Thursday, October 13, 2011

The weekend before we left for Pachaj, Julianne and I decided we needed a break! We found a group of people we had met throughout the month and took a shuttle to Monterrico, a beach town on the Pacific coast. There, we relaxed, caught some sun, swam, and took in a breathtaking sunset. (see above)

From there, we headed to Pachaj- a very rural town about thirty minutes outside of Xela. We lived in Pachaj to get a better idea of what a rural part of Guatemala looks like. Julianne and I lived with a family of seven: Great grandmother, grandmother, two daughters, one son-in-law, and two little boys, Benjamin and Bryan. This Mayan family was very sweet and spoke not only Spanish, but also Quiche, an indigenous language (I picked up a few phrases- but not too many, because my head was so full of Spanish!). Jackie and Austin lived with another Mayan family of four. (see Julianne and I's family above)

While in Pachaj, we participated in more cultural experiences. One day, we were given a tour of Xela (very helpful for me!), another day, we talked about the 30-year war and the conflict between Catholic and Evangelical churches. We relaxed one day, and then we visited one of my favorite sites thus far: Fuentes Georginas. Fuentes Georginas are a set of natural springs in Zunil, about an hour outside of Xela. This was a much needed relaxing morning, and I enjoyed it thoroughly! (see above)

The next morning, I would have participated in a Mayan ceremony with the rest of the girls…but I was in bed nursing a terrible bought with food poisoning. The only conclusion we have come to is that Austin and I drank some homemade juice with fruit that had been cut with a dirty knife. Julianne and Jackie never came down with the issues Austin and I had- and it only took about 24 hours for both of us to recover. Attached is a picture of the outhouse I had to use during this time… I will spare you all the details, but it was probably the worst place to come down with food poisoning! (Above: infamous toilet above; below: our second Spanish school in Pachaj)

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