About the Program
With a few exceptions, this is independent travel study so you pick the dates; classes typically begin on Mondays. You'll study 1-on-1 for 3 or 4 hours per day either morning or afternoon and can register to receive 6 quarter hours at the 400 or 500 level per week for up to 4 weeks per country. Credits are issued by Heritage Institute and Antioch University Seattle; minimal additional assignments are required for credit, PDU and clock hour options are also available.
Week of July 20th - Live & Learn in Guatemala in either Antigua or San Pedro La Laguna on Lake Atitlán
I'll be flying down a day or 2 ahead and could help get Friday through mid day Saturday arrivers settled with the school in Antigua before heading to San Pedro with anyone interested in studying there. We'll probably leave early Sunday morning (the 20th) for a stop in the highland market town of Chichicastenango and could arrange transport both ways for Antigua week folks interested in joining us.
Week of July 27th - Live & Learn in Guatemala in either Antigua or San Pedro La Laguna on Lake Atitlán
This could be in combination with the previous or following weeks or a stand alone. I will not be in Antigua to meet you but can help with arrangements for transportation and for hotel if you arrive early; I'll be studying in San Pedro and will arrange extra activities for participants there.
Week of August 3rd - Live & Serve in Honduras: A guided culture and adventure trip
I will be starting this trip early Sunday in Guatemala for those who want to meet us or add it to a prior week of study there. Others could fly into San Pedro Sula Honduras on Saturday or Sunday and meet us in Copán Ruinas in western Honduras.
We'll visit the Copán Maya ruins and then have more choices than time: hiking, museums, a coffee tour, an exotic bird park, and hot springs. We'll spend a day on the road checking out sights enroute, then base near La Ceiba for a few nights to choose from outdoor activities in the Pico Bonito Nat'l Forest: rafting, kayaking, horse trips, and waterfall hikes. We'll spend the last few days enjoying outdoor and cultural activities on the island of Roatán: beaches, snorkeling, diving (if you're certified), Garifuna village visits, and steel drum classes.
Cost will depend on how many of us go, on which specific activities you choose, and on our transportation choices. I'll do this trip if I have at least 6 participants; we'll make some decisions affecting cost as a group with specific activity choices left up to individuals.
This week would combine well with a week of Live & Learn Spanish study before or after in Copán, La Ceiba, or (spendier) on the islands of Roatán or Utila or, as mentioned above, in Guatemala.
Week of August 10th - Live & Learn in Guatemala in either Antigua or San Pedro La Laguna on Lake Atitlán
I'll be flying from Roatán to Guatemala City on Sunday the 10th to orient those arriving to study in Antigua, then will head to San Pedro in the afternoon, spending the night in Panajachel and crossing the lake to San Pedro 1st thing in the morning. If you'd rather travel to San Pedro that weekend ahead of me, I can help with arrangements.
In addition, Limitless Horizons Ixil will likely offer their 4th annual guided service learning trip for educators to Chajul, Guatemala in late July or early August, 2014. Here's a link to the info page for the 2013 trip to give you an idea of what those trips include. Live & Serve credit will be available. https://sites.google.com/site/visitlhi/
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- REGISTRATION FORM/Cost & Assignment Summaries
- Cancellation & Liability RELEASE FORM 1
- Heritage RELEASE FORM 2
- SYLLABUS (1st week; syllabi for add'l weeks are similar)
- Course EVALUATION FORM - optional
- PACKING IDEAS
- Pack light site: onebag.com
- "Before you go" list
- CDC TRAVEL HEALTH - Guatemala
- Stacey's Travel Photos with blog and travelogue links
- Academia de Español Antigüeña in Antigua
- Escuela Cooperativa in San Pedro La Laguna, Atitlán
- Heritage Institute/Antioch University Seattle
- Dial-A-Verb with Online Verb Conjugator Link
- Babelfish Online Translator
- Moon Guatemala on Amazon.com
- Rough Guide Guatemala on Amazon.com
- Langenscheidt Spanish/English Dictionary (my favorite) on Amazon.com
- Paradise in Ashes on Amazon.com
- I, Rigoberta Menchu on Amazon.com
- Culture Smart! Guatemala on Amazon.com (customs and etiquette)
- Trip Insurance Search Site
- Addall.com - great used book search engine
- Beca Project (nonprofit)
- Live & Learn in Latin America
Monday morning we headed back into the ruins with a truly fabulous guide, archaeologist Roxy Ortiz (PHOTO 5 - top of Temple 4). She gave us a great background into the history of the site as well as information about the plants and animals. With her help we watched spider monkeys jumping from tree to tree and scrambling on the ruins and spotted rare emerald toucans as well as keel billed toucans, aracaris, oropendolas, and several types of parrots.
Enroute from Tikal to island town of Flores we stopped at Ixpanpajul nature park. Some folks tried out the canopy ziplines (PHOTO 6: Sharon) and Judy and I hiked to the Sky Walk canopy bridges (PHOTO 7: Judy). PHOTO 8 is the large male black howler monkey in a family group we watched at close range from one of the longer bridges.
We checked into our hotel, La Mesa de Los Mayas (The Table of the Mayas), had a dinner out by the lake, and prepared for tomorrow - the end of Live and Learn in Guatemala 2009. In the morning 8 of us will fly to the Guatemala City airport and home and 5 will head by road into Belize. This has been an amazing few weeks with a wonderful, interesting, and interested group of people. If you'd like to follow my adventures into Belize, the new blog starts here (click "Newer Post" at the bottom):
We had just over 3 hours to shop and eat in Panajachel and made lots of purchases since Pana is a great place to shop and many of us had waited to buy gifts and souvenirs until now. Well, honestly, few of us had resisted the urge to buy things earlier, but most of us really went to town with the shopping in Pana (PHOTO 3: me with Juana, a little woman selling beautiful huipiles and other weavings that my friend Sylvia and I purchased from 2 years ago and Rosie and I did this year.)
We loaded into a tour bus again and enjoyed a little show and tell as well as amazing views (PHOTO 4: Pana and the Santiago volcano (I think) from the road. Back in Antigua, we checked into our hotel, Posada La Merced (PHOTO 5: Jeannie, Michon, and Holly), strolled around town (PHOTO 6: street performers doing a conquistador dance) and some of us reconnected with our beloved Benjamin. We walked (PHOTO 7: the ruins of Santa Teresa, I think) to a nice restaurant and had our last meal together (PHOTO 8) since Jodie headed to Guatemala City after dinner to stay close to the airport for an early flight, and Perry is flying home shortly after the rest of us fly to Flores.
The next 3 photos are street scenes. Most of the streets in town are narrow, many too narrow for cars or even tuctucs to drive on. PHOTO 3 shows one of the wider streets but no room to spare; the top of the truck’s windshield says, “We have confidence in God”. As I walked up the street today I saw groups of young people passing an old man who was walking the other way; as each passed him they kissed his hand - very sweet (PHOTO 4). The produce market days in San Pedro are Tuesday and Friday (PHOTO 5).
PHOTOS 6 and 7 show a view of the Cooperativa Spanish school garden (the palapas are the study areas) and the teachers at the school. Each teacher in the school has selected 2 local families who are in grave need of support. Every other Friday students at the Cooperativa school travel to meet the families and take clothing, school supplies, and food; the school buys supplies with tuition money and many of us contributed additional items or money. PHOTO 8 shows a wonderful family that Rosie, Sam, and I visited this afternoon that included 2 of the most beautiful girls I’ve ever seen. The school is also collecting money to build a new home for a local family.
Tonight was the final event of the school Olympiad featuring rhythmic gymnastic routines and lots of trophies for the champion basketball and soccer teams in each age group (PHOTO 9: the littlest ones with more enthusiasm than rhythm).
The San Pedro photos in this blog represent just a fraction of the things that happened this week. Various members of the group went kayaking and/or swimming in the lake, ate out and took families out to eat, enjoyed extra salsa lessons and/or walks in the country, shopped and bought bread and pastries from the ladies combing the streets and restaurants for customers, and found various causes deserving of time and donations. The weeks have flown by and our study time is behind us - in less than 4 days we’ll be going our separate ways. HAPPY TRAILS!
A highlight of my visit to Santiago 2 years ago was an incredibly hard working bucket brigade doing a cement pour on the roof of a building. They were working away again this year (PHOTO 2). I was also able to hire the same guide as last year, Salvador (PHOTO 3); as we each had our picture taken with him the cement workers hollered and whistled - hilarious. We also thought the sign in PHOTO 4 was hilarious: “Urination is prohibited in this place, 100 Q ($12) fine”; La Muni is the municipal government.
PHOTO 5 is Mary Ann, Judy, and me with a tiny Maya woman and her son who sold us beaded jewelry and key chains; her huipil (blouse) is typical of Santiago - woven vertical stripes and richly embroidered with birds. In the background you can see edges of a carnival - you would not believe how rickety the ferris wheels looked or how fast the went. The church, also in the background, has a beautiful wooden alter and a memorial to Father Stanley Roth, an American priest who was devoted to his indigenas parishioners and who was assassinated by the government in 1981.
At 6pm we had a guest speaker at the school who talked about the Maya calendar and view of the world, then a few group folks met for dinner and 4 of us passed a very pleasant hour or 2 in a hot tub. HAPPY TRAILS!
I watched a little more basketball, volunteered at the disability program a bit more, and hiked way up a steep hill (even though no less than 5 people told me it was just around the next corner) to watch some “futbol” (PHOTO 3).
After that I walked back into town and caught a ride in the back of a pickup to San Juan, a neighboring town; I wasn’t hitch hiking, the pickups run every 10 minutes or so both ways and the standard fare is 2 quetzales or about 16 cents. PHOTO 4 is the cemetery in San Juan and PHOTO 5 was taken outside a fabric store. There are also several women’s weaving cooperatives and a cheese “factory”.
This evening the school offered salsa lessons with Luis, one of the instructors at the school (PHOTOS 6, 7 (Jodie), and 8 (Rosie).We also met at a local restaurant for dinner or dessert - another full day. HAPPY TRAILS!
While the population in Antigua is largely Catholic, in San Pedro it’s split between Catholic and Evangelist (PHOTO 4: “Only Jesus can change your life”).
Our days are full of new experiences, like the dog that strolled into the restaurant this evening and raised a leg on Sam, eating fish served with eyes, teeth, and fins intact, and the tuktuk (golf cart taxi) ride that Michon and I shared with the sweet old lady in PHOTO 5; the cost of the photo was her fare.
There are also threads that tie all families and all countries together, like the silly antics of the 3-year-old in Lorenzo’s family (Rosie and Sam’s hosts), Jullisa’s missing teeth and avoidance of vegetables, and coaches and families cheering on their teams. HAPPY TRAILS!
San Pedro La Laguna is 95% indigenas Maya who are native T’zutujil speakers (one of 23 Maya dialects) and who tend to be empathetic and clear Spanish speakers. PHOTOS 3 and 4 show the traditional local attire, common for women but less so for men, mostly seen on older guys. PHOTO 5 is my home away from home, la casa de Micaela y Jose Mendez. HAPPY TRAILS!