It's All Good

Sorry everyone for no blog going up yesterday, WiFi issues prevented our usual daily summary from going up. So here comes a late edition of yesterday's blog.

We took a break from our normal daily routine for a special day trip, as we went to Guatemala City for the day. We were met early in the morning by our tour guide Matt, who was from the Safe Passage organization. Safe Passage operates out of Guatemala City, and their mission is to improve the lives of the families living in the garbage dump there. The dump in Guatemala City is one of the largest in the world, and thousands of people work and live within it, most earning less than $4 a day.

Safe Passage was established to give the children there a place to go to school, and has grown into a preschool, primary/secondary school, health clinic, and mothers program where single mothers who live in the dump can make and sell homemade merchandise. We got to tour all of this, and spent all morning taking it in. From the cemetery around the dump where there are giant tombs mixed in with the simple wooden crosses, to the dump itself, to the school, it was a really enriching experience for everyone. Nick interviewed a lot of people about it, so you'll probably see some good video footage when we get back of the whole day (He's also fine, sorry Nick's mom for the scare). We had lunch at the Safe Passage school with the kids, and then headed back on the winding roads to Antigua. (More information on Safe Passage can be found at: http://www.safepassage.org/)

When we got back to the house, we took quick naps and then got ice cream and roamed the markets, before heading back to Mari's for an early dinner. Immediately following dinner, one of Mike's friends who lives close by named Patricia stopped by to tell us about what she does here in Antigua. She works as an advocate for disabled people in Guatemala, as they have very few laws here that help disabled people at all. In addition to a lack of laws, the culture here sees disabled people as either a curse, or punishment, so disabled children are looked down upon and left on there own. Patricia operates a house where three disabled men, each with incredibly sad stories, live with the assistance of volunteers. She is planning to expand to a larger house soon where she can take in more people, and continue to improve their lives. Patricia also teaches at a school for the learning disabled and physically disabled in a small village near Antigua, where she built the school specifically to give disabled children the chance to get an education. It was a really interesting talk that made us all realize how different things are here from the US.

The GuateSquad then went out to a local cafe to see one of Mike's friends perform some guitar songs while having some pretty awesome pizza. We racked up quite the bill, much to Mike's chagrin, but it was all okay in the end as we had a great time. There was a big bonfire and we all relaxed under the stars for a while before heading back to the house to get to sleep.

Now we're off on today's activities, we'll let you know what happens tonight!

Hasta luego,

A/K

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