Days 1 and 2
The past two days have been a hot mess of traveling; two planes, two buses, an open air truck ride, and some walking. We started off the day yesterday at 6 am Massachusetts time and ended the day at 9:30pm, Guatemala time. Guatemala is 2 hours behind Hingham, so we spent over seventeen hours traveling!! We got to spend the night in a very nice hotel called the Barcelo.
After a very nice breakfast buffet, we were on our way by 9. Packed in close quarters with our luggage balanced on the roof of the vans, we began the 3 hour trek to our final destination: Panajachel. On the way we made several stops, starting with some Mayan ruins, Iximiche, in a town called Tecpan. We enjoyed a guided tour of the ruins and learned a lot about the area and the culture, some of us also made our first official purchases in Guatemala here. Our tour guide, Balam, told us about how using the Mayan calendar we could determine what our Cholq’ij (Tzolkin) name was based on our exact birth date. A woman at the entrance of the site was selling charms which equated to our Mayan names, which we could look up in a special book they had. We gave her a lot of business!
After the tour, we headed to lunch, where we enjoyed a spread which included various meats, guacamole, rice, handmade tortillas, and beans. Happy and full, we continued on to Panajachel. Upon arriving we settled into our hotel and then headed down to a welcome dinner hosted by Mayan Families. To get to dinner we rode in trucks, jam packed like sardines in the bed, an exciting experience which offered an awesome perspective of the town we will get to know more over the course of the coming week.
Dinner was fantastic and we finally got to meet the staff of Mayan Families, the program we will be working with. Traditional Latin American dishes like tostadas, tamales, and pulique, a dish particular to Guatemala, were served. While still full from lunch, we persevered, finishing nearly all of the spread. During dinner we also became further acquainted with the staff and learned more about the program.
We finished the day by meeting as a group and reflecting on our whirlwind experience. After some singing, reflecting, and praying, we headed back to our hotel. Walking home was an experience in itself, the hustle and bustle of Panajchel at night chaotic yet thrilling. Tomorrow after a brief orientation, we will begin our first official day of service– an awesome time awaits!!
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See photos of Day 1 and 2 HERECategories: Guatemala 2017