know we canbe.

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Guatemala: Mundo Maya 4-week "A", Summer 2010

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Beautiful Confusion

Eva Batalla- Mann,Guatemala: Mundo Maya 4-week "A", Summer 2010

Description

Being placed in a situation drastically different than one´s norm can cause one to have immense reflections that can shape their character and determine what kind of person they may turn out to be. Only having been here for about 5 days it´s amazing how already relationships have formed, inside jokes have been created and […]

Posted On

07/3/10

Author

Eva Batalla- Mann

WP_Post Object
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    [post_date] => 2010-07-03 00:00:00
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    [post_content] => I lay on my bed in my homestay on Thursday, July 1, 2010, thinking to myself: “What in God´s name have I gotten myself into?”´See, I´d just been hit by a tidal wave of rapid, near-incomprehensible Spanish from some Guatemalans that I didn’t know; namely, my homestay mother and one of my homestay sisters, with whom I’d be living until Tuesday. They finished what they were saying and then looked at me expectantly, making it clear that they’d just asked me a question; the problem was, I had no idea what it was. I smiled, shrugged a bit, and said “Sí…?” to their inquiry, not knowing exactly what it was that I was affirming. Turns out that what they really wanted me to do was to go down to the beach with two of my other siblings (turns out the grand total was seven), and swim with them. Of course with their rapid-fire speech combined with the inevitable little-kid voices made it impossible for me to understand – and, you know, I’m not a big swimmer in any case – so I spent a miserable two hours sitting on the dock, the little devil’s voice in my head asking me the same glum question: “What in God´s name have I gotten myself into?”I slouched my way through dinner, utterly unsure of what to say, or if I should even try. In the end I had a pretty silent time of it, and then looked to go into my room and maybe mope a bit more. Of course, my over-eager siblings, the oldest of which was about two and a half feet shorter than I, weren’t having any of that. Carlitos, a boy of about eight or nine, came into my room wielding a volleyball, and enticed me to come down to one of the local parks to play some games. I agreed, but the more pessimistic side of me thought that it’d be another uncomfortable experience.Sometimes I have to get my head out of my a*s, though, because I was dead wrong. Carlitos and about four or five other siblings came down with me to one of the local parks, and he taught me some soccer tricks. You know the sort: bouncing a ball on your knee multiple times, headbutting the ball, doing some strange sort of spinny-kick tricks that I, ever the futbol Americano – oriented American, had no chance of ever learning. But it was only the start, and things could only get better. We ended up roaming the lakeside for three hours, from seven to ten. We left the park that we were currently in and went to a different one – one a little more street-like and dirty than the other, netless basketball hoops and everything – and it was here that we set up camp playing soccer. The teams were Carlitos and I versus everyone else, and more kids kept coming in over the hours. Eventually I forgot my awkwardness and decided to try on the pants of a Guatemalan culture. Just once, you know. Just to see if I could like it… and surprisingly, or maybe not so surprisingly, once I decided to go with the flow, it seemed like the whole world brightened. Suddenly everything seemed so much more homely, like I was made to live in San José. Instead of simply hanging around a bit on the sidelines watching as Carlitos pulled some fancy tricks, and occasionally fending off the odd rogue would-be scorer, I decided to jump into the action. My proudest moment of this era came when I entered foot-to-foot combat with a little Guatemalan kid seven years younger, two feet shorter, and at least eighty pounds lighter than I, and I won. Kind of a twisted sense of pleasure, and he got me back a few minutes later when he roundhouse-kicked the volleyball into my balls, but that’s the price you pay, I guess – and besides, it almost didn’t even hurt. I felt a part of something, and once I set aside my own cultural identity and tried on a new one, suddenly I found myself liking the place I was in. Just like that. Magic, practically. Even the once-forbidding tienda in which I was currently living seemed familiar, more homey, like I’d lived there for years. Is it all peaches and berries? Hell no. I still have trouble understanding what my little street urchin siblings are saying to me, and they, the little buggers, have caught onto the fact that whenever I don’t understand a question that they’ve just asked, I smile and say, “Sí.” This was the source of a game for them – one in which I was asked completely opposing questions and answered the same to both, which in the moment went completely over my head – but you know, I don’t even mind. Because you know, I’ve somehow grown fond of these crazy little kids that think I’m sort of mute, overgrown giant. They mess around with me, and I mess around with them in turn. We’ve figured out a sense of understanding and of camaraderie. I feel a sense of acceptance whenever I go home now, although I have come to almost dread the nights when my siblings, with the boundless energy of youth, drag me out to the basketball courts for another two-hour game of soccer. Almost.But my feet will heal, I’m sure. The feet are not what are important here. So maybe we’ll play one-hour games of soccer instead of two-hour, but there’ll be no canceling in this town. What I’d failed to understand that first day, in the first hours, was the fact that these people have lives to live out, and they have their own cultural identity, and I, as a visitor, can’t just sit back and observe. Been there, done that – never works, believe me. I’ll be sad to leave this place, and that fact actually surprises me, because I’m brutally honest, I didn’t think I could get so attached to a group of young kids who liked playing soccer – but there you are. Surprises come around every corner, and in no way do I think I’ve got every turn and curb figured out here, because that’s not plausible. But when something unexpected happens, I’ve figured myself out enough now that I know I’ll be ready for it when the time comes and not be in such a panic. And that’s the most important aspect of these homestays, I guess. So who ever said that going into panic mode was unhealthy? Seems okay to me from time to time.
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Guatemala: Mundo Maya 4-week "A", Summer 2010

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“What in God’s name have I gotten myself into?” – Thoughts of a Dragon

Jack Sligh,Guatemala: Mundo Maya 4-week "A", Summer 2010

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I lay on my bed in my homestay on Thursday, July 1, 2010, thinking to myself: “What in God´s name have I gotten myself into?”´See, I´d just been hit by a tidal wave of rapid, near-incomprehensible Spanish from some Guatemalans that I didn’t know; namely, my homestay mother and one of my homestay sisters, with […]

Posted On

07/3/10

Author

Jack Sligh

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    [post_content] => Every time I travel, I find out that the values with which I leave home are either altered or strengthened by the time I return. The values I consider to be core parts of my identity are often supported or have a new light shed upon through my experiences traveling. Seeing how happy people with so little can be strengthens my sense of gratitude for all I have and reminds me be to be thankful. Witnessing the sense of community Guatemalans have makes me realize how importance the existence of my own community is to me. When I travel, I also discover the value of things I did not necessarily value as much before. Traveling gives us the opportunity to experience another cultures values and reflect on my own. Every time I travel, I am forced to ask myself, "What are the values a person should have, and do my actions and life choices reflect those values?"
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Guatemala: Mundo Maya 4-week "A", Summer 2010

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Values

Lily Gordon,Guatemala: Mundo Maya 4-week "A", Summer 2010

Description

Every time I travel, I find out that the values with which I leave home are either altered or strengthened by the time I return. The values I consider to be core parts of my identity are often supported or have a new light shed upon through my experiences traveling. Seeing how happy people with […]

Posted On

07/3/10

Author

Lily Gordon

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"life is not about finding yourself. life it is about creating yourself."

-George Shaw

Over the first few days in Guatemala i have had many new experiences that seemed insignificant at the time but, have started to change my life and the values i hold. When we met up in the Mimi airport we knew nothing about anyone else on the trip which, is key to building a strong trusting group in a very short amount of time. An other thing that is very important is having an open mind. This can be done with self awareness. Coming into this program not knowing anyone makes a stranger more trusting group quickly because you are automatically more self aware. Not of how you look but self aware of your inner self. When you are you feel comfortable and happy with who you are therefor, making you more open to new things. This creates a stronger group because everyone excepts everyone for who they are. This interconnected web for me is a lot like like a mobile, if one part fails to pull its weight the entire thing falls. the more open we are with each other the stronger the becomes. Turing it from a fragile thing to a virtually impenetrable object. that is what we are all striving for here with much support from everyone around us. Making this experience grounded and therefor something we will remember forever.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed people can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has."

-Margaret Mead

-Mario

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Guatemala: Mundo Maya 4-week "A", Summer 2010

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the first few days

Mario Sacca,Guatemala: Mundo Maya 4-week "A", Summer 2010

Description

"life is not about finding yourself. life it is about creating yourself." -George Shaw Over the first few days in Guatemala i have had many new experiences that seemed insignificant at the time but, have started to change my life and the values i hold. When we met up in the Mimi airport we knew […]

Posted On

07/3/10

Author

Mario Sacca

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