AWAKEN YOUR GOOD HEART
March 23-31, 2019
Twenty remarkable women gathered at Villa Sumaya on the shores of Lake Atitlan for a nine day retreat filled with yoga, meditation, connection, and laughter. Inspired by Martha Whitney’s gifted teaching as well as the beauty of the lake and the land, and the warmth of the Guatemalan people, we practiced with joyful hearts and deep gratitude.
So many people supported our journey. Claudia taught us how to prepare a Guatemalan feast and took us around her village, several local women welcomed us into their homes and showed us how to weave, Isais and his wife led us through the mysteries of a Maya fire ceremony, and women from Amigos de Santa Cruz taught us how to bead bracelets (they made it look so easy!). We also extend heartfelt thanks to the artisans in San Juan, the staff of Villa Sumaya who cooked such amazing food and made our stay so comfortable, and Cesar and all our drivers who ensured our safe travels.
BUILDING A FUTURE
February 22 – March 3, 2019
The 2019 Teen/Family Service Trip included 18 open-hearted and dedicated travelers who spent the week living and learning in San Juan La Laguna. We immersed ourselves in home-building projects, working alongside dedicated families and local builders and contributing to their efforts to create a safe and healthy future for their children. One member of the group was a doctor, and throughout the week, she worked in two clinics, offering cervical cancer screenings and prenatal care.
In addition to digging a foundation, carrying tons (literally!) of building materials, mixing cement, and playing with the children at the worksites, we took workshops from local artisans, made tortillas over a fire, played soccer and basketball with students in the area, swam in Lake Atitlan, hiked, relaxed, and explored the colonial city of Antigua. We even had a dance party!
We offer our gratitude to the staff and families of ODIM (our service partner), to Javier and Leonardo at Pa Muelle (our hostel), to Patrone who prepared all our delicious meals, to our beading, cooking, weaving and painting teachers, to those at Centro Maya, and to all our guides and drivers who made this experience possible.
COMMUNITY, ART, COFFEE & CULTURE
April 22-30, 2017
Over April Break, a fantastic group of teens and adults traveled to Guatemala on a service learning adventure. Our first task: digging a four-foot deep trench through a corn field and up into a family’s property! We worked alongside, Valeria, who owned the land with her husband. Our collective efforts to help install this drainage system meant that Valeria was one step closer to being able to build a house for her growing family. We also spent time at two schools supporting the kids, faculty, and kitchen staff with various projects.
We had some amazing teachers along our journey: a woman taught us how to prepare the national dish of Guatemalan, a coffee farmer took us to his fields and his wife and daughters made dinner for us, a group of sisters showed us how to make worry-dolls, an enthusiastic couple were our instructors for a salsa dancing class, a photographer led us on a walk of his city, a weaver demonstrated her traditional craft, and a local artist and his nephew held a painting class for us and taught us about our Mayan Day Sign.
VOLUNTEERING, VISTAS & VILLAGES
February 25 – March 5, 2017
The February 2017 Teen Service Adventure was a nine day experience for curious teens who wanted to explore Guatemala through volunteering, hiking, and cross-cultural understanding. We worked directly with local community initiatives involved with education, nutrition, reforestation, and construction. We built wooden houses and cement block homes, picked and processed coffee, worked in school gardens, read with children, played soccer, went on a sunrise hike, practiced yoga and explored the cultural and artistic traditions of the area.
THE POWER AND BEAUTY OF LAKE ATITLÁN
February 20 – February 29, 2016
Here’s a video that captures highlights from our 2016 trip.
Many thanks to all those who made this trip possible including the teens and their families, the faculty and children of Escuela Caracol, the staff and families of Construyendo Alianzas, and all the other amazing individuals–in Guatemala and in the US–who supported our adventure.