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07 Jun 2014
I cannot believe that this is our last day in Guatemala! We taught English to the teachers in the schools this morning. We also gave them an English curriculum/lesson plans that they can use to teach their students in the future! That was the project that we have been working on throughout the past couple of weeks. The teachers seemed very excited to have the English lessons to keep as a reference. We are...
06 Jun 2014
So far, this week has not been the most thrilling week of our time here -- I think that's pretty safe to say. We have experienced a "tropical depression," also known as Boris. We have been unable to go down to Panajachel because of the very real fear of mudslides and the closing of major streets. We have been unable to teach our dental health classes in Chaquijyá because school has been cancelled due to...
01 Jun 2014
            It’s hard to believe our final week in Guatemala is about to begin. Time has truly flown these past three weeks. Although this last week was plagued by the traveling stomach bug throughout the house, everyone has been keeping up good spirits and making the most of our dwindling days here. I absolutely love teaching los parvulos and will miss their crazy energy and...
28 May 2014
My experience in Guatemala so far has been so amazing. Guatemala itself is so beautiful, which I appreciate during every walk or car/bus ride we take. The people here are also so friendly and welcoming. Whether we are in Sololá, Pana, Chaquijyá, or a town we are visiting for the weekend, there are so many amazing things to see and do as well as interesting people to meet. Teaching English at the schools in the...
21 May 2014
We have now spent our first week in Guatemala. I am not sure what I expected my experience to be like, but being exposed to some of the effects of extreme poverty has greatly impacted me. Throughout the spring semester, we Visage students studied the history and culture of Guatemala, however no readings in the classroom can make quite the same impact as observing the consequences of centuries of oppression and...
30 Jun 2013
Last week we celebrated Día del Maestros at Cooperativa. The kids all made up dances and performed them in front of the teachers. We had the privilege of sitting on the raised area with the rest of the teachers of the school overlooking the area where the students were performing. It was a great honor and feeling that they considered us just as important as the teachers working at the school. It was also amazing...
08 Jun 2013
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...
04 Jun 2013
As my time in Guatemala is coming to an end, we have officially entered the rainy season and the students are currently taking their quarterly exams. Because of exams, Nutrition, my original program, was cancelled. I didn’t learn this until I arrived at school bright and early this morning. Don’t fret, though. Manna was also running two art classes, so I had the opportunity to help out with that instead.I am...
20 Apr 2013
The beginning of the fourth quarter in Guatemala has marked a time for closing doors and opening new ones.  Nicole and Ja had been working with the Basico English program since they arrived in July teaching English classes at the middle school in Central.  Over time we decided that it would be best to equip a teacher from the school to teach these classes, to align with our belief that training a teacher...
16 Apr 2013
This past week was pretty busy, planning for the arrival of summer interns, finishing up the quarter, and preparing for our programs. Our first group of summer interns arrives on May 11th, only a few short weeks away. Julie and I are hard at work planning for their arrival--creating budgets, arranging transportation, etc. We are also in the process of developing a few short-term pilot programs that the interns will...
01 Mar 2013
Hi everyone! Just wanted to let you know that blog updates on this particular page may decrease this month... but don't you worry. We've got four awesome groups coming from universities in the States to spend a week with us in Chaquijyá: Vanderbilt - March 2-9UGA & UNC - March 10-17UAB - March 17-24 The great thing is, you're going to hear about their experiences straight from them! If you notice at the top of...
27 Feb 2013
Here is the long-awaited PD interview of Nicole Altamura! One of our co-PDs, Julie Barwig, has done a fantastic job editing and putting this video together. So without further ado, here it is. Hope everyone enjoys! -Ja
01 Feb 2013
2013 has begun full force and I can hardly believe that it is already February!  Since we got back after the holiday break we have been working to start fresh by re-organizing programs, including creating new ones and leaving others behind.  As life goes, nothing ever works out exactly as planned, so we have had to make various modifications to the goals we set before break.  Striking a balance...
20 Jan 2013
Happy School Year!Love,MPI-G 2013 PDs
16 Jan 2013
Well, that time is upon us. It's that time where you have to start thinking about summer and post-graduation plans. Or, in our case, post-Manna plans. It can be sad to think about moving on... but it doesn't have to be!Come hang out in Guatemala, Nicaragua, or Ecuador for the summer or for a year! (Or, if you know someone who may be interested, please pass along this amazing opportunity.) Summer interns can stay...
12 Jan 2013
Hey there, my name is Julie Barwig. I have just joined Nicole, Ja, and Sarah here in Guatemala. This past December I graduated from the University of Georgia, where I learned a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and International Affairs.  I’m so excited to be back in Central America. I spent the previous summer interning in Panama and a spring break in Nicaragua with the UGA campus chapter of Manna. I’m...
12 Dec 2012
We just returned from our 2nd retreat, and this time we went to the tranquil little town of San Marcos right on the beautiful Lake Atitlan! It had such a calm and relaxing effect on me & I loved every minute of it. We arrived Tuesday noon, just in time for lunch. After getting settled into our hotel  Bosque Encantado (Enchanted Forest, which it really was), we had lunch followed by development and program...
30 Nov 2012
Yesterday was the last day of camp!  It was an eventful day because we had another guest visitor, Alberto, a friend of mine from Cuba who is a professional actor and artist.  He conducted two theatre workshops for the kids, first with the younger kids and then the older ones.  I was so impressed with how the students responded to the workshop because some of them are generally very shy and are...
14 Nov 2012
Today marks the 4 months I have spent as a Program Director in Guatemala. I waiver daily whether it feels much longer than four months or much less. Regardless, it's hard to imagine how different my perspective would be, without being a part of this experience. On the ground. Making relationships with the community. Collaborating input on projects and programs. Working together to make these inputs come to life....
12 Nov 2012
Thanks to the lovely Jessica, you've already seen some snapshots of camp this week. So instead of more camp photos, I've got some fun new Bottle School photos to share with you! Since we are working our camp at Central through Thursday, we have been able to watch the construction efforts every day. It is especially exciting because our camp is environment-themed, and this project exemplifies one of the biggest...
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