|The whole group in front of the soon-to-be computer lab which we painted|
|Volunteering Day 1|
|We even got to experience a traditional Mayan wedding featuring people from our own group!|
|The finished mural with the whole group|
Antigua ended up being nothing like I expected, but I loved it all the same. It was a small town, maybe 15 blocks by 15 blocks, but each block was packed with little homes, local stores, and beautiful architecture. I loved exploring it when I got the chance and going out at night with my new group of friends.
There was even a large Catholic celebration going on (and I felt like a bad Catholic for not knowing what was going on, except what all the signs and symbols meant), so we got to see huge processions of locals that had prepared all year for this event!
|The local meat butcher|
|literally just a picture of me in front of some flowers|
|The local Catholic procession, which people come from all over Guatemala to see|
The work was difficult, but we got enough time off to make it plenty manageable. We painted the inside and outside of a computer lab, painted two murals, and leveled out the playground to make it safer for the kids. I came down with the flu while I was there, so I stuck mostly to painting since my body wasn’t really able to do much. I felt awful, but it was so nice of our host family to give me their local flu medicine and tea to help me break my fever.
|PAIN y PREPA school|
|Leveling out the playground|
|The first mural in the playground|
|The computer lab mural|
The best part was definitely playing with the kids. Just like when I was little, they loved playing hopscotch, running in circles, and being picked up and spun around.
On one of our last free days, the group decided to take a hike (literally) and we went up the side of a volcano. The view was amazing, the experience was unforgettable, and we even roasted marshmallows at the top! Funny enough, it started to get dark while we were headed down and, since a lot of people take horses to the top, we had to use the flashlights on our phone to keep from falling and avoid all the horse… leftovers. Nobody wants that on the bottom of their shoe for the two hour ride back.
|Standing on volcanic rock|
|Roasting marshmallows at the top|
We also visited a coffee plantation! There’s not much to share here other than a few pictures of us frolicking in the fields of coffee. I guess this makes me think about where my coffee comes from…
We did get to take a full day off to enjoy some sun (without the hard work) on the lake. It was beautiful and relaxing and the perfect way to spend a day off. We walked around a local fishing village for a bit, but jumping in the lake was definitely my favorite part.
And of course, the food! The food was rather plain in Guatemala but our host family was generous enough to make all breakfasts and dinners for us, even most lunches too! We all ate around a large table, which made for some fun conversations. I was here during Lent, and it’s a Catholic tradition to give up something for Lent and I had chosen meat. It was pretty difficult to be a vegetarian here, but I was given a lot of vegetables!