October 8, 2007

Trip to Chiapas, Mexico

We've been bogged down with work lately and feeling like our "Close of Service" date that is only about 6 months away is looming, as we're trying to complete various projects. I recently finished up a community tourism training class with a group young people from the neighboring town of Benpec el Castaño which had been keeping us tied down every Saturday for the last few months. We are also pushing to finish a construction project, where the local youth group (JAGUAR) is adding on a study space to their community library. We are in the thick of organizing the scholarship program for the school year that starts next January. Kari is busy with designing some eco-tourism promotional material and website improvements for the Laguna Lachuá National Park. Kari and Nicole have had a few meetings to try to create a young girls group to help promote leadership and self-esteem. Of course there are lots of other important community project ideas that have always been delayed, with the thought "we'll have more time for that later".

I'm also thinking about trying to soak up as much as I possibly can from our precious little remaining time....I've never taken the hike to Rocja Pomtila from Salacuim through the thick of the jungle, I haven't learned more than basic conversations in the Q'eqchi' language, we've never traveled to Xela on the other side of the country, I've only hiked up 1 of the 20 volcanoes higher than 2000 meters in Guatemala.

So, last weekend we made a quick get away to Chiapas, Mexico with our site mate Nicole. I had heard about a National Park called the Lagunas de Montebello that wasn't supposed to be very far from our site. We left early in the morning on Saturday and got to a town called Tziscáo in the afternoon. On the way we crossed the dusty, unmanned border crossing near the town of Ingenieros, Guatemala and spent the rest of the weekend wondering if anybody would check for a stamp in our passports. The Mexican side of the border greeted us with paved roads, a nearly empty micro-bus, and a semi-cautious driver (now that's what I call a developed country). The scenery was beautiful and we found a little cabin to stay at right next to a sweet little lake. Here are a few pictures from the trip....

Kari on one of the famous rafts made from the local cork trees.

View from 5 Lakes lookout

Kari and I at one of the lakes

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