Laughing and Learning

By Kaley Fehr
This last weekend some of us took the opportunity to climb Central America’s third highest mountain, Volcan Acatenango. It was a strenuous six-hour hike up, the first hour being the hardest. Once we made it to base camp we ate some spaghetti around a fire and watched Volcan Fuego erupt beside us all evening.  After a cold night in our tents, we rose at 4am to hike to the summit and watch the sun rise – the most spectacular panoramic view I’ve ever seen. Some of the group also took on the challenge of climbing part way up Volcan Fuego, the active one. It was an unforgettable journey of us pushing ourselves and being in awe of God’s grandeur displayed in nature. Definitively, a life-giving experience.

 

Afterwards, however, it was very nice to settle back in with our host families, feel a bit more at home, and be able to rest. The rest of the week, spent in San Juan del Obispo, was a fairly regularly scheduled week. Spanish classes, service projects, PMG afternoon, and small groups. In addition we had our very own site talent show, took part in a dance class, had a Knowing Yourself session with Brette, and had an impactful visit to an organization doing justice work in Guatemala City.

The talent show wasn’t entirely prepared nor did it turn out the way it was expected to, but it was lots of fun. Each small group performed an act, along with several individual and group acts. It was more like a comedy show…so collectively our best talent is making each other laugh.

For a cultural activity we went into Antigua for a salsa and merengue dance class. Turns out we all can dance, and I believe everyone enjoyed it.

In the Knowing Yourself, we focused on self-care and spent time thinking about how we can recharge ourselves from our different kinds of tired.
We visited an international Christian organization in Guatemala City that works toward justice and healing in the issue of child sexual abuse and exploitation. They have taken the initiative to bring together police, lawyers, the church, and society to start a discussion where there was none in the past. They have fought to implement the first mandatory training for police on the issue of child sexual abuse. We were given a presentation, a tour of the office, and the opportunity to meet the different organizational departments and see how it all works together. Many of us left feeling empowered, believing that there is change happening in the world and that we too can be a part of it. This excursion was the highlight of my week.
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