Serving, Exploring, and Developing Guatemala: Part 2 of 2
Last week’s entry described the journey of service that some of the young women of Discovery Ranch for Girls (DRG) take each year when they travel to Guatemala. Outdoor Recreation Director, David Mosse plans and supervises these trips. Because of the experience of service and cultural exploration, the girls develop new levels of insight when they participate in these trips.
A Day Without Teaching
There was one day the girls did not teach their English class. They could not teach, because it was Mother’s Day in Guatemala! In Guatemala, Mother’s Day is a big event. The school was closed so the kids could decorate and put on performances for their mothers. The kids showed incredible gratitude and love for their mothers.
David described the rest of their day in great detail:
After lunch, we drove even further into the mountains to meet with a woman who has been making handmade clay pots for over 40 years! The process she underwent to make these pots with little more than her hands was amazing. She started by gathering the clay from 2 miles away. Then she dried it and crushed it into a fine powder by hand. She then formed the pots by hand without the aid of a wheel!
The stone she used to crush the clay was well over 100 years old. It had been used by her mother’s mother. She patiently showed us how to crush the clay, and form it into blocks. She let each girl attempt to form a clay pot. It was such an amazing experience. We ended the evening with a check-in accompanied by a wonderful rainstorm. The sound of rain lulled us all to sleep as it fell on the metal roof of the building.
Immersed in Culture
On Thursday, the girls had the opportunity to see the Iximche Mayan ruins. After the tour of the ruins, the girls got to participate in a Mayan Fire Ceremony. The purpose of the Mayan Fire Ceremony is to cleanse, heal and give protection to those involved. It is one of the ways the people of Guatemala stay connected to their Mayan ancestry. At the ceremony, the girls learned their Mayan symbols, which are similar to animal totems found in Native American Culture. On their final full day in Guatemala, the girls had the opportunity to visit Antigua, the original Spanish Colonial capital of Guatemala. In Antigua, the girls got to experience an authentic Guatemalan market. At the market, the girls got to interact with the locals, as well as try their hand at negotiating prices on items with the sellers.
There was so much for the girls to take away from their trip to Guatemala; from all the culture and history they learned, to see the positive impact compassion and service can have on others. For many of our girls who get to go on the trip, it is an experience like no other.