From the Field: Tourism With A Twist [Day 5]

The days go quickly here. So do the weeks. For five days our travelers dive full-tilt, whole-heart into our literacy work. With eyes wide open they ride buses, share meals, read stories, meet scholars, greet families, and express gratitude. For five days we ask them to think, feel, act, create, inspire, and be inspired, only to start again at the beginning and think some more. The days are full, the sights hard, the experience thought provoking, and the travel impassioned.

Cultivating donors, engaging action, and inspiring compassion, the Learning Journeys have been designed to be an intense and productive experience. Your heart is thrown wide open, your mind is challenged to understand all we see, and your body endures all the squatting and walking and standing and waiting that is life in Guatemala.

It follows, that at some point the books must be set down, the curiosity momentarily quelled, and the mind rested. Today was that day.

Our last day together as a full group was spent in glorious observation and (mostly) relaxation. We took a lancha (boat taxi) across the lake to San Juan de la Laguna where we traipsed through an organic coffee cooperative (and sampled their product, of course), visited a model library with our scholars so that they could source some inspiration, and splurged on some naturally dyed textiles at a women’s co-op. It was tourism with a twist: we spent the day with eight of our students some of whom had never traveled across the lake that is just out their back door. The day culminated with ice cream cones and the most marvelous last supper. We celebrated a birthday, shared a few bottles of wine, and toasted a trip well done.

Today was a day to commemorate how far we’ve come in just five short days. A day to thank one another for the experience. A day to make commitments to one another moving forward. Today was a day to re-energize.

Today was that day and yet here I am tucked beneath a scratchy wool blanket with eyelids so heavy I can barely see the page. It was our rest day, our last day, and I am exhausted. Happily exhausted.

Until later,

Kassia (Your camera-slinging, sleep-deprived Director of Communications)

Category: From the Field