Monday, March 31, 2014
Here is a short video of the boys playing basketball with new friends from colegio antigueño. If you listen closely you may hear the girls cheering on the boys. The boys were blushing and were barely brave enough to introduce themselves to allllll the pretty girls cheering them on. But shhhhh.... don't tell them I told you they were shy, they have an "image" they want to uphold. Lol!!
So after a full day of classes and volunteering the boys managed to still play soccer with the kids, then asked it I could take them to a nearby basketball court. Since we had two hours before dinner and it was still daylight we all went to the basketball court. There we found a local high school in the middle of a PE class in which they were learning how to play basketball. The teacher was so happy to see our young men that he invited them to play against his students. The girls in the class sat on the sidelines and cheered for both teams, we were "cordially invited" to visit them at their school colegio antigueño, but we are already planning to visit students at colegio Boston. If it's possible to visit both we will try.
Here is a map of the city and our locations. Dr Malik and Ms Venisee are in house #1. I'm in house #6 (the furthest from the school). And the students are in homes #2- #5. We are all within blocks of each other and within blocks from the school. As the furthest it takes me 10 minutes to walk to the school.
Everyone just finished exchanging money at the bank $1 USD = $7.6 Guatemalan Quetzals. Great math and budgeting lesson!
We're all currently with our hosts for lunchtime and will meet at the school at 1:45 to head to our volunteer site. We will be there from 2-5 each weekday According to Carlos they are extremely excited to have us volunteering with them, the town is smaller than Antigua so they don't get to meet many foreigner. Ha! For 2 weeks we get to be "the foreigners". The kids are looking forward to meeting their "big brothers".
Keep checking the blog for those posts and pix!
Yesterday after eating and McDonald's we sat in the main park and watched the different processions go by. The park was filled with families hanging out and spending time together for the holiday season here.
Once the sun started to set we all decided to visit each other's homes so we can all know where each person is located and also so I could meet and speak to each host mom. Most host families have been hosting students from around the world for 20+ years, none of the families are new to this and they enjoy sharing their home as and love with others. Each boy is living in a lovely home with nice people. So please no worries.
We all woke up to a cool morning in Antigua. We were all served breakfast at our assigned host families and met at the school at 8am. Everyone told me thatthey slept well and ate well. Once everyone arrived at school they all met their Spanish teachers and were divided into groups by level.
Amadou Bah and Ms Venisee, advanced level
Amadou Bah and Dr Malik-beginners
During class we are going to walk to the bank to exchange our money to Quetzals and tonight after dinner we will play a soccer game versus the teachers!
The school directors Brenda and Carlos are taking great care of us here. We just put together a solid itinerary that will work with the many processions around town and the traffic that comes with it.
I will post the updated itinerary later today once we have the exact day/ time we will meet out penpals this week. And I will post my Guatemalan phone number when I get the SIM card I need.
Below you will see pix of my breakfast.
Sunday, March 30, 2014
We have arrived in Guatemala City and the learning experience began immediately. The boys now know all about immigration and custom procedures. As soon as we exited we saw Mayan women with babies strapped on their back, children begging for money, and backpackers headed out to explore new lands. Brenda, our coordinator for Spanish Academy Sevilla, was there waiting for us with a huge smile and 2 vans to transport us to Antigua. What would normally be a 45 minute drive will be an hour and a half due to Catholic religion processions through the country. Looks like the BEST boys will also learn about world religions first hand! Full immersion programs are the BEST!! Teaching across the curriculum happens all day everyday, but it's all in ESPANOL!
Our ride to Antigua took about an hour. There were pockets of traffic that felt like the stand still Atlanta traffic, but we made it sooner than previously thought. The precession moved to the other side of town creating a small window of time in which we could slip into the city's entrance. Most students were able to be dropped off at the doorsteps of their new homes but some had to be met by their host moms and escorted to the family homes that were blocked off by the procession. We were able to get a look at the very silent procession of men dressed in purple robes. Our students did a great job of also being respectfully quiet.
After dropping things off at host families, students were walked to the school by their host moms. At the school we were given a quick intro to the school and the main directors. At this point we were all starving and more than ready to eat. According to the director the host families do not serve meals on Sunday (what?!?!) and we would have to eat out. However the bank were all closed so we couldn't exchange cash and the only place to accept debit/ credit cards was mcdonalds. I told the boys don't get used to eating American food. Since the boys only have cash that can't be exchanged today, the teacher paid from their debit/ credit cards to make sure we were all well feed.
Parents if you are reading this and plan on sending money to your child via western union please send it in my name Erica Pereira. They will not give minors the money. So i will get it on their behalf and give it directly to them.
As soon as I can upload video of the procession i will. I guarantee you will be amazed.
The lady sleeping on Marcus was a friend of people at the school and caught a ride with us from Guatemala City to Antigua. Marcus got to see first had that this is a "close" culture. Thank you Marcus for being a trooper and letting her rest on your shoulder!!!
Below are my first few pix taken in Antigua.
After a very early 4am check-in we all passed through security and boarded our plane for our short layover in Ft lauderdale. Most of us slept on the flight, but now we are all fully awake at the Ft Lauderdale airport.
Special thanks to all the parents for getting the boys to the airport on-time. We all also appreciate all the people, organizations and law firms who have made individual, and group, donations to all our young travelers. We hope that our fellow teachers, classmates, and administrators at BEST are checking our blog from time to time to join us in this valuable learning experience. We will represent you all well while in Guatemala.