Our Summer Interns are here! We're letting them run the blog for the next several weeks while they're here. Our first blog comes from Rachel, who is one of our 8-week volunteers... so you'll probably be hearing from her again :)
Thursday night, a bunch of the volunteers got to experience one of the many forms of Guatemalan transportation on the way back from an evening in Pana. We had seen Guatemalans in the backs of pickup trucks, but considered it more of a photo-op than as a realistic form of travel.
After the chicken buses stop running for the night, however, the pickups are really the only option. I’m glad, because I might not have tried it otherwise. So after dinner and shopping in Pana, everyone piled into the truck bed, held on tight and swerved up and around the mountain passes all the way back to Sololá. It was an amazing experience. The air was fresh and cool, the stars were out – it reminded me of a cruise ship excursion that tourists would be suckered into paying hundreds of dollars for – all for 5Q (less than a dollar). And it was real.
It has only been six days and Guatemala has blown me away. We’re experiencing things I didn’t even know existed a month ago and getting to know some of the most amazing people I’ve ever seen. Here, construction is done by hand, water is carried up and down mountain roads, and overcrowded chicken buses make each commute nothing short of an adventure. I’ve never seen such hardworking people, and there is never a complaint or a question of why the work must be done. They just do it, with the strength and pride they have inherited from those that came before them. The children have no problem cleaning the school bathroom, using a machete, or carrying jugs of water on their heads. And they’re some of the happiest kids I’ve ever seen - all the more reason to be here.