Intensive Trip Update III: The final days

Claire, Reagan, and Laura
Greetings Intensive Families and GV Supporters,
It’s raining like crazy and we are just about to sit down to dinner together at the GV office after a lovely day at the ruins of Mixco Viejo (it wasn’t raining there). I can’t believe the trip is almost over. Since I last wrote we’ve planted 475 trees, visited the Hospital for the first time, visited the GV coffee finca…and learned all about the coffee growing, picking, and roasting process, had some good group reflections and gotten to know the Chapines and our families better. But don’t take my word for it, here’s what the kids have had to say:
“Today marks more of less the 1/2 way point for our time here in Guatemala. A week ago we were waiting in Seatac to get on the plane to Houston, and a week from now we’ll be on a plane home to Seattle and I’ll be 17 years old, yeah! At any rate, today was the last day of reforestation. I dressed in my fancy new “supposedly-made-by-Puma” Guatemala football jacket which I took off because I was too hot, that and a clean pair of socks. On the way to the GV office I tried to pick up as much trash as I could since there always seems to be a lot of litter and few trash cans in the street…”
“Upon arriving to the worksite, Billy introduced us to the men who’d guide us in reforestation. Don Reginaldo, who showed me the proper way to hold a machete, Don Pedro, and Don Antonio. Next we took a long and beautiful walk up, through, and over a valley into the mountains. I love all the various plantlife there is here. It’s amazing. Next we dug holes for trees. I got help from a chapin who’d worked in ‘refo’ before.”
“Today we got picked up at the normal time. On the walk to the GV office, my roomate Bjorn decided to pick up trash along the way. I thought this was a great idea and very thoughtful of him. We didn’t stay long at the GV office, because we had to got to the last day of reforestation. As a group we planted over 450 trees. These trees will help prevent mudslides and produce oxygen for years to come. Also because it was the last day at reforestation, Clair, Bjorn, and Maddie gave speeches to Don Pedro, Reginaldo, and Antonio. I was glad to see these peple step up and step our of their comfort zone. We then went back home for lunch and a nap. After that, we went to language school for our final class. After warm goodbyes, we then went to call home. I was glad to hear my mom’s voice and I’m sure other people were, too. Today I tried talking to more Guatemalans in Spanish. It felt good to step out of my comfort zone and I was happy I did.”
“Today was our first day in the hospital, and Molly was definitely right-it was nothing like one would expect. And I found it much more challenging, not physically, but mentally. It was difficult to walk through and see all the different people, especially the physically disabled kids. Maddie and I painted the nails of an ‘abuelita’ and it made me so happy when she said, ‘ahora me siento un poco mejor’ (now I feel a little better). It made me realize how the little tiny things we do to communicate with the patients can really make a difference. It really touched me that Meru’s old friends from the hospital remembered her after two years, and how excited they were to see each other. It made me realize how much our presence and care does mean to them. In the afternoon, we went on a coffee tour and Aurelio told us about this awful mudslide. But I would say the one thing that really stood out to me today was our group’s reflection. It was probably the first reflection that consisted of people truly opening up, and sharing information that might not have been easy to share.”
Take care,

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