jueves, 17 de mayo de 2012

Learning Continues to Happen...More pictures of spanish class

Gunner, despite missing the first week, has jumped right in!!
What a fantastic Spanish school this.  I along with many others I believe will truly miss all the great people here upon our departure on Saturday!  The owners, Rolando y Nora are some of the best people imaginable and all the teachers are professional, patient and competent.  All of us have learned a tremendous amount of Spanish!

These are the fantastic owners of the school, Rolando and Nora.

A view of the lively Street the School is located on.  Just down the street is a fantastic Panederia, where you can buy fresh bread and pastries.
Josh plays an interactive game with his teacher!
Playing Scrabble in Spanish!

Occasionally two teacher will get together with their students to change up the class.

Sara working hard!
Students engaged in learning the Spanish.

Hot Springs

Yesterday afternoon, after classes everyone went to an amazing hot spring in the jungle.  We started our afternoon with and bumpy 40 min. mini bus ride past some traditional Mayan villages up to the hot spring.  The ride, while scenic, did get a number of kids, and me a little car sick, but we made it without a problem.  The hot spring is located a totally different ecosystem than Xela.  It's a full on tropical cloud forest, a jungle really, complete with multi-level canopy and huge leafed trees, mosses, and ferns.  What a spectacular place.  There are a number of pools to relax and soak in.  In the afternoon a huge thunderstorm came in soaking the place!  It was great!

This hot spring was completely wiped out by a flash flood just years earlier and then rebuild.

Students enjoy a cold coca-cola in the restaurant
Ariana is able to withstand one of the hottest pools.  Notice, anyone else in this pool?

Traditional Mayan Textiles

The last few days in Guatemala have been been filled with fantastic outings.  Students continue to study with their teachers for 5 hours each morning.  On the hike up the volcano the other day, I encouraged students to talk to each other in Spanish only, and students took me up on the offer.  It is amazing how much conversational Spanish everyone can now speak!!  On Monday afternoon, students had an afternoon off to do laundry and relax.  Many students spent the afternoon exploring the city.

On Tuesday afternoon, we went to a Mayan village.  We were allowed the special privilege of entering the house of a family who makes rugs, clothing and other woven handicrafts in the traditional Mayan way!  This family has been creating textiles using only natural and traditional methods in their family for over 6 generations.  Students got a chance to actually help in the process of creating wool yarn from raw sheered wool, and participated in the actual weaving using machines that have not changed in 150 years!  All the spectacular colors are naturally made from plants, insects, bark and rocks.  Afterward the family served us corn tortillas and queso fresco that they make themselves.  Afterward, everyone had the chance to buy some  of these incredible items.
Hannah helps turn sheered wool into yard!!
Here, The head of the household explains how the wool is dyed using all natural materials which are layed out on the table in front of him.  Behind him, you can see the myriad of wool bundles that are already dyed and ready to be used in the weaving machine.
This weaving machine is over 150 years old!!  Here, Ariana works with the son.  Everyone in the family works everyday and the designs, which are ancient and symbolic within Mayan culture are kept and passed down through memory only.
Check out these spectacular natural colors!

lunes, 14 de mayo de 2012

Mayan ruins, a coffee farm, y la piscina

 Sunday was a very big day.  We drove down near the southern coast to visit some Mayan ruins - some of the oldest Mayan ruins discovered to date - believed to be the beginning of the Mayan civilization.  Thursday's lecture on the Mayan calendar and "cosmo-vision" was essential for understanding the tour and the significance of what we saw.

A group shot at a lookout on the coffee farm... 

 Y, por fin, la piscina!


On Saturday, we hiked for several hours around Santa Maria volcano to "el mirador" - a perfect (and safe) viewpoint of an active part of the volcano that erupts every half hour or so.  It spews out gas high into the air that is almost 600 degrees celsius!
The hike back down...

Vamos XELA!

So we had a great opportunity to go to a semi-final soccer game and Xela won!  Xela made it to the finals and will be playing this week.  It was super-divertido (super-fun). 

domingo, 13 de mayo de 2012


Hello Moms!

We returned quite late from a full day of visiting Mayan ruins and a coffee farm down near the southern coast.  We had intended to return in time for students to send a quick "Happy Mother's Day" email, but ended up getting back several hours later than we anticipated.  So on behalf of all of them:


We will try to provide opportunities for students to send emails out to you tomorrow, but we have another full day and there may not be time for everyone to get on the computer.