Guatemala Weekend

UPAVIMFriday morning we woke up early and prepared for our trip to UPAVIM. The ride through downtown Guatemala City and into the outskirts of town (Zone 12) was scenic, and our tightly packed bus enjoyed the trip. When we arrived at UPAVIM, we were warmly welcomed by the UPAVIM women. We were then given a tour of the facility where we saw the school, the bakery, the library, and the arts and crafts work area. We had a huge lunch (that was quite delicious!) and then we were introduced to our host families. We all slept well and early on Friday night, and each had our own stories to share of the experiences we had at the houses. Almost all of the host families have children and large families, which makes evenings enjoyable and fun.

IMG_1638We met at UPAVIM the next morning to explore the town that we were staying in, "La Esperanza". We were shown the firehouse (which is all volunteer with little pay), and the health clinic (which is only open for about 5 hours per day, and only sees people with emergencies in the morning). We then all piled into the mini bus and took a trip to the local, and quite large, market. The UPAVIM women bought vegetables for the soup they were to later show us how to make. We came back to UPAVIM, and had a cooking exchange, in which we showed the women how to make brownies, and they showed us how to make vegetable soup with chicken. We shared lunch together, and then had a cultural exchange between us and the Guatemalans. Almost all of the children in the whole town of Esperanza attended the exchange, and everyone was laughing. We had such a good day. We then retired to our beds in our host's houses, and were happy to sleep in for church the next morning.

IMG_2595Sunday morning we again met at UPAVIM, and took the mini bus down to the church for mass. We had english readings in our packets, but it was fun and interesting to listen to the service in spanish. The church took time during the service to recognice us for our work here, and we later got a tour of the church. After church, we went on a walking tour of the community around UPAVIM. We saw the extreme extent of poverty in this area, yet people were still as happy and welcoming as ever. The whole town of UPAVIM and Esperanza used to be dirt and foilage only 20 years ago, and now it is a promising town that continues to make changes to the building itself, and to the communties, always trying to present new opportunities. While we were walking around, we watched a bit of an intense soccer game, which consisted of men and boys of all ages. They were playing on hard dirt ground, with not even a bit of grass, yet they were playing hard, and seemed to love the ground just as much as grass. We were also shown where the people send their corn to become the flour-like paste for making tortillas. After the walk, we then had the rest of the day to spend with our families. 

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