March 12, 2006

Trip to the Alta Verapaz Area

We just returned from our second and last field based training. We were able to see a part of Guatemala that we had not yet explored. It was well worth the wait, as it is one of the most beautiful areas of the country by far. We started off on Monday toward Coban. The ecotourism group went to Chilasco, which is in the cloud forest. They took a hike to the largest waterfall in Central America, but unfortunately it wasn't a clear day so the view was not as expected. The environmental education group went straight to Coban to tour a candle making facility run buy the indigenous people and talk to some of the volunteers in the area. The two groups met up in the evening and spent the night in Coban, the third largest city in Guatemala.

Chilasco Cloud Forest

The next day we dropped down into a valley in the jungle and visited Lanquin, an absolutely beautiful town in the middle of nowhere. It was very warm and tropical, unlike where we are living now in the mountains. Kari's group visited a few schools in the area and gave a workshop to students that are studying to become teachers. They also did some small art projects with the kids of a small village school. Meanwhile, Corby's group worked on building some trails and making signage for the park in the area. The highlight was meeting up to take a trip to Semuc Champey and hike to some natural turquoise pools and take a swim for the afternoon. With all the work we've been doing, we have certainly found time to have fun as well.

visiting the Lanquin schools

The pools of Semuc Champey

We finished off our week with presentations and more school visits in Chisec. We also took in a tubing trip down the river. The final event of the week was an interview to determine our future sites. We feel like it is out of our hands at this point, but are eagerly awaiting Thursday, the 16th when we will know our fate for the next two years. We are excited to get out there on our own and work with the people of Guatemala. We have had some great opportunities to explore these past few months and are ready to employ our skills we have learned. We will post our site news as soon as we find out.

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