Sadly, today was our last day working with DWC. We started the day with our regular group discussion. But this particular time, there was a solemn vibe upon us as Tony started his group goodbye. With nothing but kind words, Tony shared his appreciation and admiration for the team and the amazing journey we had all ventured on together. Then we were off to la escuela Cantonal where we were determined to finish off as much as we could. When it was time to pack up, we DWC volunteers proudly looked at the work we had accomplished at this small school: 5 complete freshly painted classrooms (plus one almost finished classroom), fixed windows and working electrical circuits. But before we could leave, Phil (one of the teachers of the school that had helped us during the two weeks) gave us a very sweet and sentimental thank you speech. On behalf of the teachers and the students of la escuela Cantonal, Phil told us they were truly grateful for the work we had done and what a pleasure it was to work with us. We left the school for the last time and headed back to Open Windows where we admired all the yellow walls we had painted that were once cold and gray and the new and improved gardens.
After lunch, we had a few minutes to play with the kids before the talent show. Just as it was time to go upstairs, the rain came POURING down. Everyone dashed up the stairs and gathered in the large classroom. All 100 or so kids, Open Windows staff and DWC crew huddled into that room with the sound of the heavy rainstorm surrounding us. The show began with a beautiful traditional Guatemalan dance performed by the teachers. Then it was the kids' turn to show us what they got. We got to enjoy 3 dances with the children all dressed in adorable costumes (from tiny rats to cowboys and cowgirls then finally to the best dressed salsa dancers you'll ever see). We added our own little flare to the show with a ground-breaking acoustic performance of the Eagles' "Hotel California" with Shawn on the guitar, Chris and Shannon on percussion and Ryan with the vocals. We also demonstrated our excellent dancing skills with the infamous Hokey Pokey. As the show was winding down, Open Windows presented us with certificates and said their official goodbyes and thank yous. It was a tearful goodbye as we saw all the faces we had come to know and love over the past two weeks, knowing it would be at least a while before we saw them again.
As we drove away from Open Windows, we all felt heavy-hearted. We were saying farewell to the small town of San Miguel Dueñas and to its incredible citizens. We were all in some way touched and changed by this place and I believe we will go home better people because of it. The past two weeks had been filled with so much laughter, life and pure joy it's hard to believe it has come to an end.
From all us DWC volunteers to the country and people of Guatemala (especially to those in San Miguel Dueñas and Antigua), thank you from the bottom of our hearts for an amazing trip and all the wonderful memories. We hope to see you soon!
Developing World Connections Volunteer Participant