Sunday, June 22, 2008

The mural!


Jessica and Sarah

One of the most important aspects of the traditional Mayan way of life here is the clothing. The women we see daily are dressed in the most beautiful skirts and blouses we've ever seen! Each village has a textile pattern that is specific to the people who live there and the women do all of their own weaving. It seems as if the layers of skirts would be too hot or heavy, but they are actually quite useful and do not hinder the abilities of the women. We have gone to numerous markets and seen countless examples of handbags, skirts, jackets, quilts, scarves, table cloths and runners, shoes, etc. that are spectacularly woven and sold at prices much lower than those found in the states. We have even been able to learn how actual back-strap weaving is done and have had the opportunity to try for ourselves. It is funny how much we love and admire the work of the women of San Juan as well as the textiles they have worn and sold us. It will be very different returning home and not seeing the beautiful skirts and shawls that are everywhere here!

Being at the mural site

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008
One of the best things about being in Guatemala is all of the kids that show up to help with the mural. Every time I´m up there, there are kids that I have never seen before and kids that have come everyday so far. We always have to make sure that we a lot of paper so that the kids can draw pictures. Every time we are there they all either want to help us paint on the mural or they want to draw pictures of us.

Domingo is a student that is always there and is always doing something to help us with the mural, where ever we go I always look over and he is always right there following us to where ever we arw going (somw of us call him the Guatemalan version of Daniel).

Elana is another kid that is there every day and she is best friends now with Mariza and I. She taught us a game that is in Spanish and it is like London Bridges and tug-of-war combined. It is really fun but every time we play it it seems like someone gets hurt.

Not only have they taught us some of their games but we have taught them ours as well. Sara (or Sarita as everyone calls her) had some "Uno" cards in Clifford (her backpack) so we taught the kid how to play when we ran out of paper. We also taught them "Down By the Banks" and a lot of them learned all the words.

It is really fun trying to talk to everyone and to try to understand them as well. The girls and the boys actions with each other are a lot different than how we act with each other back in Bloomington. You don´t see the girl with the boys or the boys with the girls it´s more like they stick with their own gender. I think that the kids are going to be the thing that I miss most when we go home.


By Elliott and Spencer


The first market we went to was Santiago. After Breakfast we went one town over to get on a boat to get there. The boat ride took about half an hour and other than 4 Mayans, we had the boat to ourselves. When we got there we picked a chaperon to walk around with and gathered with them. When we got off the dock, there were a million kids waiting to sell us beaded trinkets. They were really persistent and a little annoying. There were also women walking around with blankets trying to sell them to us. After we got through all that we got to the actual market. The market was a long street lined with vendors and a few small side streets. On our first way through the market we got look through a weaving factory in witch they were using foot looms and the weavers were all men. They were weaving the wrapping skirts that the women were there. After the factory we started heading towards the Peace Park. This was a long walk but it was well worth it. When we got there Goyo (our guide from Fundation Solar) told us about the history. Then we went back into town by way of pickup bed. This time through town we were allowed to buy stuff. We with our chaperone's to each booth looking and bargaining. Santiago was more of a touristy market because we didn't see very many Mayan shoppers.


The second market we went to was more of a real Mayan market. They way we got to this market was by boat and Chicken Bus. The boat ride was the same but riding the Chicken Bus was crazy. There were so many people stuffed on an old school bus with a crazy driver whipping us around these tight mountain turns. When we go to the market, it was hustling and bustling the whole time everywhere. There were so many vendors and people that it was really easy to get lost. No one did though fortunately! There was a lot of food and not very much stuff. There were so many smells that some times you had to hold your nose. The prices at this market were very good because it was the real deal and Mayans cant afford expensive stuff very often. There were almost no tourists at this market except for us.


The day we went to Pana, was the same day we went to Solola. Pana was the town we docked in before riding the Chicken Bus to Solola. Pana was not as fun of a market because it was touristy and there weren't very many street vendors. There were a lot of restaurants and little cafes to eat in. The vendors were not as into bargaining with us as at the other markets. The prices at this market were really high and hard to get lower. At this market there were more stores and less street vendors. We saw no Mayan shoppers at this market and saw the most white gringos of the whole trip.


By Sarah and Jamil

On Monday the 16th we went to the Q´omaneel, the midwife center in San Juan. We went there to get a sense of what you do if you get sick, or having a baby. There's only one hospital in the whole province. The hospital is very expensive and inconvenient for some, so they have to rely on the midwives. The midwives in San Juan are the most organized and the most popular in all the area. The midwives have their own garden, where they grow all the herbs for making medicines and teas. The first time we went there they weren't expecting us. On the whim they led us around the garden explaining and showing what herbs were used for what. the smells were delicious it reminded us of tea. Then we came back later and one of the elder midwives was there she explained how they helped women give birth to children. She told us that midwifing was something you were born into they could tell from birth that you were a midwife, she told us that a women came to her in a dream and explain how to do certain things. She told us how it was normal for kids to get married around the age of 16 and that it was a problem because they would have kids and the men would leave and the woman would be left behind. She was very opinionated on this point. We asked if single mothers were excepted in the Guatemalan culture and she avoided that question each time we asked. Once she was done talking we went ad looked at the things they were selling. Some of us bought some shampoo or some soap and then we left. It as an extremely informing and interesting experience.

Planting in the community garden

by Daniel

We've planted in the community garden. We planted cauliflower and cabbage it was fun. They were kind and they showed us how to plant them. There were also ants. Biting ones. They hurt. Besides that we haven't really planted very much.

And more food


We just finished eating lunch. Emily, a college student staying with Patrona, talked to us after we finished eating. We were reminded that it was important to recognize that Patrona´s is a house, not a restaurant. It was kind of shocking for me to hear, because I felt as though we were being really respectful, courteous, and gracious. I suppose we will just continue doing so, only even more!

A lot of us have grown very fond of, if not attached to, some of the junk food here. One of these foods is a cookie called Chiky. They are kind of like fudge dipped shortbread cookies. They are very delicious!! Another of our favorites is actually a drink, Mirinda. It is kind of like Orange Crush but sweeter. But by far the favorite of all is Patrona´s pineapple marmalade! It is always gulped down by the spoonful! People love it so much that they are finding as many uses as possible for it. The marmalade has been added to pan dulce, toast, tortillas, coffee, and even frijoles!! (I am not very fond of the latter, personally.) There is talk of trying to smuggle some of these items back home...


By Spencer and Jamil

The foods here in Guatemala is different then ours. In our culture dinner is the main and biggest meal, but in Guatemala lunch is. Tortillas are eaten with every meal here, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They do not have a designated dessert time, and eat sweets in the day time. Some Guatemalans grow their own food and raise their own animal, but most buy food from the market. Chicken is also part of their diets if they can afford it. Since Guatemala is closer to the equator there is more biodiversity, which means lots of exotic fruits. We`re also near a lake so there are lots of fish caught and eaten. Bread is also a big part of their diet. Patrona has done a great job making us three meals a day, and all the students have liked the food so far.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Meeting the Pen-Pals

Elliott and Spencer

We met pen-pals after breakfast at the school on June 12. We first went to the school and met the principal in his office to ask questions and figure out our pen-pals names. A lot of people didn´t know there pen-pals names but somehow we figured it out.

After that we went to some classrooms to look around and find our pen-pals. We finally got to the classroom where they were all waiting for us. When we got in to the classroom, they all started singing, "Good morning, Good morning, How are you, ...". Then we pointed out our pen-pals and went outside to talk to them.

It was a little bit akward because we really couldn´t ask questions and it was hard at first to break the language barrier. Then we started walking around to the houses. At the first house, Juan Carlos, Elliott´s pen-pal, we were all suprised at the living conditions of the family. Before we left Juan Carlos´s mom gave Elliott a beautiful bag that she made. It made Eric and Gracia cry. Then we went on going to each pen-pals house. Some of the others gave gifts but most didn´t.

It was so amazing to get the inside look at how people live here. They are in such poverty yet they still are able to be so nice and so generous to people they barely know. It was also really awesome to get to know the pen-pals a little bit even though most of us couldn´t understand them. We had a lot of fun running around in the street tickling each other and chasing each other around. Towards the end we split up into two groups for the final houses.

Mural update

Rose and Arielle
When you come across our mural, you see multiple activities going on at the same time. There are kids drawing pictures on paper, people painting on the wall, and kids playing games. It is very exciting if you are a newcomer to our island of productive chaos.

Sometimes it can get very intense when you are painting and someone has to paint right above or below you (or both). Or when two people have to use the ladder at the same time to reach the place they have to paint.

The Antonios are Guatemalan artists that are helping us paint the mural. They have the same first names have started to paint the landscapes in the middle of the mural. Arielle has finished two of her three triangles and I (Rose) have finished two and three quarters of my four.

Hordes of little kids come everyday to help us paint and make drawings of their own to help us fundraise to bring back some kids to Bloomington in the years to come. Usually at least one person is playing games with them, such as: Uno, Down by the Banks, and other fun games.
Popsicles, sodas, and coffee are essentials for our survival in the heat. Choco Bananas and sunblock are also necessities (Choco Bananas are frozen bananas dipped in melted chocolate. Yum!).

The mural is quickly coming along and we should be finished in due time. We are really excited about it and so are many other people. We will be glad to give you more mural updates. Adios!

Editor´s Note: The mural is based on a traditional Indiana quilt pattern, the Hoosier Star. The pattern is filled with triangular sections of textiles from around the world. The entie quilt pattern is surrounded by Tz´utujil Mayan textile pattern.


Colin and Jessica
Throughout our experiences in San Juan, there have invariably been things that some people liked and some people didn´t. Patrona´s is the one exception. Everyone has enjoyed her fantastic cooking, welcomingattitude, constant smile, and her friendly and maternal demeanor.

As an introduction, Patrona is the amazing woman at whose home we eat. In reality, she is so much more than a mere cook. She has not only provided us with her many jams, dishes, and various drinks – she has repeatedly told us that when we are here we are family. She makes teawhen we are sick, remembers our dietary needs, and even celebrates thepassing of our birthdays with special treats and gifts.

Our favorite foods include various jams, sweet bread, pasta, eggs, fried chicken, dark coffee, and her incredible pancakes.

When we travel to Patrona´s, we must first pass a small school yard.Once we have successfully navigated the many marble games strewnacross the side walk, we arrive to the sound of crowing roosters, thesight of friendly faces, and the smell of baking tortillas. We pass through the family´s yard, greeting her three daughters and two sons –including Billy, the adorable three year old.

Proceeding into the eating area, a hut-like structure with a breathtaking view of Lake Atitlan, we sit and play Maui (our new favorite card game) or talk for a few minutes. Patrona and herdaughters then bring plates for each person (with special meals forthe two vegetarians), tea, coffee, jelly, tortillas, and variousassortments of sweet bread. In addition to her fabulous food, Patrona has also taught us muchduring our stay. On the 15th, she taught us how to do traditional backstrap weaving, allowing each of us to try the centuries old Mayan art (and way of making cloth for weainng and working). She also taught us how to make tortillas, a staple of the local diet.

We have grown to love our time spent at Patrona´s and it is one of the things we will miss the most when we leave. We have all gotten to know her and her family well and have become attached to both the family and fabulous jams.
Viviana and Juan, my two adorable pen pals. When I first met them we were all very shy and I felt a bit uncomfortable. But as time went on, we were more confident with each other and we could have a conversation (very minimal because of my lack of knowing Spanish). I was so excited when I met them and gave them my presents (two REALLY COOL pens, in my opinion). I was so happy when Viviana´s parents asked for my address and phone number so we could communicate and still be pen pals! I can´t wait to see them in Bloomington so they can learn about our culture! See you later!


Daniel Spencer

In san juan one of the ways people get around is a thing called a tuk tuk, which are little red three wheeled vehicles that are open on the sides with lots of stickers on the back and wind sheilds. They dont look like they could go very fast but they can go up to about 40mh.

Another one of the modes of trasportation is a chicken bus which are relly just old converted school buses crowded with lots of people sometimes the drivers are reckless. Usually colorful, they are good cheap way to get places.

The boats that took us to Panajachel and Santiago were not very big. They were all white with a blue stripe running down the side. One of the boats had a second floor it was fun to watch the mountains go by and feeling the wind rush past you face.

Another one of the ways of transportation is trucks with a open end at the back people just stand. They go many places and are very useful they have a metal cage on top so people dont fall out.

we usually walk places its much diffrent there are no side walks so you haveto walk on the street and avoid getting hit.


Yesterday (June 15,2008) we planted plants in the Fundacion Solar garden. We planted cabbage, brocoli, and coliflower. The garden was a type of raised bed garden where the beds are in a specifc shape. This particular garden was in the shape of a butterfly. When we got there the holes for the plants were already dug. We had to mix fertilizer with the dirt in the holes, put in a plant, and cover the roots of the plant with dirt. We walked by the lake on the way back.


Hillary and Colin

On our trip from Guatemala City to San Juan, we got our first glimpses of the beautiful mountains that grace the area surrounding Lake Atitlan. Our ride in the cramped white truck took us through a pass where we delighted in our perilous mountain journey (for parents, we were actually in no danger), and we have loved the mountains since. Our favorite mountain is the Indian´s Nose, which is in the shape of a face (from the side and lying down).

When we first rounded the hairpin turn that gave us our first view of Lake Atitlan, we were blown away. Even now we struggle to describe the spectacular sight we wake up to each morning. From our hotel, Patrona´s, and almost anywhere in town we can see the picturesque view of the perfect clear lake surrounded by the cloud-topped mountains.

We can´t wait for our mountain climb because the plants on the way and the views from above will be amazing. We are especially excited to be hiking to the tip of the nose and being surrounded by clouds.

Even with the rain and cloudiness that has been following us, the lake and mountains are as magnificent as ever! The weather actually has not been bad… In the morning the temperature is perfect, but in the middle of the day it is incredibly hot. The first few afternoons we were here there were torrential downpours, so we thought that was going to be a regular occurrence. Luckily, that has not been the case and we have had nice weather for working on our mural, even in the afternoon.

Visit to Santiago

Sarah and Jamil

Wednesday, we went to Santiago by boat. We walked through the market to get to the Peace Park, and got a sense of what was there. It was a very touristy market, and also was our first market. On our way there we saw men in weaving factories weaving traditional clothing. They were kind enough to let us in, and see what they were working on. On our walk we turned a corner and saw a scenic view of the lake and the mountains. It was gorgeous and unforgetable. It was about a twenty minutes to get to the Peace Park in Santiago.

When we finally got there we were pretty worn out. Goyo (Our trip organizer from foundation Solar) told us about the history of peace park. During the war, Peace Park was a site of a massacre. The government was capturing Mayan family members and farmers. Villagers gathered in front of a millitary outpost in a peaceful protest. The military there massacred the protesters without a second thought. The military also killed villagers in the village behind where the protesters were.

Two people from San Juan were captured by the military, one of whom is our hotel owner Louis. You can still see the scars on his wrists from where he was bound. Goyo was a little hesitant to explain that our government helped fund this genocide.

It´s horrible to think about it at all. None of us could believe that our government, the land of the free, would support this at all but they did and it makes it that much harder to think about. This was not the only place in Guatemala that these things happened. It made us all very sad to think about the horrible atrocities that happened here.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Photos posted!!

Working under what can only be said the most primitive of Internet connections*, Larry has valiantly posted some photos. Click the link Guatemala Photo Albums under Arte Links, on the right side of the blog.

You can also check out what we do from day to day by checking the itinerary in the column below the photo links.

Having a great time. We will all certainly come home changed and happy. Hope that comes through in the blog.

*This isn't REALLY true. The Internet cafes are pretty good, just slower than we would want to posting photos. This is reflected in the small number of photos actually online.

Update Wednesday 06-12

June 12, 2008

by: Colin, Jessica and Hillary

This morning we took our first adventure outside of San Juan. We loaded up the backs of two pickup trucks and headed to San Pedro, the next town over. From there we took una launcha (a boat) to Santiago, across the lake. The minute we stepped off the boat we were approached by several aggressive salesmen/women/children. Goyo, our guide from Fundacion Solar, led our group through the streets of Santiago and past tons of venders and art galleries. We also saw the factories where the traditional Santiagan skirts are woven, with textile patterns unique to the town. Then we walked for about twenty minutes, passing by the beautiful views of the lake, to get to el Parque de Paz (the Park of Peace).
Upon arrival, Goyo explained to us that el Parque de Paz was created to commemorate the horrendous violence that was perpetrated against the native Mayans during the civil war. With Jane and Gracia translating, he told us the stories of the victims, including the owner of our hotel, who had suffered. After lunch at our first Guatemalan restaurant, we split into small groups of one chaperone and two students to explore the city's market. We enjoyed bargaining, negotiating prices, playing Uno with some of the Guatemalan children, and purchasing treasures that will remind us forever of this place and culture. Boarding the boat for our return, many of us discovered a ladder to the top deck and decided to enjoy the ride home and the view from above. When we got back to San Pedro, we had one truck waiting to take us to San Juan, and we all piled in together.
However, we had too many people for one truck, and they called another truck to take part of the group. Unfortunately, soon after starting up the hill through San Pedro, the second truck ran out of gas and proceeded to creep backwards down the entire hill, never coming to a complete stop. When we got to a small auto store that sold gas, the driver only bought a half gallon, but we managed to return to San Juan safely.
The rest of the day was spent begining the mural, eating, and discusing the events of the day.
(Then we all came home and had an argument about where commas should be placed within sentences.)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

June 10, 2008 Update - Tuesday´s adventure

June 10, 2008

by: Rose

Today we met with the Guatemalan muralists to get lessons on the traditional Guatemalan style. There are 2 muralists. Both of them are named Antonio. Half of us went with Antonio Coché and half of us went with Antonio Vasquez. I was with Vasquez. We copied paintings that were in the art gallery (as a way for Antonio to learn the art styles of the students).

At about 12:30 we went to the dock by the lake to see the lake. We walked around part of the lake to try to find the beach. Then we went to Patrona's for lunch. Patrona showed us how to make belts (using a hand weaving technique rather than a loom). Then we went to the hotel, where we are right now. Some of us are playing Maui (a new card game we learned that has become all the rage in our group) and some of us are taking showers.

Patrona's pineapple marmalade rocks!

by: Spencer, Jamil, Daniel

Today is the second full day we've been in San Juan, Guatemala. We met with artists and we looked at our mural spot. Some muralists gave us some art lessons. We are all really excited about painting the mural and we hope to get it done before we leave San Juan.

After that we had a nice lunch at Patrona's. She served us chicken, tortillas, guacamole, vegetables, and rice. For desert we had watermelon and pineapple.

Blog Update First Group to Arrive - June 9, 2008

June 9, 2008

by: Colin, Hillary and Jessica

As most of you probably know, our journey began with chaos and confusion. Because of severe flooding in Bloomington, some of our group members - including the majority of the Spanish speaking ones - were not able to make it to the airport.

After Daniel Grundman's persistence and a great deal of scurrying about, we boarded the plane. Feeling excited and nervous, we departed from our tightly controlled world. Landing in Dallas/Ft. Worth, we managed to locate the nearest TGI Fridays, a comforting reminder of home as well as our last taste of American food for a while to come.

After our three hour Texas excursion, we began (with some turbulence) our Guatemalan adventure. The plane ride was uneventful, until we were alerted by the flight attendant that the pilot wished to inform us of some upcoming turbulence. This prediction proved largely apt and we soon found ourselves glad of our seat belts. Finally touching down in Guatemala City, we were dismayed that the airport was experiencing a blackout. We spent a fair amount of time waiting in the less than comfortable seats for the arrival of a bus.

When we finally departed from American Airlines flight 2155, we found ourselves attempting to navigate our way through customs. Exiting the sliding glass doors into a sea of Guatemalans, we searched for Hilda and Oswaldo, the unfamiliar but welcoming faces who were to escort us to our housing for the night. We spent the cab ride pointing out the various familiar logos and slogans on the billboards scattered around the city.

We spent the rest of our night admiring the indoor green house, strawberry juice, and pan dulce (sweet bread). After thanking our hosts and dividing up the sleeping quarters, we fell asleep grateful for a place to lay our tired heads. Abruptly awakened by the sound of a rooster crowing much earlier in the morning than we appreciated, we spent the morning watching Friends with Spanish subtitles and moved by the sight of the goat herder parading down the street.

After a breakfast of pan dulce, bananas, fresh pineapple, and more of the sweet strawberry juice, we left in a slightly cramped white van for San Juan La Laguna. We spent the beginning of the ride taking pictures of the Spanish signs and various other landmarks.

After spending a fair amount of time on this, with a few non-blurry pictures to show for it, our landscape faded into a rolling countryside. Needing some form of entertainment to occupy ourselves on the long mountain road, we began to sing. Our exercise in spontaneity began with Disney classics, slowly meandering towards Beatles hits, and ending with a medley of various musical compositions.

Our first minutes in San Juan were spent searching for the hotel. We inquired about the location of the new hotel, but none of the residents knew what we were talking about. We pulled up alongside a group of kids playing soccer and a man waved and got into the van with us. He knew where we were headed and turned out to be the owner of the hotel.

By the time we arrived at the hotel, it was pouring rain, which made us unload the bus rather quickly. After getting settled in our rooms, we went up the STEEP hill to meet Patrona, the woman who is cooking for us on the trip. We ate chicken, rice, vegetables, and handmade corn tortillas (a common staple of our Guatemalan diet) for linner/dunch. We returned to our hotel to have a meeting, (write in our) journal(s), and go to bed.

Reunited! - Monday, June 9, 2008

Amy F.
Monday June 9th:
This morning we got up and went to Patrona’s for breakfast then we walked around and went to the bank where we exchanged our money for quetzals. After we were done with that we went to meet the students at the school. Their music class or band was playing (kind of like a concert) and when they finished their songs they lined up and we walked as they played a drum roll. The teachers were introduced and then we were introduced to the whole school, everyone clapped and cheered for us. The students were dismissed to their classes and we were given a tour of the school. We walked around from room to room and meet the students, as soon as we walked into a room the class started singing to us. After we meet a couple of classes we decided that we should sing some songs that we knew to them, we went back and forth singing to each other until we left. After we left the school we went to meet the people that we would be doing the mural with. The last thing we did that day was go to the hotel and wait for the rest of the group to come, when they finally got there we were all so excited and couldn’t wait to tell our stories to each other. Before we went to bed all the kids and Sara I. had a meeting about what we should do for the mural, it was a very exciting and productive day.

Days of flood: The group that got through!, June 7 & 8, 2008

Amy F.
Saturday June 7th:
I woke up early in the morning just wanting to get to the airport and be in Guatemala. It had been storming for almost 4 days and it had been raining almost non-stop. Because of the rain there had been flooding and a lot of the highways had been closed. We started to go to highway 65 then we heard that it was going to close soon, so we turned around and started to go home to see if we could just wait it out. We were almost home when Sara I. called us and told us to turn back around because it wasn’t closed after all, so we were on our way again but there was a hold up because there was a tree down blocking the road. We took a detour through the Brown county state park. When we finally got to the Indy airport only half of our group was stuck and couldn’t get to the airport because he floods. We had to leave without our to main leaders. The rain had followed us all the way to Guatemala and the power was out in the airport. We found Aida in the whole mess of people at the airport and she took us back to her home. We had dinner when we got there them we got into our rooms and went to sleep.

Sunday June 8th: We got up that morning and got ready to go then we were waiting for breakfast we turned on the T.V. that was in our room and we all watched Friends with Spanish subtitles. Then we all ate breakfast and then we explored their home while we waited for the bus that would take us to San Juan. The bus ride was really long especially for me. It was a 3 to 4 hour ride and I had to go pee half an hour into the ride. The whole bus ride Colin was trying take a picture of a gas station sign and he could never take the picture in time. When we got closer to San Juan we could see the lake and then the turns became sharper and scarier, and the whole time we were just sing songs and trying to remember the words to the songs that we were trying to sing. As soon as we got to the hotel I immediately went to the bathroom to take care of my business. We picked our rooms then we went to Patrona’s for a late lunch/early dinner. To end our evening we had a short meeting then went to bed.

Days of flood: The stranded group - June 7 & 8, 2008

Jamil –
Yesterday, the heavy rain flooded all the highways going to the Indianapolis airport. Half of the group had gotten to the airport, but the other half were not able to get past the flooded highways. It was an unfortunate experience because I thought that half the group weren’t going to Guatemala, including the to trip leaders. Fortunately, it was worked out so that the rest of the group could catch a flight the next day leaving from Louisville. The rest of the group is in Guatemala, and hopefully we’ll join them soon.

Arielle –
Yesterday, all the rain from the previous days became one big flash flood! Seeing all the dirty mud, churning and spinning while we were trying to find a possible route to get to the airport, I felt that all the hard work we had done was practically for nothing. And then I heard that while half the group was driving around Indiana, the other half had already gotten on the plane to Dallas. Thankfully after many hours of deliberation with American Airlines at a Columbus, IN, Subway restaurant, we came to a compromise: We were going to drive to Louisville the next day and take the flight to Dallas from there. So here I am, happily writing on a laptop about to go into security (at the Louisville airport)!

June 8th and 9th, 2008
Yesterday (June 7, 2008) I got up in the morning thinking that I was going to go get on a plane and fly with everyone else to Guatemala. I was about to get in the van and start driving when we found out that highway 37 was closed. Ok no big deal there are soooooo many ways to get to Indy every things going to be fine. Well that didn’t really work, right when we started to try a new road it would get closed and we would have to start all over again. We went from plan A to plan B to plan W, until finally we ran out of options and there were no more plans to get to Indy. We all ended up meeting at a Subway in Columbus. Dena spent an hour and a half on the phone with the airlines trying to rearrange our tickets so we could leave out of Louisville. The next morning or today we met at Cracker Barrel at 8:30 to make our trip down to Louisville in time to catch our flight at 2:00. We spent the time waiting in the airport playing Mauwii. In Dallas we learned how to play Sara’s rules Uno (aka. Sruno). Now I’m sitting in our hotel it’s about 10:20 here and we are having a BLAST! Can’t wait to share our stories with you. Adios Amigos!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Trip Preperation - The Last Days

We have raised well past our goal and are now preparing for the trip which is in four days! Every one is exited but a little worried I wonder how much every one will remember twenty years from now this is the first of the all day meeting tomorrow we have another all day meeting tomorrow we will be bringing everything that we have for the trip packed

Days of Training - five days before departure

Right now we are preparing to go and meeting for the last time we’re all really excited about this trip we think it’ll be a wonderful experience and we will be able to learn a lot from it we have gotten our pen pal letters back and we are working on packing the right stuff to be prepared. We are also learning how to dress properly and accept what they have to feed us.  We are hoping to have a good time and afterwards bring them (Mayan students) back so they can see what the United States of America is like.