A PEEK AT THE GUATEMALA INSIGHT TRIP 2020

By Anita Kreider

Sydney Summers in the home of her sponsored student, Angela Sacuj.  Sydney said her co-sponsors asked for her to name something that impacted her from the trip.  She said,  “I realized that such a small amount of money on the part of each of the three of us, can change someone’s life so significantly. And to be able to change someone’s life is a privilege and an honor.”

Fantastic is the best way to describe  our February “Insight Trip” to Guatemala!  Seven guests (Tom & Barb Scripps, Tom & Kim Fry, Sydney Summers, Carol Rush, Holly Kreider) and six “regulars”, (Nings, Stegers, Kreiders) very much enjoyed our ten-day adventure.  The guests came to get a first-hand look at the Quetzal University Program, meet our inspiring young scholars, and enjoy the beauty, culture, and diversity of Guatemala.  One guest, Sydney Summers came to meet the student she has been co-sponsoring with Sheila Norris and Laurie Mactavish.  

The opportunities to meet and interact with our scholars are the most memorable highlights! 

  • Home visit with a student and her family.  Our group divided into 2 smaller groups to visit 2 different students.  Pictures of this are at the end of this letter.

  • Visit to Rafael Landivar University, a Jesuit school in Xela where many of our full time students attend.  We met with a group of students to hear of their challenges and future ambitions and then enjoyed having lunch with them at a local restaurant.

  • Attend a Sunday group meeting of our 44 students!  Guest, Tom Fry used his photo equipment and skills to take some professional grade individual photos of every student.  We will soon be posting them on the website with a short bio!

  • Dinner meeting in Antigua with Travis Ning, executive director of the MAIA Impact school and our nursing student, Andrea Sosof.  We learned more about the MAIA school and about  Andrea’s prestigious job with a highly regarded program called Wings.  Her job is to travel to small indigenous communities to provide birth control, health screening, and health information to women.

  • Tom Fry did a photography class for some very enthusiastic students at the MAIA school.  Additionally, he donated some high-end cameras to the school for student use.

 

Our itinerary allowed time for exploring and experiencing Guatemala as well!  Panajachel on scenic Lake Atitlan was our home base for the first portion of our trip.  We had many free afternoons and a full free day to explore.  At the end of the trip, we spent  two days  exploring the beautiful old Spanish colonial town of Antigua.  Our guests had diverse interests so each chose activities that appealed to them.  Here are some of our free time highlights:

 

Panajachel:

  • Exploring/ hiking the Nature Reserve Atitlan.  Carol Rush especially enjoyed taking photos at the butterfly garden. 

  • Boating across the lake to explore the lake town of San Juan.  Some of us enjoyed the weaving demonstration where we learned how cotton becomes yarn, is dyed using the colors of local plants, and then hand woven to produce beautiful colorful textiles.  We all found items we couldn’t live without there!

  • Hiking.  Tom Scripps hired a guide and climbed a nearby mountain in San Juan.  He said the views were amazing!

  • Exploring Santa Catarina.  Another group explored the colorful lake town of Santa Catarina just a short tuk-tuk ride from Panajachel. 

 

Antigua:

  • Cultural and historical walking tour with Antigua Tours.

  • Sunset and happy hour on a roof top bar with spectacular views of the city and surrounding volcanos.  Volcan Fuego is active and belches smoke regularly!  An impressive sight!

  • Night hike excursion on Pacaya Volcano.  Tom & Kim Fry loved their  excursion with other international travelers on Pacaya volcano.  They actually toasted marshmallows by the trail! Their guide built an “oven” of rocks over a steam vent.  In the darkness, they could see hot lava from the peak of Pacaya.

 

  • Shopping and unique dining experiences were enjoyed EVERYWHERE!  

Guatemala Insight Visit 2021

If you are interested in joining an Insight Group in February 2021, please contact us at quetzaluniversityfund@gmail.com

 

There is a gallery of pictures of the 2020 Trip on our website under the “photo albums” tab.  Here are a few special ones of the home visits:

Angela's family generously prepared lunch for us in their kitchen

Home visit with Pamela Chumil at their home.  Pamela's mom is a single parent and supports her family from the proceeds of her lemonade stand on Pana's main street.  Pamela now has a job at as a receptionist at the MAIA Impact School, and her  income is most helpful for the support of the family.  Pamela attends university on the weekend and studies to be a social worker. 

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