Time has flown by! I have felt very welcomed by everyone I’ve met so far in Guatemala. I feel so fortunate to have the opportunity to work with these amazing kids and SewHope staffers. The staff at Casa Amelia(my hotel) have taken great care of me as well.
Highlights from my first week:
Highest Free-standing Structure Activity:
This was a great activity we did with the Computer class primeria students in Purushila. Using only a specific amount of spaghetti, marshmallows, and tape,students worked in small groups to construct the tallest structure possible. I was especially impressed to see how some teams were able to regroup and start again with a new plan when necessary. It was also exciting to note that the group of three boys with the highest structure went inches beyond the winning group at Maumee Valley when we did this activity with Middle Schoolers a few years ago. What a smart and creative group of kids!
El Petencito Zoo:
What an awesome place to visit! The zoo is built right into the landscape of the forest and takes full advantage of its tropical surroundings. We saw some really interesting animals--several that I had never seen or heard of before. The best part was walking along the floating bridge with some of the kids from the Santa Ana clinic to a little island filled with roaming Cochemontes (harmless warthog-like creatures without horns, pretty friendly, and cute!) and other caged animals including crocodiles and parrots. After our visit, we all headed to Pizza Hut for lunch. I felt lucky to be able to experience these excursions with kids who were so grateful and excited to be there!
Garden Preparations in Purushila:
The Middle School classes in Purushila (ages 15-22) was given the task of clearing a large plot of land in order to create a community garden. No easy task! Students showed up early on the first morning of their vacation from school armed with machetes, hoes, andother tools. I’m sure they got a kick out of watching me attempt to help out. However, I’m sure the most amusing part for them was my reaction to the numerous baby coral snakes (very venomous, ahhh!) and other small critters thawere discovered along the way. The students worked tirelessly for hours, and I really enjoyed chatting with them during their short breaks. It is astounding to see the progress that they have made in just a few days. I can’t wait to see photos of the garden when Sister Pam returns in August.
I still have lots to look forward to before Sister Pam and I head home on July 1st. I will be visiting Tikal later this week, running a relay activity with the kids, and supporting the girls from the Santa Ana clinic as they sell their products in Flores to name a few. This is all very exciting!
Kelsy Grefe is a Middle School Spanish teacher at Maumee Valley Country Day School in Toledo, OH. Bitten by the travel bug at a young age, she loves to visit new places and experience other cultures. Guatemala is now up there at the top of her list!
Sr. Pam Buganski
Sr. Pam joined SewHope as our first American Project Coordinator in 2012