What a week it has been! With active days from dawn to well past dusk, our time here in Guatemala has flown by so far.
Much of our first week has been spent learning about how our host Organization, De La Gente (meaning “of the people”), has improved the lives of many in the small community of San Miguel Escobar as well as across Guatemala.
San Miguel is a friendly town, a suburb of Antigua based in a zone of Ciudad Vieja or “the old city”. At the foot of the massive Volcan de Agua (volcano of water) it’s inhabitants have survived for generations as coffee farmers – their fields canvassing the lush green slopes of the immense volcano.
De La Gente operates with 28 coffee farmers to form a cooperative that allows them to grow higher quality coffee and receive better pay for their product. From every farmer we’ve visited with there have been success stories – their children are learning English, they’ve been able to improve their homes, or they have received low or no cost loans to purchase more farm acreage or equipment. The most noticeable result is an immense sense of pride as evidenced by the smiles on the faces of farmers who have been able to realize lasting success as a result of their hard work.
Yesterday the students joined their host families with whom they’ll live for the next two weeks, sharing meals and playing games with families that call this beautiful country home. They’ll learn about the values of the people here and hopefully learn a little more about themselves while gaining new perspective on the important things in life.
The students are also full steam ahead with their coursework, currently focused on the political development of modern Latin America. Class will take place on three mornings this week in Antigua and we’ll spend the afternoons doing service work with local community organizations while learning more about this inspiring country!
Please enjoy this captioned slide show of photos from our past week!