Life in the Clouds

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Manna Project International
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The mammoth Volcán Atitlán can either be seen clearly from our window in Sololá, or the view from our window can be nonexistent; the clouds can become so overpowering that you can’t even see anything at all. You could literally look out the window and see a world of white. This is due to the fact that it’s currently the rainy season in Guatemala, and the weather can change at the drop of the hat.
The weather in Sololá reminds me of the vast range of emotions that I’ve experienced during my four weeks working with Manna Project International. I have gone through waves of homesickness and have rode the highs of happiness, and even have had moments of steady coasting, floating through with moments of numbness that have resulted from seeing or learning things that I almost couldn’t fathom to even be real. Like riding down the highway in a pickup truck or chicken bus – never knowing if I will make it out alive! I have gone through some of the hardest and some of the best experiences of my life in these few, short weeks. From climbing Volcán Tajumulco – the tallest volcano in Central America – in the frigid, pouring rain, to the gratifying and heart swelling feeling of getting farewell hugs from the fourth graders after my last class teaching After School English, I’ve felt it all.
This last week in Guatemala started off with an adventure: zip lining (a first for me) and seeing some of the cutest jet-black monkeys swaying through the reserve at Lake Atitlán. The rest of the week has consisted of some last minute shopping, awesome restaurant excursions, teaching at the schools in Chaquijyá of course, and a final cultural competence training. Tomorrow we will leave bright and early for our day trip to Antigua, and then four of us interns will head back to the states bright and early Saturday morning.

I can’t believe that my time here in Guatemala has already come to a close. This trip cannot be summed up in one blog entry, let alone a few paragraphs. I have experienced a lot of intellectual as well as personal growth during these 4 weeks. Being thrust into a third world country and having to quickly adapt is tougher than I expected, but I am a lot stronger of a person now that I’ve come out on the other side. I have become a more grateful and appreciative person; I am truly blessed, and now I grown to value the little things in life. After seeing that the Mayan indigenous groups sometimes don’t even have running water has really put my life into perspective. Even my patience and tolerance have developed; I feel as if I am a more accepting person. I am very grateful for my experience here in Guatemala. I saw and lived in a new part of the world that many people will never have the pleasure of visiting. I truly am lucky, and even though homesickness was present at first, confidence and certainty quickly emerged from behind the clouds.
-Lauren T.

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