Tuesday, March 23, 2010

March 19-26th: Posts from the Balmoral Hall Group.


If you educate a girl, you educate a family…if you educate a boy, you educate a boy – a quote that had a huge impact on all of us today!

All of the girls concerns that the food was going to be awful turned out to be for not as we have had the most incredible meals at every place we have eaten. Even the meal prepared for us by the local women in Duenas met with the approval of all the students.

Our hotel is great and very comfortable and the couple who own it also own the restaurant next door where we eat breakfast and they also help to arrange all of our cultural tours. They hold a trivial pursuit tournament on certain nights and we have been challenged to a game.

We spent our first day in Duenas today and after a quick tour of Open Windows, we spent the next couple of hours walking through the village. Teresa, the founder of Open Windows accompanied us and as a respected member of the community, we were well received everywhere we went. We were taken to a small yard where a family of five sleeps in a room the size of a large closet and cooks in an outdoor kitchen about the same size. Three families share this small yard and kitchen.

Next we visited a “finca family”, a compound that is provided to the families of the coffee plantation workers. The size of the compound would be about half the size of the our school's gym and during the busy season, 500 people share this yard. I think this was one of the most influential moments of the day today.

The remainder of the first day was spent at Open Windows where the girls read mostly in Spanish to the children. It was interesting watching the interaction between two groups of people who couldn´t communicate but in the end read over 25 books with each other. The children loved teaching our girls some Spanish words and by the end of the day a real bond had been created.

After a very nice meal in the town center, we returned to the hotel and spent some time on the rooftop looking at the lights of Antigua. Each of group shared their favorite moment from the day and as Mr Williams and I had hoped, each of the girls understands why they are here and why what they are doing is so important.

Today was a working day with some girls rebuilding desks, some painting the new desks, some painting the outside of the building and a few preparing craft activities for the afternoon session with the children. The desks are actually not for Open Windows, but are being donated, once repaired to a government school which is badly in need of equipment and supplies. (word was out about the excellent painting and a school from another town called to see if we would come and paint their building as well…we sadly had to decline)

The afternoon was whirlwind of activities with the children that including reading time, craft time and play time. The girls did a great job of working with the local children!

I spent some time in the computer lab on Friday watching a computer lesson and realized that they had a shortage of software and lesson ideas. I spoke with the director of Open Windows and offered to help with some ICT training for the teachers and she loved the ideas. Mr Williams and I spent the better part of the afternoon updating software and downloading some free online programs that will allow the children to work collaboratively and creatively.

Just recently, Open Windows started a teen drop in program that runs a few times a week and we decided it would be great to stay and help out with this program. The older children attend school from 1 pm until 6 pm and after a quick dinner, they have the opportunity to attend the teen drop in program. This program is in place to give the children an alternative to crime or gang participation. Although the attendance tonight was not great, our girls had a wonderful time interacting with the teens who did drop in. After a few ice-breakers, a game of Pictionary was followed by some Dance Dance Revolution on the newly donated Play Station.

Lois McGill-Horn
Developing World Connections Participant

March 19-26th: Procession and Parade Day

On Sunday, we drove for about an hour and a half to get to the town at the bottom of the Volcano that we were going to climb. As soon as we stepped out of the bus, we were crowded by little boys selling us sticks to help us walk up the Volcano. In the end, everyone who had bought the sticks said it was probably the best $1.00 purchase they made on the whole trip. What looked like an easy walk at first, ended up taking about 3 hours. Our tour guide Roberto was making his first of a few trips up the Volcano that day. He was older than everyone of us and managed to stay in the lead of the pack with very little effort. When we finally made it to the top, it was boiling! Some of us ended up walking down to actually see the lava that had started flowing the day before. When we roasted marshmallows in a cooler spot, most of us had red legs from the heat. When we finished on the lava, we started the walk down to the bottom. By the end of the trip we walked into the bus dusty, tired, hot, and sunburnt.

After cleaning up, and eating a big dinner, it took us about half an hour to make it back down the busy street to the hotel. The practice round of the procession was on that night and we were asked to make one of the carpets out of flowers and grass for the outside of the hotel. We finished our design and watched from the balcony of the hotel as the parade walked over our carpet of flowers. It was amazing to see the amount of people that came out to watch the practice celebration, and to know that there would be way more watching the actual thing.After the parade, our day was finally over and we emailed and skyped our families then went to bed.

Alexandra
Developing World Connections Participant
Balmoral Hall Student

Monday, March 22, 2010

March 19th & 20th: The first days for the Balmoral Hall Students.

Today was more of a learning experience than anything else, the girls and I were very surprised with what we saw. It made us happy, yet it made us feel that we can not take what we have for granted. Everyone here is so polite and courteous.

March 19th:
Today we went to the village, San Miguel Duenas, where Open Windows Foundation is, we went for a walk around the village for about 2 and a half hours, it was really pretty, we learned alot about how people live here.
After we finished our walk we went to the Open Windows Library/School, and ate lunch. Then the children started to arrive. We started to read with them. It was difficult at first, then everyone relaxed, and the children started to teach us some Spanish. Then we came back to the hotel, and had a very good meal. Things have been going great!

March 20th:
Today we went zip lining, it was so much fun! We hiked up a huge hill, it was exciting and adventurous, yet a little bit tiring. We had the time of our life going down 8 fast zip lines. It took us about an hour and a half to finish everything, then we went to eat. After lunch we took our bus to another village, and we went for a boat ride on a beautiful lake called Lake Atitlan. We went across the lake to a small town where many people bought gifts for family and friends from the women's Cooperative . When we were finished our boat ride we wondered around the town some more, and then got back on the bus and back to the hotel it was a long day and a long ride, but most definitely worth it!

so far it´s been an awesome Experience, totally worth it.

Natasha,
Developing World Connections Participant
Balmoral Hall Student 2010

March18 - 26th, 2010: Balmoral Hall High School Students head to Guatemala

Monday, March 15, 2010

Last Day for Kamloops High School Students in Guatemala:

Today was our last day in Antigua. We woke up and went for breakfast at Fernando's as per usual. Then some of us hit the daily market, the one we went to on our first day here. It was so funny to see the newbies trying to talk and barter and work their way around the crazy Guatemalan traffic. We felt like seasoned pros at this time. After this we went to McDonald's. The service is so fast, it's like they know what you are going to order. We sat in the beautiful courtyard to eat. We have been told that people have their weddings in the McDonald's courtyard haha.. Sort of hard to believe until you see it.

We came back to the hotel and went on the roof to suntan (or for me, lay in the sun with SPF 60..). It was so nice out! Sara and Riley got TORCHED. They are so burnt. We met the rest of the Canadian group that we had met last night.. It's so fun to compare their experiences in Guatemala and in Canada. We went out for dinner at Subway. Spanish Hannah Montana was playing! First TV I have seen in ten days :). After that we walked back down to the market because we all have so many quetzals left that we needed to blow. After that we walked back to the hotel for a team meeting.

ANOTHER procession was going on. This time they all wore red robes. People would pay to carry this thousand pound statue. The music was very loud and very heavy. We all met on the roof and reflected on this past week. We talked about not forgetting about the things we saw and learnt because it is so easy to slip back into old patterns.

Torry Harris
Developing World Connections Participant

March 13th: Lake Atilan

Hola! Sorry for the long delay.. Today was Riley's 17th birthday! We went to Lake Atitlan. It was crazy! It was about a two and a half hour drive on the WINDIEST roads. We travelled through some pretty poor towns. The first thing we did once we got to "the most beautiful lake in the world" as it's dubbed, we went ziplining! It was so crazy! We got strapped up and climbed about twenty minutes up a mountain and went down eight different ziplines. It was SO much fun! The lake was so beautiful and it was huge. Most of the water is filled with parasites so you can't swim, but some parts are fine. We ate out for lunch at the Sunset Cafe. There was an Iron Man going on. Lots of runners dying in the heat! We took a boat to two different islands. One was crazy -- it was literally built on the side of mountain. All the streets were cobble stone and burned your calves as you CLIMBED up to the shops. We saw lots of women weaving scarves etc. The second island we stopped at was fun. We went into a cafe and got ice cream. All these little boys were asking Shane to buy them ice creams. So he did..all like six of them. Women and their children would hassle you like crazy because they wanted you to buy their goods. They would follow you up the street and back down to the docks where the boat was. We travelled back to the mainland and took the bus home. Everyone fell asleep; we were so exhausted. We came back to Fernando's for dinner and had potato and leek soup, salad and an enchilada. The enchilada kind of looked like a really big pizza pop. For dessert everyone had tiramisu and we sang Happy Birthday to Riley. Fernando and Gerlinde (his wife..they own our hotel next door too..) made me a chocolate cake without eggs. It was soo nice of them. We went up on the roof at night and hung out on the swings. We met a Canadian group from Toronto that was staying here after they had just built two houses this week.

Torry Harris
Developing World Connections Participant

March 12th:

Today we woke up at 7:30 AM and realized it was the last day with the kids :(So sad!) We came to Open Windows and started putting together the desks and then painting them. Ali and Riche sorted through the eight suitcases we brought. They are both feeling A LOT better, by the way.

At 10:30, Teresa wanted to take us to see the finkas. They live on the side of a mountain in San Miguel. It was so sad! They literally have nothing. Once we reached the top of the hill, around thirty kids came to see us. We brought them mints and they were so excited. They were all really dirty and none of them were wearing shoes.. We also brought some soccers balls. Every day they have to walk down the mountain to wash their clothes or attend church or just do daily things that we take for granted. Their houses are made of tin with tarps as roofs. Lots of people in Guatemala have pets that they cannot probably take care of. We have seen hundreds of dogs and horses that are starving! They are all so skinny. So skinny that you can see their rib cages.. When it rains, the kids can hardly walk up the hill because the water is higher than their knees. Their mayor built a cement playground when the majority of the village wanted a place where they could wash their clothes. Teresa said if the mayor was female, he probably would have taken a more maternal approach and would have given the village what they needed. She said that most men don't even think about washing clothes because down here it is considered women's work. I agreed 100%. The kids did not even use the playground, they still just play in the streets.

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We returned back to Open Windows and worked on the desks some more. The Doctor was in today.. One comes a couple times a year.. A group from Winnipeg is coming next week is going to finish the rest. In the afternoon, we helped the kids in the library. At 3 pm, we were all divided up into groups of ten kids and two members of our group. We had to teach them a game.. My group taught jump rope and hopscotch. Some taught soccer baseball, sewing and hand clapping games. When it was time to leave all the kids sat down in the courtyard and gave us cards and certificates. I, once again, cried!

We left the kids:( at OW and walked to Liz and Tom's house for a bbq. Their stories were so cool. Tom just came down here for a trip similar to ours and then he ended up staying forever. Doesn't sound like a bad plan to me... :) We left there at 7:15 PM. It was hard saying bye to Teresa and the others! We drove home and went to Fernando's to see how he made chocolate and coffee. So cool!

I hope that the snow melts before I get home because the weather is SO nice down here. All my love to my fam-jam and friends and thank you so much for taking the time to read the blog:)

Torry Harris
Developing World Connections Participant

Thursday, March 11, 2010

March 11th:

I do not want to come home.

At all.
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Ali and I woke up early today (we have the morning off.) and went to Fernando's for breakfast. We came back to the hotel to get Riche, but she couldn't come with us because she had been throwing up :(. Not to worry, it's nothing serious. Probably just dehydration.. But Ali and I went out shopping. We dropped our dirty laundry off at this cute little laundry mat and we will pick it up when we return. We went down to the market and to some of the stores by our hotel. It is still strange that when we walk by McDonald's there is a security guard holding a rifle. It's like that at the bank too and lots of fast food restaurants.


We left for Open Windows at about 11:45 AM, but first we stopped at Teresa's (founder of OW) house for lunch. It was NUTS. She has fourteen bedrooms, three floors and this crazy backyard. She showed us some of her coffee plants (she makes her own coffee..). She has a chef and a maid and her roof is huge and flat so you can sun tan on it. She has a beautiful courtyard in the middle of the house. That's another "I like" about Guatemala - most of the hotels, houses and restaurants are part indoors and outdoors. The buses picked us up and we went to OW to play with the kids. We read in the library for a bit and then it was time for the big soccer game.


We walked about fifteen minutes to one of the local soccer fields in San Miguel. Kids had received special permission to get out of school to play. Two girls from OW came with us as well. We showed up to the barb wire encased field to see about fifteen boys (all way younger than us) wearing Kamloops Blaze jerseys! A previous team must have donated them and that's what the team wears. Lots of locals came to watch the game and we got murdered 8-0. One of the girls and I listened to my iPod on the sidelines; she also ate my lunch because I was allergic to it hahah.. Ali and I played pass with two little boys on the side. They were so cute! After the game, we got a huge picture of all of us and I promise I will upload it when I get a chance! We left for the hotel at 5 PM and we were all way to tired for salsa dance lessons.

At 6:30 PM we went for dinner at La Punta, an Italian restaurant. Our pops (Pepsi, Coke, Fanta..) come in glass bottles! Ali and Riche weren't feeling well so they stayed home. We walked back to the hotel and hung out. We were all exhausted!


Adios!

Torry Harris
Developing World Connections Participant

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

March 10th:

Buenas tardes! Our Group is at Open Windows right now on our lunch break! We woke up this morning at 8 and went to breakfast at Fernando's. I got my usual toast and a plate of fruit. The fruit is so fresh. This trip was the first time I've had papaya. We came to San Miguel at 9 am and started working on the desks. The boys put the pieces together and all the girls painted them navy blue. I was COVERED head to toe, in paint.

We read with the kids in the library part of OW. Marta was not there :(.. Later in the afternoon we were paired up with a child and got to paint pictures for our art show we are going to have when we get home. I was paired with Herenzo (age 11) and we painted a picture filled with arboles (trees), montaƱas (mountains), a lago (lake), a barco (boat), nuves (clouds), a sol (sun) with a bright cielo azul (blue sky).

Later Katerine took me to do a craft. We made pictures of Spanish women. She wanted to keep mine. I have no idea why though! Mine was so feo (ugly). After that three girls took me over to play chess (I've never played before and it was even harder to learn in Spanish) and this princess dress up game. They dressed me up in all of the princess jewelry including a crown, necklaces and bracelets. THEN they insisted that each one of them would take a thousand pictures of me haha. It was 4:30 PM, time to go home (although none of us wanted to..). We came back, showered and then went out to dinner. Dinner was all right; the place was tiny and the only lights were candles. After that we walked to an old building where a blues band was playing. The building looked SO beautiful with all of the lights. I promise I'll post pictures tonight! :) All night people were lighting fireworks. They were SO loud; they sounded like gun shots. That freaked all of us (even thought it was only 8 PM) out so we walked home. All of us were so tired, we all just kind of fell asleep together.


That's it for now. Hasta luego!

Torry Harris
Developing World Connections Participant

March 9th:

Hola! Today we got to San Miguel at 9:30 AM. We immediately started working on the desks. Some of us drilled the pieces together, some of us sanded the pieces and some of us sanded the old paint of the chair frames. We ate lunch and then headed down to the library. I met Marta who is actually the coolest little girl I've ever met. She taught me so much Spanish and I kept the pictures we drew together. Her mom and dad work in the coffee plantations (a very common job in San Miguel) and her mother washes laundry on top of that (also very common). Next we went into the Community Room at Open Windows and watched a presentation on eye care, eye examinations and injuries. All of the kids paid attention the whole time and at the end they asked a billion questions and this wasn't even at school! It was after. It was totally different from a Canadian class. After this it was play time. I played some more games in the courtyard with the girls. They are hilarious. A couple of them are really good at explaining the rules, thank gosh! We played until 4:30 PM when we had to go back to Antigua. All of them give us big hugs when we leave. I will hopefully get to see Marta tomorrow. We got home and OG (minus the chaperones) went out on the town! We went to the Mediterranean restaurant that we went to for dinner a couple nights ago. We hookah-ed mint and mango shisha. After that, we went to the McDonald's that is crazy nice! There were candles on most of the tables and the courtyard was lit up with lights. We walked back to the hotel at 7 PM to eat dinner at Fernando's. We had a broth filled with salantro that had to chunks of squash and a piece of chicken. On the side was rice and carrots. We drank juice as well. Guatemala's juice is definitely different than North America's.. It is usually pretty thick because it is fresh. And so good! The rest of Our Group (because I was allerica) ate brownies for dessert. Tonight we are going on the roof again! I knew it would become a regular spot to hang out.. but the view is so pretty because the balcony just shows the beautiful skyline and volcanoes. Anyways, tomorrow we are going to OW to paint the desks! Buenas noches!

Torry Harris
Developing World Connections Participant

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

March 9th: Busy already.

More thoughts from yesterday:
We worked on desks and prepped them to replace the old wood for new wood and then paint them. At 4 PM the kids could play because school and homework time was over. We read them stories (in Spanish) and asked them basic questions like how old are you, how many brothers and sisters do you have? etc etc. Some of the eleven and twelve year olds could not read.. :( We coloured with them. Ah, they were so cute. I met three kids I liked in particular -- Delmay, Franklin and Daniel. Daniel was so good at art! The girls really liked my nose ring, but did not like my rook piercing at all! They openly laugh at our bad pronunciation too. Some of us played soccer in the Open Windows Foundation courtyard and I played games with the girls. I had to do the KitKat bar hand shake/game with so many girls! We played games that were kind of like Ring Around the Rosie and other elementary school games, but in Spanish. It was so, so much fun. At 5 PM, all the kids go home for dinner.

We walked down to another house where two girls and their mother and their father lived. Their dad was an alcoholic and didn't support them. The mother's father died suddenly and he had not written a will yet. So the government took hold of the property. The family can still live there, but the house needs to be able to be taken down if or when the government says so. This means it is made out of bamboo with a tarp as a roof. It gets really windy and rains, and their "backyard" (a dirt path with chickens and laundry hanging up to dry) will get wiped out. I think the saddest part that got to me was that the older daughter is handicapped. They don't even know what mental illness she has and her family cannot afford a wheelchair so she sits in the room that is their house in the dark everyday. That was hard for me because last year I was a Teacher's Assistant in the Resource Room at school. Here, the government does not provide funding for her to go to school in a special classroom with an aid. When our group gets home we are going to start a fund-raiser to build her a house and provide her with a wheelchair. We also went out for dinner in San Miguel's ONLY restaurant. It was Mexican/Guatemalan food. After that we went back to Open Windows and participated in a youth group that happens every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. It was International Women's Day so we learnt about famous women around the world (Hillary Clinton, Rosa Parks, Helen Keller etc..) We played some "ice breaker" games as well. We left at 9 PM and we went on the roof. It was clouded over tonight. We haven't been able to see the moon yet.

Today we got to San Miguel Duenas at 9:30 AM. We immediately started working on the desks. Some of us drilled the pieces together, some of us sanded the pieces and some of us sanded the old paint of the chair frames. We just ate lunch and now we are going to go to the library portion of OW (Open Windows) and play with the kids.

Adios amigos! ;)
Torry Harris
Developing World Connections Participant

Monday, March 8, 2010

March 8th: First Day of Volunteer Work.

Today is our first day of volunteer work. We left at Antigua at 8:00 AM and drove in two vans (and our eight suitcases) to San Miguel Duenas. It was about a fifteen minute drive. Even though it was so close, Antigua is very different from San Miguel. It is not cobble stone and it is very, very poor. Teresa (the leader of Open Windows Foundation) gave us a tour of the village. First we went to the Fire Hall. It was tiny! We all slid down the fireman's pole though. Riche was so scared! But we finally convinced her to come down. Shane, Riley and Miles climbed back up the pole. Show offs.

It's funny because on some houses you will see North American references like a poster of High School Musical or Shrek. We went do the City Hall next. The government is really corrupt. Teresa says that they encourage all children to go to school, but they turn a blind eye when they need money for school supplies. This prevents them from being able to have enough for everybody. Small children go to school in the morning while their parents and older siblings work. Then they come to the library (which is the Open Windows building) or take a siesta while the teenagers go to school.

We stopped at a "house" that four families lived in. It was so dirty. The father was making bread that he could sell. All of the families sleep in one room with two mattresses. They have a lime and an apple tree. They wash all their clothes by hand and hang them to dry. They had rabbits, a dog and chickens. Their sinks were filthy and they didn't have any electricity. The oldest son had to work night and day to pay for his little sister's education. It made me cry. That was definitely the moment that everybody has been talking about -- that minute that changes your life, that minute that makes you feel so bad and feel so grateful for what you have. It was unbelievable. Poverty now has a face and a name and it makes it that much more real.

Next we went to a private school where all of the students were considered "upper class". It was recess time and it was pandemonium! All of the kids would ambush you for pictures! They all wore red school uniforms and ate lots of junk food. They would laugh at how tall Shane was! They were all so friendly. They would ask me questions in Spanish and I would have NO idea what they meant. After this, we went back to the Open Windows building and starting fixing up desks. We have to take them all apart, put them back together with new wood and then later we will paint them. We ate lunch here and now it's our break before we will get back to work. Tonight we are going to a youth group. I'll keep you posted. Husta luego!

Torry Harris
Developing World Connections Participant

March 7th: Saw a Volcano Blow!

OMG!! Today was the craziest day of my life. We woke up at 6:30 and went for breakfast at Fernando's at 7:15. Then we took a two hour bus ride to the Pacaya volcano. While we were driving we saw another volcano steam (Guatemala has four active volcanoes). I'll post pictures when I can! But yeah, we went through two very poor towns. At the bottom of the volcano (it's 8,000 meters high) we buy walking sticks made of bamboo for Q5. Right when the bus pulls up, men and younger boys flock to the door so we buy the stick from them. We drove some more through a village at the base of the volcano. We took some pictures with some little boys. There was one Caucasian boy! It was weird.. Like how did he get there? We then started hiking and about ten locals would follow us with horses. They wanted us to pay to ride them up to the top (they finally left when we were half way up). It was so steep! We were ALL dying (especially Riche and I). I looked angry in every picture hah. You could feel the altitude increase considerably. It was about a 6 km hike to the top. There were tons of metamorphic rock! We had to then climb on the metamorphic rock and shale. Once we got pretty close to the top it instantly got so hot! We could see red lava spewing out of openings and every couple minutes the volcano would "burp". Mary had brought marshmallows and our guide roasted them over the lava. Yum :). Right now, locals are putting on a parade for Lent. It's very bright and colourful and there is loud music.

We went for dinner at a Mediterranean dinner last night! Ah it was so good! It was also a hookah bar. They had the most beautiful decorations. One thing I noticed was the pop tastes way different here. I drink Diet Pepsi (called Pepsi Light here) and it is way sweeter than in North America. It tastes like it has been sweetened with cane juice.

We walked back to our hotel and the parade came by again. Everyone was wearing bright purple robes and carrying huge statues! All of us got burnt so we had to pick up aloe vera from the pharmacy! Riche is sooo burnt! Surprisingly, mine is not bad. OG hung out on top of our hotel´s rooftop again which I think will become a regular spot to chill. We brought up an iPod dock and we could see all of the stars so clearly. We found Orian's belt and the Big Dipper etc :). At about 12:30 AM we saw a volcano blow! The red lava went everywhere. It was crazy!

Torry Harris
Developing World Connections Participant

March 6th: Dinner, and Dancing

We woke up and it was SO nice out! We went to Fernando's (a cafe next door that has very good English) for breakfast. We walked to the local market a couple blocks away from our hotel. Their driving is pretty crazy.. The sidewalks are about a foot tall and there are lots of locals trying to sell you things. It is so hot out! I have been applying sunscreen like crazy. Everything is also so cheap. They sold machettis and lots of different kinds of knives! It was different hah.. I have improved my Spanish so much! Zander, Ali, Riche and I saw a truck of coffins drive by. Locals just sit in the bed of trucks and people NEVER stop at stop signs. There are beautiful buildings everywhere! Ah, Mom you would die at how beautiful the flowers at the market are.

We went for lunch at a place down by the market, I had a cheeseburger. :) After lunch, Ali, Riche and I went to McDonald's.. hands down nicest McDon's I have ever seen. There was a courtyard with a fountain and tables where you could eat. Three sixteen year old locals tried to pick us up! It was a good attempt, no dice. :)

We hung out at the hotel for a bit while Teresa, Ali, Riley, Shane and Sara went to a church service. We then went out for dinner at a nice restaurant a couple blocks away from our hotel. There was live music -- xylophone type instruments. While we were waiting for our food, the lights dimmed and about ten dancers came out and danced to a few songs. They then took people who were dining.. Mary and Teresa were selected first. I totally thought I was in the clear, but I was wrong! They picked Shane and I next. It was hilarious! We danced in a big circle with the rest of the dancers and some people out for dinner. They gave us maracas as well. Of course OG took a thousand pictures! Those I will not be posting! Miles and I shared spaghetti. It got a little messy.. ;) Around 10 PM some of us went to the roof were there is a patio with swings and met around ten Americans (they were from South Dakota) joined us.. Ugh they didn't know ANY of the provinces. They had heard of BC because of the Olympics, but knew no others. One asked if we boarded AlbertO. Ah, not quite boys.

Torry Harris
Developing World Connections Participant

March 5th: Heading to Guatemala

Ah! It has been quite the day. We woke up this morning at 3:45 AM to drive to the Vancouver airport for our 7:40 AM flight. The flight was not bad at all -- a little bit of turbulance that was scary though. I am currently writing from the George W Bush Intercontential Airport in Houston, Texas. It is very cloudy and not that warm :(. We will arrive in Guatemala city around 10 PM and drive about forty five minutes to Antigua, where we are staying. (Pictures will be posted later on..) The trees in Kamloops better not be blooming without me!

Torry Harris
Developing World Connections Participant

Guatemala 2010

Read about a group of high school students (and three chaperones) from Kamloops who are volunteering in village of San Miguel Duenas, Guatemala. Along with refurbishing buildings, the group will be helping the host partner provide children with a basic foundation of literacy and life skills.

Most of the posts will be excerpts from Operation Guatemala, written by Torry Harris. She has been blogging about Operation Guatemala since she first signed up to volunteer with Developing World Connections in June 2009. For full posts visit:http://operationguatemala2010.blogspot.com/