Hello Everyone! We made it to Guatemala and we are all settling in very nicely. We´re taking advantage of our internet access right now to let you know what we´ve been up to the past couple of days! Yesterday we arrived in the morning and met up with the SIFE team from UVG. They took us to the UVG campus to exchange money, and we stopped by and saw the SIFE team practicing for their upcoming competition in July. More on this later, but we´re looking forward to attending this! After lunch with our main liason Alejandra, we visited a traditional marketplace with tons of handicrafts. We resisted buying anything….for now. Our friend Juan Carlos took us out for our first Guatemalan National beer called Gallo (we think it means rooster?), and we thoroughly enjoyed it! This day wasn´t very work intensive, but we got an introduction into the work that SIFE UVG does here in the city and the surrounding area, which is really important to understand for the rest of our time here. We went to Jose´s house for dinner (another SIFEer), and met the president of SIFE UVG as well as Julio who was heavily involved with the UCLA project here in Guatemala in 2009. They gave us a presentation of all their projects in progress as well as past successful projects, which are essentially massive Nourish-type ventures in the communities. Like Nourish, they focus on sustainability and small-scale projects to create huge change. Their three Ps of SIFE are People, Planet, and Profit, and the UVG chapter has embodied these for the past six years. We are excited to be working with such an amazing group of young students who share the same vision as we do.
We had to go to bed relatively early to wake up at 6:30 am to eat breakfast (at a lovely buffet) and be ready by 7:30 to get picked up by Regina. Today`s effort served multiple fold: first, we were introduced to the type of community we will be working with; second, we got work on our Spanish (much needed); and third, we even got to offer our expertise in clothing sales! The community will be having a Barratillo (we think), which signifies the first Sunday of every month during which they will sell donated clothing, toys, and other household items to fund the school`s programming. Aside from that, we also got to work with a lot of school children today doing arts and crafts. They were an energetic bunch to say the least; Kristin got mobbed! SIFE works with the school to implement recycling, teaching children the proper way to recycle waste, as well as providing bins and educational materials. After the recycling presentation, we spent a couple hours moving and bagging donated beans into smaller, more manageable sized bags to sell later for profit for the school. This was a little bit tedious, but after seeing the mountains of beans (montañas de frijoles) shrink into nothing, it was well worth it… Tomorrow we`ll be headed back to the school to continue the work we started today! Hopefully we`ll be able to update you all soon!