Photo of the Week
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    [post_content] => Both Guatemala groups have landed in Miami and are currently going through customs and migration.  The students will then part ways and head to their connecting flights.

Your children will be home very soon with many stories to share!
    [post_title] => The Guatemala groups have landed in Miami!
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SUMMER: Guatemala - Group A, SUMMER: Guatemala - Group B

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The Guatemala groups have landed in Miami!

Julianne Chandler,SUMMER: Guatemala - Group A, SUMMER: Guatemala - Group B

Description

Both Guatemala groups have landed in Miami and are currently going through customs and migration.  The students will then part ways and head to their connecting flights. Your children will be home very soon with many stories to share!

Posted On

07/28/17

Author

Julianne Chandler

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    [post_date] => 2017-07-28 07:36:52
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    [post_content] => The Guatemala 4A students have boarded their plane in Guatemala and are awaiting their departure home.  They are scheduled to arrive in Miami at 11:47 am local time.

The students are sad to leave each other but eager to share stories from their adventure through Guatemala!
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Guatemala students heading home!

Julianne Chandler,SUMMER: Guatemala - Group A

Description

The Guatemala 4A students have boarded their plane in Guatemala and are awaiting their departure home.  They are scheduled to arrive in Miami at 11:47 am local time. The students are sad to leave each other but eager to share stories from their adventure through Guatemala!

Posted On

07/28/17

Author

Julianne Chandler

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    [post_date] => 2017-07-25 12:29:33
    [post_date_gmt] => 2017-07-25 18:29:33
    [post_content] => ¡Hola mi gente! Throughout the afternoons of Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of last week all student body members of our group pursued things unique to Guatemala, Mayan tradition or San Juan, such as weaving, natural medicine, or in my case painting. Anyone close to me who read that would be extremely surprised that out of anything I choose to paint (especially over making chocolate) due to the fact I am extremely artistically challenged. For most members of the group, that's exactly what this experience was all about; dipping our toes into something that was foreign or interesting to us.

For me, this was one of the best parts of the trip because I got to practice my Spanish, while learning about Mayan culture and traditions through art. My mentor is an incredible artist and interesting person. I ended up painting Nahuales, which are part of Maya the calendar system and represent energies present in people as well as the world. The symbolism manifested in my Nahual, as well as an interesting perspective on art from my mentor, resulted in a piece of art that I am proud of and encompasses my personality and persona.

On the last Friday night, after about 5 hours of painting, I scrambled back home to see a full dining room (when I say dining room, it is also where my uncle sleeps, where the dog spends most of his days, where I play soccer with my younger brother, where the fridge, TV, and dresser that contains anything from tortillas to underwear are located, where most of the laughing at my sub par Spanish took place and where, over the course of ten days, a family in a completely different country, in a completely different situation, using a completely different language, made me feel cared for, and as if I was family.) of my family awaiting my return. After a full night of conversation, crying from laughing, and using my Spanish to concoct a presentation for my group the next day, I went to bed.

The presentations the next day were amazing. Our group had an impressive variety of Independent Study Projects, including a documentary, music jam, drum massage, and a combination of plants that help back pain. The drum massage was a very interesting experience. Livi made a drum that is not for playing, but for generating vibrations through one's body to calm the mind. All the students worked hard in using Spanish, fully taking advantage of their experience, and developing a presentable product for the group. Speaking on behalf of all members of the group, listening to everyone's thought process of their products creation, as well learning about the cultures and traditions of the Maya and the people of San Juan was extremely eye opening and interesting.
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SUMMER: Guatemala - Group A, Internships and Independent Study Projects

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Independent Study Project and X Phase

Simon Rutter,SUMMER: Guatemala - Group A, Internships and Independent Study Projects

Description

¡Hola mi gente! Throughout the afternoons of Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of last week all student body members of our group pursued things unique to Guatemala, Mayan tradition or San Juan, such as weaving, natural medicine, or in my case painting. Anyone close to me who read that would be extremely surprised that out of […]

Posted On

07/25/17

Author

Simon Rutter

WP_Post Object
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    [post_date] => 2017-07-24 16:00:38
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    [post_content] => Hello from Instituto Mesoamerica de Agricultura Permacultura (IMAP). Our group arrived last night after a long day, which involved waking up at 3:30am to catch the sunrise from the top of a nearby peak. We (the instructor team) wanted to take a moment to share some thoughts as we head into our final few days.

On Saturday we said goodbye to our community of home stay families in San Juan. The students, without any help from the instructors, coordinated a farewell dinner (including pizza), decorations, and a great rendition of "When I'm gone," with lyrics in Spanish about our time in San Juan. It was amazing to see how much work they put into it, and how happy the families were!

We also got to watch the students as they presented what they've learned in their Independent Study Projects (ISPs) the last few days. We were so impressed - not only did each and every student walk way with a unique new skill, many spoke with enthusiasm about the connections they had formed with their ISP mentors and organizations. It is a section of the trip that gives students a special opportunity to build an individual bond with someone here in the community, and given our group's gusto and love for new experience, perhaps it's no surprise they all had so much to say and such clear demonstrations of learning.

Of course, the ISP is just one facet of the program, but it is one that really synthesizes our work thus far in building our Spanish skills, getting more comfortable interacting with Guatemalan communities, and gaining deeper understanding of the history of our location. As we head into the last few days of the trip, our goal is to continue this process of synthesis, on a bigger scale, so that students head home with a clear and deeply-felt sense of what they have achieved on this trip.

This end-of-trip process often involves a roller coaster of emotion. Excitement for returning home mixed with sadness at leaving the group; feelings of accomplishment and awareness followed by confusion for what do do with this growth once back in life at home. It's normal. We feel it too. A whirlwind of a trip like this has so much experience packed in, sometimes it can be hard to sort out what really happened,  what it really meant, and what it means back home.

Our hope is that in the next few days, with lots of help, students can start to wrap their minds around how much they've learned this month. We hope that, with much reflection, gratitude giving, and preparation they will find a way to understand and describe this trip. We hope they will recognize how much they've grown in character and awareness. And we hope they will deeply feel their connection to this place, to the Guatemalan people and their stories, to the long history of Mesoamerica and its cultures.

But no matter how much we prepare, transitions home are, by nature, challenging. We're left with a vacuum of group culture and shared language. We're overwhelmed by little things like water we can drink straight from the tap, and a whole aisle in the grocery store just for breakfast cereal. And although comforts of home are nice at first, we end up missing the simplicity of life with one backpack's-worth of belongings. Know that we might need some space, and some time, to be able to share our stories and this new version of ourselves. But we will, as long as you keep showing interest and asking questions.

We're lucky to have an outstanding place in which to wrap up the trip. IMAP is beautiful, spacious, and quiet - perfect for reflection and speaking honestly about how we're all feeling. And, did we mention it's a farm, so the food is incredible??

Con Paz,

Rich, Ben, y Irene
    [post_title] => Bringing it all together
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Bringing it all together

Ben Mitzner,SUMMER: Guatemala - Group A

Description

Hello from Instituto Mesoamerica de Agricultura Permacultura (IMAP). Our group arrived last night after a long day, which involved waking up at 3:30am to catch the sunrise from the top of a nearby peak. We (the instructor team) wanted to take a moment to share some thoughts as we head into our final few days. […]

Posted On

07/24/17

Author

Ben Mitzner

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    [post_date] => 2017-07-21 11:34:17
    [post_date_gmt] => 2017-07-21 17:34:17
    [post_content] => 
Dear Summer 2017 Guatemala 4 Week Group A Student Families,
It is hard to believe that almost 4 weeks have already passed since embarking on this incredible adventure! It won’t be long before students will be boarding their planes back home. We are sure you are anxiously awaiting their arrival!
Below is a reminder of the return group flight information for eagerly awaiting families (all times are in local time zones):
Friday, July 28th, 2017
 
American Airlines Flight #1182
Depart: Guatemala City @ 7:00 AM
Arrive: Miami @ 11:43 AM
We will have a Dragons Administrator on call for the duration of the travel day. Should you need any assistance after regular office hours, please call our “on-call” number at 303-921-6078.
We wish all students a great trip home!
Sincerely,
Boulder Admin
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SUMMER: Guatemala - Group A

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July 28th Group Return Details & Reminders!

Eva Vanek,SUMMER: Guatemala - Group A

Description

Dear Summer 2017 Guatemala 4 Week Group A Student Families, It is hard to believe that almost 4 weeks have already passed since embarking on this incredible adventure! It won’t be long before students will be boarding their planes back home. We are sure you are anxiously awaiting their arrival! Below is a reminder of […]

Posted On

07/21/17

Author

Eva Vanek

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    [post_date] => 2017-07-19 13:49:46
    [post_date_gmt] => 2017-07-19 19:49:46
    [post_content] => For our third and final day in Cotzal, the instructors surprised us with a trip to a catarata (waterfall). In the morning we all met up, including our homestay families, and took a bus to a town near Cotzal, where we then began walking. The trail was teetered on the edge of a mountain, overlooking a rushing river below. Our expectations for the size of the waterfall were low, however we were blown away by the beautiful sight in front of us. It was magnificent! Water plummeted down a green cliff and splashed the rocks below, surrounding us in a light, cooling mist. We took a dip in one of the calmer pools and then ate our final lunch with our homestay families. It was especially beautiful because our homestay mothers and sisters dressed in their finest Hupil (traditional clothing) for the occasion. After lunch we walked back to the town and crammed almost 30 people into two vans to return to Cotzal. Once back in Cotzal we gathered our stuff and said our goodbyes to the families that had hosted us for the past three days. We headed to our next destination, Medicos Descalsos in Chinique packing only fifteen of us in the bus this time. Medicos Descalsos is the perfect retreat to reflect on the last 20 days.

-Lucia and Etai

 
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Trip to Catarata Santa Abelina

Lucia & Etai,SUMMER: Guatemala - Group A

Description

For our third and final day in Cotzal, the instructors surprised us with a trip to a catarata (waterfall). In the morning we all met up, including our homestay families, and took a bus to a town near Cotzal, where we then began walking. The trail was teetered on the edge of a mountain, overlooking a […]

Posted On

07/19/17

Author

Lucia & Etai

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    [post_date] => 2017-07-19 13:48:32
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    [post_content] => Hola!

On our second day in Cotzal, we learned the true meaning of the saying “many hands make light work.” The group of Dragons helped the women’s weaving co-op mix and pour concrete for the floor of part of their community center. We started the job by hauling sand from a deposit in a nearby field to lay down before the concrete. The ladies worked twice as fast as most of us, carrying giant buckets on their heads. When the sand was done, we took a little break to eat a snack of crispy tortilla chips with fresh guacamole. With new energy, we began mixing different materials to create the actual concrete. We then made a line and passed the buckets of concrete up to the roof where one man dumped and spread it evenly. The buckets were very heavy, and we all ended up covered in concrete. After finishing two rooms, we were all in need of a lunch break. For lunch we had boshbol and tamales that we helped to prepare. The food tasted amazing after all the heavy lifting. Once we had finished eating we quickly completed the floor for the last room and hallway. Passing full buckets up and empty buckets down, we got into a nice rhythm. We even started singing, trying to think of songs that we all knew. Looking at our finished product, we all felt a sense of accomplishment. We ended the day of work much dirtier and happier than we had been in the morning.

Hasta luego!

Sylvie

 
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View post

Concrete Crew

Sylvie Weiman,SUMMER: Guatemala - Group A, Service Learning

Description

Hola! On our second day in Cotzal, we learned the true meaning of the saying “many hands make light work.” The group of Dragons helped the women’s weaving co-op mix and pour concrete for the floor of part of their community center. We started the job by hauling sand from a deposit in a nearby […]

Posted On

07/19/17

Author

Sylvie Weiman

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    [post_date] => 2017-07-19 13:47:03
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    [post_content] => Yesterday (7/16), we left Cotzal and drove on a beautiful road through the mountains to Medicos Descalsos (translation: Barefoot Doctors) in Chineakay. Medicos Descalsos is a treatment center, and we’ll be staying here for the next day. Here, we will be able to relax and reflect on the trip so far before heading back into our homestays at San Juan. All of us (minus the instructors) stayed on mattresses on the floor in one big room, which felt amazing after sleeping on hard wood for the past few nights. This morning we made a hilarious skit about all of our experiences on the trip so far. We then practiced our feedback skills by giving feedback one on one to our peers. Many of us felt very uncomfortable at first, but we all felt so much more open and free afterwards. Then, we talked about setting goals for ourselves. Although these activities may seem cheesy, I immediately felt the change in the group. We are laughing more, and there’s a much more light hearted feel amongst the group. We then ate a lunch of spaghetti (thankfully not including eggs and beans), and now we’re having one on one check ins and sitting around talking. Tonight, we’re going to use a temascal (sauna), and learn more about Mayan medicine and about Medicos Descalsos. This is a place for us to take a breath and take care of ourselves before driving back into our busy lives here. We’re all so excited to see where the last part of this trip takes us!

Hasta pronto,

Meg

 
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Medicos Descalsos

Meg Conner,SUMMER: Guatemala - Group A

Description

Yesterday (7/16), we left Cotzal and drove on a beautiful road through the mountains to Medicos Descalsos (translation: Barefoot Doctors) in Chineakay. Medicos Descalsos is a treatment center, and we’ll be staying here for the next day. Here, we will be able to relax and reflect on the trip so far before heading back into […]

Posted On

07/19/17

Author

Meg Conner

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    [post_content] => The First Day of Cotzal Homestays

As I sit here eating a tortilla, I remember the first day in Cotzal. Coming from Nebaj in a van, we entered into the Cotzal Weaver’s Cooperative Center weak knees and heart beating rapidly. We found a room full of Mayan women with smiles on their faces that applauded as we walked in. They went around, introducing themselves and then the director told us some things to know-- how to use the temascals, the small saunas they use to bath, and the pilas, the giant sinks, and a few words in Ixil, the Mayan language of the Ixil region. We got paired up, and I was off with a young woman and her son. We boarded onto a tuk-tuk with seven other people and then whizzed off to the small wooden fenced home stay house. The house had dirt floors and two families lived there, in two separate rooms. Dark winding passages connected the rooms, the kitchen, and the bathroom with a pila and a manual toilet. My home stay family was my awesome, hardworking mom, an eight year old girl named Liliana and a six year old named Diego. The kids were very excited about my deck of cards and we played endless games of War and Go Fish. The whole family was also fascinated by my camera and took many a blurry photo. We ate our meals over the stove, a wood affair that was constantly cooking tortillas. That first night we just had beans and the tortillas I had been listening to the homestay mom slap into shape all night. The simplicity of the meal was surprisingly comforting, and I enjoyed it. I slept on a wooden blank while the rest of the family slept in one other bed. It was an unrestful night, but I loved it and waking up to their bustling at five thirty the next morning. The family was super close and constantly talking in Ixil, much to my confusion. Still, I enjoyed the experience and wish we could’ve stayed longer.

-Maggie
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First Day in Cotzal

Maggie Needham,SUMMER: Guatemala - Group A

Description

The First Day of Cotzal Homestays As I sit here eating a tortilla, I remember the first day in Cotzal. Coming from Nebaj in a van, we entered into the Cotzal Weaver’s Cooperative Center weak knees and heart beating rapidly. We found a room full of Mayan women with smiles on their faces that applauded […]

Posted On

07/19/17

Author

Maggie Needham

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    [post_date] => 2017-07-18 19:51:17
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    [post_content] => Before this trip, I was used to the hustle and bustle of daily American life. The constant need to entertain myself, be busy, and talk (particularly about myself). The past 20 days in Guatemala have taught me the value of silence.

I have learned more about myself and the world in moments of silence here, sitting, watching, and listening, than in 15 years of chatter. Our inability while in Guatemala to reach for our phone, computer, or friend whenever unoccupied has forced us into these moments of silence.

I am not going to lie, it started off as uncomfortable silences. I was unused to sitting with my home stay mom, and not having the sound of our voices fill the room. But slowly, very slowly, I have grown accustomed to the soft, happy, silence that weaves it’s way through Guatemalan life. I love after a long day of work in Cotzal, learning about Guatemalan history, and exploring to walk home and simply enjoy an experience with someone.

We sit, breathing the same air, seeing the same tuk tuk roll down the cobble stone road, and enjoying the smells of a cooking meal on a fire stove.

I have learned the beauty of silence, and discovered it makes the words we finally do speak all the more powerful.

 

Hailey Olcott

 
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Silence

Hailey Olcott,SUMMER: Guatemala - Group A

Description

Before this trip, I was used to the hustle and bustle of daily American life. The constant need to entertain myself, be busy, and talk (particularly about myself). The past 20 days in Guatemala have taught me the value of silence. I have learned more about myself and the world in moments of silence here, […]

Posted On

07/18/17

Author

Hailey Olcott

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