Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Friday was the local market and Sunday was Chichicastanango (aka Chichi), which is the largest open air market in all of South America. The colors and patterns were amazing!!

The local market!

Here are us girls at the mouth of the market, with our back packs in front so as not to be pick pocketed


A trip in pics

Walking down the street after leaving Esperanza's house

Tigo is the cellphone company for Guatemala and their ads are everywhere. This is just one of the hundrends of buildings we saw covered in their logo

Here is a little sign I saw painted on the inside of a door, it says literally: window of tortillas, veggies, fruit, corn and more.

Here is an awesome view from the center of San Antonio, the small town we visited on Friday

Look at that a bilingual stop sign for those of you who are unable to figure the shapes out!

This is a chicken bus, they are old school buses given a little more splash of color and style and converted into high speed commuter and or travel buses. They drive faster than most cars and sometimes are so full that people hang out the door.

Our Chicken bus experience! We took up about 3/4 of the seats :)

Go Go Go

The past few days have been crazy, however we all arrived safe and sound into Cape around 4am this morning!

Friday-was our day off. We went to a small town just outside of Antigua to the home of Esperanza, who runs the hotel we were staying at. At their home the family put on some traditional dances, showed us how all of the fabric is made and how home made coffee is made. The experience was a favorite to all, and really helped us appreciate how much time each colorful piece take to be made.

Esperanza's mother grinding coffee beans

Esperanza's younger siblings performing a traditional dance

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Our group worked in the GuarderĂ­a all day today, playing with the little kids. During lunch time at the main building a bunch of us handed out gift bags to the volunteers and employees, which contained chocolate and a pencil. Everyone seemed very greatful for the small token of our gratitude.
We got to do our soy yo project one last time with a group of six years old's in the afternoon. It was a hit! I worked with this little boy named Carlos whose favorite color was green. He was really cute and exuberant. Half way through the project we all took a break to participate in a going away party for the movement and dance teacher, Shannon. A bunch of the kids had made cards for her and there was a lot of singing and dancing. Down here break dancing is a huge part of their culture and a bunch of the boys are, B Boys. So some of the kids showed off some of their sick moves for everyone. It was quite entertaining to watch some kinds no taller than my hips, throwing down expert moves.

A bunch of us are planning on going out on the town later

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Smiles for more than a day

I have recieved more than enough heart-filled smiles, in the last 2 days, to last me a lifetime. Yesterday doing the soy yo book with the kids was extremely rewarding. To see the smiles spread across their faces when we took their picture was amazing. The majority of the kids whose pictures we took had never had a picture taken of themselves. When we proposed the idea each child giggled to their neighbor and made excited Spanish remarks. In the afternoon I worked with a family who had come to Safe Passage for the afternoon from a refugee camp they are living in due to the recent eruption of a near by volcano. At first the young girls were very shy about having their picture taken but by the time we got around to taking the picture they were more than eager. The two young boys were so photogenic and their pictures came out looking absolutly professional. The family then decorated around their pictures on a piece of construction paper, and it shocked me at how much detail and slow precision everyone took with their details. What also struck me as different from the united states was that both boys and girls were fasinated by drawing hearts, not just the girls as I would have assumed. The finished products were quite intricate and beautiful. The fathers creations in-perticular were quite creative and visually appealing. One of the little boys played Uno with the older boys once he had finished his project and he owned every single round. He had a quite yet powerful and thoughtful ora about him and every one seemed to be drawn to him.
Today we worked wherever was needed and in the afternoon Madeline and I worked in a class room with young kids around 5-6 would be my guess. We got to sing songs and then help the kids with their reading and writing skills. I got to help this little kid with a word search and he reminded me of Oliver! Don't worry Ollie I've found someone down here just like you, your not your own breed after all :) He was dancing in this chair and singing and he made me feel very at home.  

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Eye Opening

There is no such thing as "right of way" in Guatemala! Just one of the many different things that I have observed. Along with all of the super cute stray dogs.

These past 2 days have felt like the never-ending week. You know that feeling when 1 day seems to go on forever...well yesterday was extremely long. We got on a school bus around 2am to travel down to Logan airport to catch our plane, and then arrived in Antigua, which is where we are staying, around 3pm here which would be 5pm Maine time. And to make the situation less that satisfactory, I am under the weather. Well actually I was, now I'm feeling rearing and ready to go now.

Today was the first "real" day of our trip. We didn't volunteer today, however we visited the Guatemala city dump. The dump here really embodies the difficulties and lives of a large majority of the cities population. A large portion of the cities citizens work at the dump collecting various profitable items, such as, cardboard, plastic and aluminum cans and bottles. Approximately one third of the items brought to the dump are recyclable items, and with the help of the people who work in the dump, close to two thirds of those recyclable items are actually recycled. The average income of a person who works at the dump, is around 10-20 Quetzales, which is less than $3. Many of these people live on $3 a day per household which usually consist of 10-15 people to a one room house.
While watching the many trucks arrive and dump trash, we noticed that as the trucks backed up people would put their hands on the side of the trucks, almost seeming to guide it to the correct location. Anyone want to take a guess as to why they were doing this? By putting their hand against the side of the truck they were claiming its contents. We also found out that many of the people know the route of many of the trucks and would claim certain trucks because of their routes. The trucks that pick up trash at McDonald are very popular because many people, while looking for profitable items, also look for food either for themselves or their families. 

After visiting the dump we got tours of both the main Safe Passage building as well as the Guarderia, which is the Safe Passage building for children 2months to 6years old. When we entered the Safe Passage facility through their gates, the contrast from outside the walls to inside was dramatic. The Guarderia is surrounded by a slum of Guatemala city. A slum is a vast area populated by the very poor citizens, many of whom work in the city dump. The slums appear over night, one day being a large field, the next becoming a heavily populated area filled with houses constructed out of just about anything to block the wind and rain.

All of the kids we saw and or met are super sweet and adorable, however policies state that we are unable to post pictures of these children due to privacy issues, so you guys will just have to imagine.

It has only been 2 days yet already my eyes have been opened wide to a way of life much different from those I have witnessed in the states. As one of the Safe Passage employees said, "you are not only changing lives, you are saving them."   

Friday, June 18, 2010

Before Spain...Guatemala

Antes de ir a Espana:
Before leaving for Spain Madeline and I are going down to Guatemala with a Safe Passage team.  http://www.safepassage.org/

Last night we went shopping for all of the supplies that our group will need to make Soy Yo books. In Guatemala kids hardly ever get a picture of themselves, so our team is going to make books with the child's picture on the front and inside the child will answer questions about themselves. 
The picture is just a preview to all of the stuff we are bringing down!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Welcome- Bienvenido

Hello to all...
welcome to my blog From Maine to Spain. As most of those who know me may already know, I am planning on studying abroad next year in Sevilla Spain, ( that is if I don't chicken out :) Throughout the next year I am going to use my blog to keep everyone up to date with how my adventure is going, I'll post pictures and keep it interesting so that no one gets board (please let me know if it does). A friend of mine asked me to keep a vlog which is a blog through video, for those of you who don't know. So maybe at random times I will post a video or two. I'm really excited for my upcoming trip and hope you guys enjoy my blog. Feedback and comments are much appreciated.