The great adventure is less than three weeks away – can you believe it? We are super excited and are working each day to make sure this trip will be an unforgettable experience for everyone. To give all of us a head start, we would like you to do some preparation as well. In this Yak, you will find a couple of assignments that will allow you to be more than just a tourist in Guatemala from day 1. Please take the time to complete these assignments before departure – we promise they are all super interesting!
First of all, we’re sure you can’t wait to finally speak your first words in Spanish – or to use it again if you already know a bit. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to learn and speak once we are in Guatemala, but why not start now? We strongly recommend you try duolingo, an app that helps you in a fun way with the first steps of learning Spanish. There is also plenty of great music to get you in the mood. We really like Calle 13 and Bomba Estereo! Not in Spanish, but about as cool as it gets, is this Tz’utujil Mayan rap video made by artists from San Juan la Laguna, the town where we will have our long homestays.
We also want to encourage you to watch the documentary “When the Mountains Tremble.” It’s a bit heavy, but gives a good overview of Guatemala’s long civil war, the repercussions of which are still felt in some of the communities which we will visit and the country as a whole. When you watch the film, you’ll meet Rigoberta Menchú, a Quiche Mayan woman who grew up very close to San Juan Cotzal, where we’ll stay towards the end of our course. She wrote an autobiography, telling the story of her people’s plight, and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992. Here are some passages from her book.
Finally, we, the instructors, will reach out to you over the phone in the coming days. We know that you’ve already been talking with folks at Dragons, but now you can talk with the people you’re actually going to be traveling with. We’d like to hear your voices, give you a chance to ask questions, and get to know each other a little. Please check your email so we can schedule a call.
We look forward to reading your introductions on our Yak board (don’t forget to include a nice photo or two!) and we look forward to seeing you in person in just over two weeks!
Jochen, Este, and Itzá