Thursday, April 13, 2006

Last blog for now...Candice

Well there is so much to say about the trip. I'm not really sure how to put it all, actually I dont think there is a great enough word to explain it, so i'm not going to try and leave it in its awesomeness. This trip was amazing,seeing the people,the culture and learning about human rights was fun, exciting, crazy, fascinating,educational,surreal,WOW, etc. I learned so much during this trip.I have learned far more than I expected. By seeing a new place you see a new way of life and in turn,it changes yours, because you realize things you hadnt before. I could not thank the people enough who helped put this trip together and the people who donated their money and time to make this trip happen. Ms Manuel, Carlos, the parents, the donors and the whole delegation:thanks for making the trip, because without your support it would not have been the same.

GOODBYE GUATEMALE, Zoe will miss you...

wow, so, reflecting on this trip i am realizing just how incredible it was. we were able to learn so much about another country, culture and way of life in just a week. i can't believe it's over: all the laughter, good food, dancing and wonderful people we met. but more importantly, i am taking away a better sense of guatemalan people and what life is like in other places and realizing how important it is to get to know these places. this trip has changed my life in more ways than i ever could have asked for, and for this i have so many people to thank...Ms. Manuel, you were awesome it was very clear just how important this was for you as well, and we most certainly couldn't have done it without your help. everyone on the trip-i had a great time with you all and thank you for making this trip so much fun. i hope we can all keep in touch after this. and carlos, whom we would have been extremely lost without, and thank you for also bringing so much joy to us all. and finally, everyone who donated, it was your donations that got us there, so thank you so so so much, and i cant wait to come back...i'll miss you guatemala, until my return, adios! xoxo zoe

Monday, April 10, 2006

The End to Our Long or Short Journey. By Jeremiah Torres

Life in our country may seem hard but it really isn't as bad as we think it is. I witnessed people who have it way harder than Americans and they still seem to be able to smile these people really are inspiring. The people I talk about are the Mayan people of guatemala. Their entire lives they have been persecuted because of their heritage and that's wrong. They have been killed for their political views which shows how a lot of their rights have been taken away. I heard in videos how the goverment of guatemala had tortured the mayan people for helping the guerillas in the civil war and this goes aginst the article of no torture shall be administered on people. This is something that I learned while on the trip. I really enjoyed this trip to guatemala. It's a country where my ancestry from my mother's side of the family resides and it's a real great thing to go back and explore the country your family is from it really got me back into my roots to really understand what it is like to live like a guatemalan. This is a trip I will remember forever because of the memories I will have about the people that went and how it changed us as a group. I had a great time learning how to dance salsa and I really had a great experience with all the people. I'm so grateful that Melanie set this up for us and really followed through on making this a fun and exciting trip. This was something she didn't have to do but she did anyways and I thank her for that. I want to give a shout out to our guide Carlos he was so down to earth and such a cool guy. I will miss his humor and how he laughed a lot. Everyone on the trip stay chilero(cool) in guatemalan form of slang) I'll see you guys when break is over. That's all I got to say so it's good bye for now and i'll see you later. Payce.

My (Collin) last blog

this trip was amazing. it was fun, exciting, boring, tiring, stressful, relaxing, life changing, experiences that you want to have in an adventure that you will never forget. i definitely plan on going back so if anyone would care to join me you're welcome to. Ms. Manuel, thank you for putting this whole trip together and making it educational but fun at the same time. i cant even think of how much work it took to put this all together. thank you, Carlos, for showing us around your home country and accepting us as close friends/family. thank you to all of my family and friends who took the time out of their days to leave me comments. and thank you to all who donated money to help me fundraise for this unforgettable trip.
love, collin

Friday, April 07, 2006

Our Despedida (Melanie)

Here we are, the superstar Human Rights Delegates, on our last night in Guatemala (ANTIGUA)

Practicing salsa in the restaurant while we were waiting for our food. We had to move the tables out of the way.

Dancing to trance, hiphop and salsa in the club...

...while Carlos and Melanie stood guard making sure everyone was safe and having fun.

Thank you to Collin, Patrick, Zach, Cindy, Jeremiah, Zoe, Candice, Nat and Tiye. Ever since I lived in Guatemala, I dreamt of organizing a Human Rights Delegation. You guys are a part of this dream come true. Like I told you in our closing circle at the airport, I hope that our delegation ignited a fire in you to continue exploring human rights issues both in your communities and abroad. May Guatemala be the first of many experiences that raise your awareness of OUR UNIVERSAL HUMAN RIGHTS.

It has long been recognized that an essential element in protecting human rights was a widespread knowledge among the population of what their rights are and how they can be defended.
Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Sixth UN Secretary-General, 1992-1996

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Colonia 15 de octubre

"Returning is part of our fight."



All the boys are napping. All the girls are getting ready for our despedida dinner and for a little dancing at a discoteca. Im ready to hit the town. I´ll post pictures from today later. Everyone is doing well right now but will most likely be grumpy when they find out that our wake up time is 4AM tomorrow.

Today we spent the whole day in La Trinidad, a community of returned refugees. Mayans from the city of Huehuetenango escaped the massacres by fleeing to Mexico on foot. They walked for 2 days through the mountains to the border with only the clothes on their back. They fled in 1982 during the notorious presidency of Rios Montt and returned to Guatemala in 1998. After the 16 years, on the 15th of October (hence the name of their neighborhood), they couldn´t return to Huehuetenango because the civil patrol (indigenous people drafted by the govt to fight against their own people) had already claimed that land. Instead they now live 20 minutes outside of Antigua where we are staying. It is estimated that 1,000,000 people were displaced during Guatemala´s 36 year civil war.

We spent the day talking to the returned families about their experiences, played basketball and soccer, and eating lunch. They prepared not only our lunch, but the entire town prepared a talent show for us. Some of the students said that is was the best thing we did during the delegation.

We´re coming home tomorrow. Friends, fam, JD, Ive missed you! Who´s taking me out to dinner when I get back?!


-- Melanie

TIYE JONES Where are you?

Ms Manuel and Tiye

Tiye if you don't post one real comment before heading home I will not bring any "dinero". Ya got that?

I'd like a comment or two on what your impressions are--not "Hi Mom, its me Tiye bring money"!!!!

Travel safely home tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Collin on Day 5

We Travled to San antonio palopo which is a town on Lago De Atitlan. we visited a school in the community and all the kids were very excited to see us. we came right when they started the recess and we got to take pictures of them and play soccer with them. then we got to talk with the director of the school and i was able to give the pencils and paper to the school. we went to a ceramics co-op and i bought a cup, i hope it doesnt break on the way back. my stomach feels much better. today is tuesday and we went to the town of santiago by boat. we visited a coffee co-op and bought 38 pounds of coffee hahahhahaha we got to ride in the back of a pick up truck all around Santiago. then we visited a memorial site for one of the massacures, which was in town that lost 800 people to hurricane stan last october. the town felt of sadness and depression because the town was origanilly 1200 people. its still beautiful and hot. ill be home in two days i love yall back home and i hope the rain has stopped love collin

COFFEE coffee is not for me(candice)


Hey yall. I cant believe this trip is almost over, no worry i am determined to come back. Well today was exciting a and educational all at the same time. yes!!! the boat ride from pana to the coffee plantation and the panaja was surreal. The mountians are amazing. Then when we arived at the beach we packed into the back of a truck and that was fun it reminded me of a rollercoaster. We aarrived at the coffee plantation. I had never seen the process of making coffe so that was intresting. Another thing i really liked about the plantation was that the co op protected the myan culture:) well thats my entry for today.

It's Zoe, saying HI

hi people, ita good to hear from you all, sorry i cant respond individually. were having a great time over here, visiting the beautiful Lago Atitlan and took a boat ride across it, it was beautiful. i also took my first ride in the back of a pickup truck, its fun!!!!!!!!!! not getting too sick either, and i got my first sunburn today, but its not too bad. i got u all coffee today, from a FAIR trade co/op in San Lucas Toliman... i hope all is well, i love u and ill see you soon. take care everyone.

Time is almost up, NATALIE!!!!

Hey everyone it´s Natalie, I was thinking about filling you inn on the trip so far but since the computers over here are automated in Spanish it´s hard to understand what´s going on so I ran into a little problem, I wrote a super long blog and I accidently erased it, but everyone know that we are all safe and we will all be home shortly. Good night, Natalie

Crazy Chilero Guatemala from Jeremiah To the people


Well people i plan to get some canelitas de leche for my family i bought so much stuff already though,got my pop´s some guatemalan coffe, real strong stuff. I tried it myself and i bought some other things for my sister, mom and dad. I been here in guatemala for a while people hey i learned to dance salsa and mereunge and i plan to show off some of my moves in the Dance we are trying to go to tommorow. Yesterday and Today we went to co-ops to witness people trying to make a living and devising ways they can get all the money they can. We visted one that was a ceramic co-op that was apprenticed that became it´s own place once the owner left his master artist and created his co-op. We also visited a school and talked to the principle about the problems they faced. The school population has kept growing and is npw out of porportion from people trying to go to school. I witnessed the effects massacres had on people now after the civil wars and it breaks my heart to see a people that has a beautiful area of land be desteoyed by their countrie´s destructive past, hatred being directed towards the Mayans a people that just wants to have normal lives. I´m part mayan and i see my people being oppressed and it hits me heart deep. I wish their lives could be so much eaiser. They are still prosecuted and a lot of their rights are taken from them. The spanish people have taken away their lands and have treated them like garbage. Why can´t they just treat the mayan people like brothers? This thought puzzles my mind.

Human Rights and Lago Atitlan (Melanie)

Today we spent time visiting sites around placid Lago Atitlan. We took a boat from Pana to Santiago Atitlan where we visited a fair trade coffee plantation. We bought 38 (that´s not a typo) bags of organic, fair trade coffee. I think Ive converted Natalie into a fair trade coffee only drinker. Yes! Fair trade means a steady and fair income for the campesinos and access to workers rights through community organizing. Students recognized that fair trade is connected to human rights because fair trade co-ops teach the campesinos that they have the right to protest and demand equality and also provide favorable working conditions.

We then took a pickup truck to visit a memorial to a massacre that occurred in 1990. Thirteen mayans were killed by the military for approaching an army base in search of their kidnapped family members. After this, we visited a town that lost 800 of its 1200 inhabitants due to the mudslides in October. It was very intense. The response of the Guatemalan government was very similar to that of the US govt to Hurricane Katrina. At lunch we wrote in our journals about how human rights played out in Santiago Atitlan.

Last night we watched a movie about maquilas then had a discussion comparing and contrasting human rights issues in Guatemala and in our communities in the US.

Just got back to Antigua tonight where we´ll be for the next two nights before we go home. Holy moly! Our Guatemalan jaunt is almost over. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

I don´t know why the pics I post keep coming up double. I´ll fix that later.

Dance Fiends (Fotos courtesy of Melanie)

These pictures should whet your appetite. I also have secret FILM footage of everybody busting out their salsa and merengue moves.


Monday, April 03, 2006

Top 3 List compiled by Melanie

Top 3 things the students know how to do...
1) EAT
2) SHOP (they´ve learned to ask good questions first though about who made the products)
3) DANCE!!! We took a salsa and merengue class this afternoon. I¨ll post pictures tomorrow. Every one of the students was great!

But aside from this, the delegates are also asking great questions about the political realities in Guatemala. Yesterday we were in the van discussing Fidel, Cuba and Puerto Rico´s independence movement. Impressive.

Tomorrow we are off to a coffee co-op to learn about fair trade coffee and visiting a memorial to a town that was massacred in the 1980s.

Thanks so all our fans who have been keeping up with our blog. Off to dinner...

Yup, it's Candice

Hey! I am the most clumsyist person in the world. I dont get it. Anyway today was great. We went to go visit san antonio and visit a school. Well gotta go.


just have to say its been going really good out here in guatemala and i haven´t gotten sick so it´s all good!!! we have ben going to alt of different towns and were estaying in pana and it´s really pretty the lake is so nice.

MaMa It's Natalie

Hey mom, i'm sorry that your purse got took. Hopefully nothing special was taken and if so, OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!!! Did you have the Hawaii tickets in there or your I.d. or your credit cards or any money, huh question mark. Please try and get all your things together this week before our trip and make sure that no one is using you name or anything like that. Mom I feel so bad, why is it that the sweetest people get the worst things done to them but the worst people get the best, huh. But it's all good, I promise that when I see you I will make you smile and have a great time but promise me that you will not let that stress you out. Just go to the club and dance it off!!! I will be back in 3 days and I am eager to see you, find us cute outfits to take on our trip. I love you mom and I miss you hella much!! As for today I went to eat breakfast and then we went to a ceramic cooperative i bought many things that I will share with you later. I love you mama.
As for you Mimi thank god it's quiet without you, trying to make it seem as if I am louder then you!!! Crazy girl, I will fill you in when I get back to the U.s.a . Love ya

Two more pictures (Melanie)

Pictures of Kachikel girls from the school

I shop too.


Lago Atitlan brought to you by Melanie

Day two of three at Lago Atitlan. It is sunny and warm and lovely. This morning we visited a ceramics co op in San Antonio and a public school where 100% of the students are Mayan-Kachikel. The first year of school is bilingual Spanish-Kachikel since for almost all students, school is the place where they are first exposed to Spanish. The director of the school explained to us how difficult it is to get a proper education. The school´s maximum capacity is 270 but they have 342 students there; but he director doesnt want to turn any students away because he knows that if he doesnt accept them, those students will not go to school at all.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Pictures from today - Sunday (Melanie)

Melanie here. We are having a fab time and learning so much! One thing these kids know how to do better than eating is SHOPPING. Holy moly! Parents, bring your checkbooks to the airport...your kids are in debt to me.

We shop. We learn about women organizing for economic independence. We write in our journals. We talk about the Guatemalan civil war. We sing songs in spanish in the van. We have shopping purchases show and tell. We eat great food. WE DO IT ALL!

I´ve been getting very nostalgic being back here in Guatemala where I had one of the most transformative years of my life. Makes me want to come back and study more about human rights.

Hey, family and friends, I miss you.

Mama Here is News! (Natalie)

I bought you many gifts that you will enjoy very much, also I wanted you to know that I spent all of my money and Ms.Manuel is spotting me untill the airport back home so make sure you come to the airport with cash but don't worry because one of our dollars in the U.S. is seven dollars here in Guatemala. Also do not forget to be at the airport on time because i'm going to be super tired when I arrive and it would be great for my Queen to greet me as I approach the land...well know that I miss you very much and also last nightI was a little home sick but it went away after a journal write and a piece of cheese cake, I love you mucho!!!
Sincerely, Your Princess

As for you Pops I hope your still checking the blogs daily and know that I miss you very much. Today I went to the market in Chichicastenango and I got you something that you will love!!! Well I hope all is well and that you miss me as much as I miss you. I love you mucho!!

As for all my siblings and brothers girlfriends I just want to say hi and that I miss you all, today was great!!! I have been to a jewerly co op and a glass co op, I cannot wait to go to the coffe co op because the Guatemalan coffe is the bomb!!! Any who keep viewing my blogs and let me know what's up... Love ya mucho and thanks for stopping by!!!




The Third Day (Collin)

we travled to two different co-op today in the High lands. both were jewerly and weaving co-ops. the women and children of the co-ops were very greatful and kind and humble about us being there. the jewerly was very beautiful. i feel sick in the stomach but i hope that it will go away by tomorrow. we stopped by a house that ms. manuel had built three years ago and the family who she built it for ran out to she her. it was inspiration because it showed how much of an impact she made on these peoples lives in one week. also the kids here dont all go to school and it is problem because many families dont have enough money to send their kids to school, so many people are stuck in this vicous cycle that keeps the indigenous pepole uneducated. but not all things here in guatemala are negative i just dont feel good hahaha. the culture is amazing and enjoy being emersed in a completely different society. adios and love yall.



Well, i dont really know what to write about this time. There are so many things i could talk about. The group is becoming really close and our experience in guatemala is fascinating. My word of the day is bananos, well actually i had 2 words yesterday so i switched bananos to today. Today was really cool we went to the market. It was really crowded, and fun.Although, there were some sellers that would not lay off. They were determined to sell something. It was an uncomfortable situation, but if i was the seller i would be just as persistant because that is where i am getting my money flow. Also to day we went to the womens jewelery co op. It showed how the community is trying to rebuild it self after the problems. Many of the women lost their husbands in the war and the co op helps them to talk about their problems and rebuild their self esteem. Well, gotta go=)



Day 3 (Zach)

im here again in a small internet cafe after checking out of our hotel and riding our bus to Lago De Atitlan. we visited a community market full of indegenious people. also we visited with some co 'ops and i bought some of their homemade clothing. the mayan women were really nice. we are now staying in a hotel right near the lake. the food here is even better but the weather is still overcast.'zach

hola...once again (Zoe)

hi everyone, i have about 1 minute to do this, so im gonna go quick. we went to the market today, lots of fun and visited jewelry co-ops by Mayan women, you bet i bought a ton of it too. having fun, i love u all, thanks for the comments and ill write more soon. xoxoxox zoe
ps yay, i havent gotten burnt yet!!!!!!!!!

The adventure to the lake (Jeremiah)

Hey people out there Jeremiah speaking. Well we are here at the lago de atitlan. I´m writing from maya internet. Today we visted a lot of co-ops that had been formed by mayan women. In this they will make more money and be able to possibly pay for their children to go to schools to get an education. I personally gave them a lot of quetzales today because i liked their work and decided to buy a blanket and 3 skarfs. Everyone chipped in though by things from the womens co-op they were real sweet women.

For your viewing pleasure from Melanie

Here are some pictures from Friday and Saturday...

Saturday, April 01, 2006

1st Breakfast in Guatemala (Natalie)

Natalie once Again!!

To people that left me comments on my previous page i´m sorry that I did not answer specific questions, any who I asked Ms. Manuel if I could write another one and she said yes; so... Mike the toilet flushes the same way and the food is awesome, I have eaten everything from eggs, bacon and pancakes to pizza to spagetti and I know for a fact that you would love it out here because they tend to serve a cup of fruit with every meal! Awesome huh? I can´t really do the native food thing because if I really want to get sick I can just go up to a cart and get a tortilla or corn but unfortunetly i´m staying on the same side and eating strictly resturant food because I don´t feel like making a new best friend with a Guatemalan toilet, lol. Also pop´s to answer your question everything is going great, i´m having a fantastic time and i´m extremely happy that I have this oppurtunity to be out here! As for you Chris just know that I always make sure that I am with my group and they always make sure that everyone is together but doing a check every time we migrate and also who ever reads this tell my mommy that i´m offended that she still has not commented. Who ever let her know will be loved for ever but it´s not that I don´t already love you but i will love you more, Thanks and i´m out!!! Natalie

How it's Going (Jeremiah)

Jeremiah Speaking writng to you from the lovely city of Xela!. The trip so far has been great we´ve been traveling and meeting new people everyday. we´ve gone to buisness and schools today in xela to witness how people have been treated badly and how they compensate for these losses. I really enjoyed talking and playing with the other mayan children at the school Miguel Angeles asstruss. In the school they told us how it was hard for them to build this school and how the children that come to the school have a hard time paying for it and that when they requested that it become a public school and that it was denied. The school has barely survived, and is currently surviving on sponser and alliances. I wonder why must the goverment be so evil towards the mayan people.


I have to say that when i first arrived in guatemala it felt really weird and unreal. I really wasn´t that into it though because i was so tired. We met the guy who was taking us around when we first got to guatemala city and his name is carlos and he´s really nice. When we got there we were picked up in a busted little van and it went so slow it took us like an hour to get to guatamala city to antigua. When we got to antigua it looked really cute and very touristic i liked it a lot we went to go eat and were walking around and visited different sites but i was so tired it was a little hard to enjoy but it was still fun.
After, we left to Xela which took us like 5-6 hours in our little van to get there it was really uncomfortable and we all were trying to get in some sleep. We were suppoose to be in zela at 3 but ended up getting there at 9 and going to bed at 12-1 and wakind up at 6 which was not cool but after i showered i felt refreshed and awake.
After breakfast we went to a school which was a lot of fun we met the principal a teadher and some students. We were talking about the edu. System and looking at the school and after we all started to play soccer which was a lot of fun. After we left the school the people we met at the school went with us to go look at people making things out of glass which was crazy but really cool.then we left to go see indeginious women make clothes and stuff like that. Then we went to look at some statue of a guy that was like a leader to some people. Then later in the day we went to a cemetary which was really sad.
Over all though the trip has been really cool i enjoy seeing different things and being in a new enviornment and getting to know new people. Well i´ll keep in touch later in the trip! *cindy

Zach again

im here in a little internet cafe and right now its cloudy and hot outside...well the 1st day i was exhausted and tired becuase our plane ride was about 5 hours and our bus ride was 4. i got about 2 hours of sleep in 24 hours.. but im ok now and the food here is great. we are staying at a pretty nice hotel with a TV. SO far our group arriveled in Guatemala city and rode in a small bus to La Antigua then to Xela. we have visited a cemetary, glass making factory, a small Community school, and many churches. it rained when we took the bus up here but noe its sunny With clouds.. also we met with our group guide named Carlos. hes cool and has our back now matter what.. so basically the 1st few days has been full of food, history learning, and on my part exhaustion... till next time... zach

Collin is in guatemala

well i finally made it to guatemala it was a long journey but definatly worth it. the flights felt long cause i couldnt sleep very well and the plane was super packed. when we arived in Guatemala we were all very tired and we met Carlos our trip leader out side the air port. Carlos is an awsome and very nice peron who takes care of all of us. we left guatemala city and headed for La ANTIGUA IT WAS ONLY ABOUT 45 minutes but the ride was extremely bumpy and i hit my head against the window about 70 times hahahaha just playin. la antigua was a very beautiful city and had a bunch of old buildings. we had breakfast there and it was very good. then we walked aroun for a little bit and had to wait for the checks that carlos and Ms.M will use for our food. that took an hour and i swear i went back to the same resturant and used their bathroom 5 times. they got a little supisous but then we left. it took 4 hours to get to Xela where we spent the night. we finally got to the hotel had dinner and then enjoyred a good night sleep. now its saturday and today was fun we visited a school and played soccer with a few of the kids. then we went to a co-op that was run by women who weaved beautiful cloths. and we went to a glass blowing factory which was cool but it was hot. then we went to a cementary which was cool to take pictures in. bout to go eat some ice cream love yall hope every is well back in the states

We´re having fun, I swear! (Melanie)

Greetings from the beautiful highlands of Guatemala. Melanie reporting here. All your kids are fine. They´re taking good care of me and I´ve been behaving myself.

We were greeted at the airport by sunshine and our Guatemalan trip leader, Carlos Duarte, a photojournalist. We headed right to Antigua where we redefined ¨eating¨ and Carlos talked to us about safety issues in Guatemala. We got our second wind and frolicked on the cobblestone streets of the colonial ex-capital city.

The windy mountain path up to Xela provoked my penchant for motion sickness. I threw up on the side of the road. Nice.

Before coming to Guatemala, we reviewed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. There are 30 universal human rights as defined by the UN. Each student chose 2 human rights that they wanted to focus on while here. Last night at dinner we talked about human rights issues that Guatemala and the US share.

Today we visited the Miguel Angel Asturias School where we learned about their program which is rooted in raising political and social awareness. The director of the school was exiled to Mexico in 1981 for being a student leader speaking out against the government. When he returned to Guatemala, he got his education degree and founded the school. We explored the little school and played soccer with some students (see picture). Then we skimmed the national newspaper for articles that related the human rights we each chose (see picture of Jeremiah and Patrick).
Later we visited a women´s weaving cooperative where we learned about how coops are a form of economic independence. We benefited from a crash course too (see pics).

We just left from a visit to the cemetery where we noticed that many of the tombstones were from deaths that occurred in the 1980s. It was during those years of the infamous civil war that massacres were occurring throughout the highlands.

Note to the parents...Your kids know how to eat. They are wonderful.
Note to teachers...Students are making connections to the readings they´ve done of Rigoberta Menchu and In the Time of the Butterflies.

Estoy en Guatemala!!!!(candice)

Hola! This is Candice and I am writing to you from Xela!!! First off i would like to say that i am not dead. I arrived in Guatemala city safe. Also next on my list i would like to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my grandmother! & hola!! to al my family in the states.
So far this trip has been great. However, the slow bus ride to antigua lasted longer than the flight and we had´nt had a real nights rest till we got to the hotel in another city, which I can´t remember the name of at the moment. When traveling here I had known that there was a lot of poverty, but I hadnt thought that it would slap me in the face as hard as it did. In the past travels, there had been poverty and problems in the society. However, in the place I was isolated in it was different. After talking about the recent conflict I had´nt realized the depth of the problem and how devistating it is. It´s one of thoes things that one would´nt realize or notice if they just read a paper, well you can, but the probelm does´nt stick in your mind. Driving around town you can see the affect the conflict has had on the community.
There are orginizations that are helping to rebuild the people and preserve the culture. Like today, we visited a school that had a philosophy similar to LHS´s, becoming aware of the community and appreciating the culture of the community, but because of the way the government it makes it hard for the students to even be able to survive and go to school, because they have to work to support themselves and or their family.How can the government expect the people to grow and prosper if they can´t get an education, because they have to worry if they are going to live another day? 80 percent of the country is in poverty, 20 percent is not in poverty and 40 percent out of the 80 percent is below the poverty level ( meaning somethink like a family barely can afford one meal a day- even after working 8 or more hours a day)

First Impressions - Patrick

So while my fellow travelers will regale you with detales of our trip and what we saw where I will insted tell you what I see in the streets of this country; a inefficent and racist government, and a lot of poor people.

The problems I can see here stem from a lack of universal education, and a 36 year civil war. It is criminal that children are force to work because of their families poverty. Guatamalas next generation cannot rebiuld from last generatrions war without being properly educated.

Speaking of last generations war, it was the united states that supplied the guatamalian government with fighter bombers, m-16s, grenade luanchers, and napalam. these weapons were then used in a scorched earth policy against the left wing and their supporters in the indigionous population.

I belive it is nessissary to divert 10% from our curent spending on weapons reasearch and design to help guatemala and the other victums of the monroe doctrine in central and south america

Patrick Boileau

zoe here...and i didnt die on the plane, yay!

hi! so im assuming you all know that we arrived safely (although rather tired from sleeping about 30 mins all night). Im in a small internet cafe at the moment. We are having a wonderful time, visiting with school children (i made a goal in soccer, yay!!!) as well as a Mayan women´s weaving cooperatives. We also went to the old capital, Antigua where we saw incredible ancient ruins as well as experiencing a store owner trying to rip me off for the first time. Despite all the amazing things we have seen, it is also clear how poverty-striken these places are, which is very inspiring to us all to learn and do what we can to educate ourselves on situations down here. Everything is going well though, and hoping everything back home is the same. were on our way to lago atitlan tomorrow, very exciting (its a sunken in volcano). till the next time were in an internet cafe, love zoe. (dont be shy, leave some comments, i miss u guys)

to orange (think prom dresses)-
candice and i talked and think it might be a good idea to just talk to betty when we all get back, but keep me posted if she calls u etc. and im glad things with u and bob are good, lets keep it that way.oh yeah, WHAT???? what is this about wanting to talk, noooooooooooooo, what about?...and trust me, you will be a part of it. i miss u like crazy, its not even slightly funny. oh yeah, for future notice, lets communicate by e-mail...i hope ur having fun in www. love u chica. and tell me something interesting that isnt about drama involving us, ok?

Natalie Here!!

So let me tell you, everything is going great!! It is so different over here that i´m not only in amazement but in disbelief. There is a lot of poverty and on the first day of arriving to Guatemala I was in a major culture shock because of the the way things are out here. Just yesterday we were in Antigua and a boy that was about 6 or 7 was walking around asking people if they wanted their shoes polished. As you know he was extremely cute but unfortunetly none of our group could say yes to him because he had millions of friends doing the same job eager to find a person to give them some money. Though there is much poverty I have to say that it is actually very beautiful and hot, I did get a little burned but I hope it turns into a tan. Also if anyone I love or care about is reading this please know that I miss you like crazy and that i´m actually taking things better than I thought I would. Well i´m going to cut this short because i´m writing from an internet cafe and i´m about to go eat some good ice-cream with my group but thanx for stopping by and check daily because I will be keeping track of whom is in contact with me. Also know that its mandatory that you write me because if not then I will Re-Mem-Ber! Haha, I love you all and thanx for stopping by! Come back soon!!! Love, Natalie