Friday we went to lake Atitlan, which was a 2.5 hour drive from where we were staying. This meant that we had to get up very early. We had a delicious breakfast of eggs, and of course tortillas. We left the house around 7:30am and headed up through the winding mountains. Along the drive we saw some very interesting things, like a cow strapped to the back of a pick up truck, and farm animals grazing along the side of the road with no fence. Since the drive was so long, windy, and bumpy a lot of people got car sick. Once we finally got to the lake it was beautiful. Everyone broke into groups and had different choices of activities to do. Most people started the morning by shopping at the huge market, some people are better at bargaining than others (Nicole and Matt were probably the best). Lunch was on your own so most people picked a nice little place to relax. Seven of us decided to skip lunch and zip line instead. Zip lining was so amazing! We took a tuc tuc up to the zip lining area. A tuk tuk is a mini taxi that can fit a max of three people, it is kind of scary, but something everyone should experience at least once. The zip line had eight lines that ranged from around 40 feet per second to 60 feet per second. Another option was to go to the nature reserve by the zip lines. The nature reserve has monkeys, raccoons, butterflies, and waterfalls. Rachel said that it was very cool. A third option was to take a boat to the different islands around the lake. The islands were all filled with indigenous people so it is a very big culture shock. Hannah said that she really enjoyed it. The final option was to continue shopping, which people with a lot of quetzals left over did. We met up again at 3:30 to head to Antigua for dinner. The 2.5 hour bus ride was again rough, especially with the added fog, but we made it back safely. At Antigua we had dinner at a place that serves As green as it gets coffee. It was a great dinner and they even had a live band. It was someone from the other group’s birthday (that is also staying at As green) so we celebrated with cake, dancing, and the live band playing happy birthday. After dinner we all piled into one van chicken bus style and had a dance party to the Black Eyed Peas song “Time of my life” it was a fantastic way to end the last night in Guatemala. Once we arrived at home we did reflection and then all packed up for the long day of travel.
We left for the airport at about 1030 am today, and finally we are back in Wisconsin at midnight and no one is looking forward to the snow, but we are all excited for a nice shower and our own bed. This trip has been a wonderful experience for everyone. Keep watching the blog, because between getting reconnected we will be adding more pictures and sharing more little things. Thanks for all the support this whole time, it has been wonderful!
Love from ASB Guatemala!
Rachel here! We had our most intense day yet today! We worked at the school construction site today from 9a-4p.
Breakfast this morning was especially delicious! We had a crepe like pancakes, and a fruit medley. The fruit was a combination of bananas, papaya, oranges, and watermelon. It was so yummy! I don’t think I’ve ever had fresh papaya, so it was a real treat!
The school began construction in 2010. Because the co-op, AGAIG, is funding the project, they aren’t able to afford everything all at once. They also are making sure to buy very high quality materials, which are more expensive.
When we arrived at the site after a little hike we saw what was already completed. A few walls were up and the retaining wall was partially built. We started out by being divided into small groups. There was a group digging trenches, building the cinderblock wall, building steel support, and other jobs.
It was pretty warm, and the work was pretty strenuous. The people digging trenches definitely got the most dirty from the dust. We worked through the morning only stopping for a few water breaks and sun screen reapplication.
Lunch was a great break from working and we were served bananas with peanut butter and honey on tortillas and lemonade. It was one of the lightest meals we have had,but it was a great change from chicken and rice.
We worked hard through the early afternoon, welcoming the encroaching clouds and thunder. It started to rain finally right around 3pm when we had just begun our concrete passing chain. By the end, it was pouring and we were absolutely covered in dirt and cement. It was a great feeling accomplishing so much. We got several more feet tall and wide on then wall, and several areas of the trenches dug out.
From there it was a rainy and dirt covered walk home. And then a rush to shower everyone before we had to get to dinner with another farmer. I don’t think I’ve ever been so dirty in my life! I definitely scrubbed a few layers of dirt off! The only bad part of the day was when I discovered that I really sunburned my left ear!
We all showered in time for dinner at Gabriel’s. We were served a fried chicken, a new thing for us, and rice. We also had the hibiscus juice again, very yummy! At the end of the meal we had coffee, a great pick up after a long day of work.
When we left, Matt and Mike headed off to a Guatemalan barber shop for a shave. Many of the girls, including me, went on a quest to find a cheesecake place one of our tour guides had told us about. We were successful! I shared a piece of banana and chocolate cake with Sarah. Haley and Nicole also had that same type cake. Caitlyn had cheesecake and both Hannah and Jamie had a chocolate cake. It was ridiculously delicious and it our sweet spots perfectly. It was also nice to explore the city a little more, and we were really familiar with the area we went to.
We are finishing the night off by playing games. In fact, I was just killed off in Mafia.
Tomorrow will be an early rise, as we need to be off at 7:30a for our 2.5 hour bus ride to Lake Atitlan. This is our last real day in Guatemala, and our first and last, free day. There is a nature reserve, the lake, ziplining and shopping. I am very excited and I have no idea what to choose to do!!!
This trip has been so amazing and it’s going to be so hard going back to Oshkosh.