Wednesday, December 12, 2012

San Marcos Retreat!

We just returned from our 2nd retreat, and this time we went to the tranquil little town of San Marcos right on the beautiful Lake Atitlan! It had such a calm and relaxing effect on me & I loved every minute of it. We arrived Tuesday noon, just in time for lunch. After getting settled into our hotel  Bosque Encantado (Enchanted Forest, which it really was), we had lunch followed by development and program discussions. From the looks of it, the next quarter will have a lot of good things in store. There are many new programs we are discussing and I can't wait to return in January to start working on them! Some of these new initiatives include sexual and reproductive classes, an overall health class (nutrition, self-esteem, hygiene), new partnerships with women's cooperatives, a new Teacher's English program, etc. There are a lot new things to be excited about this next quarter and I know our team is very enthusiastic about them :)

Interesting wheel of all of the Mayan nahuals, at our hotel
At nighttime, we got to experience being in a Tamascal! Tamascal is basically a sauna, heated by firewood outside. There is water in the room and people sometimes bathe themselves with it. I have heard that tamascals are very common around here for people to bath in. After hearing about it so much, it was really interesting to actually partake in this cultural experience.

Yes, the lake is really this beautiful :)
The next day, we worked on group-dynamic activities, which got us thinking about how more efficiently we can work as a team. Afterwards, we took in the sights of the lake from a park and some of us braver ones actually got in the freezing water! Which, sadly, I have to say I could not make myself once I felt how cold it was.

All in all, it was a great time and a perfect balance of work and relaxation. Now, off to the States to recharge my batteries during these next 3 weeks and come back to tackle these new programs!

Nicole, Me, Jess, Sarah at the park

Happy early Holidays from MPI-G!


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