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¡Soy Dave! An intro to your instructor

Hello Students, Teachers, Families, and Friends!

This is Dave Haffeman writing to you from sunny Boulder, Colorado. I’ve heard so much about MDIHS and the amazing program your teacher, Mrs. Gatz, has developed. I’m so excited to join you on this journey to Guatemala!

I’ve been an instructor with Where There Be Dragons since 2015, working primarily in Bolivia and Peru. I have lived, worked, guided, and traveled in Latin America for many years, and I look forward to returning to Guatemala with you. I remember my first experience traveling in Central America in 2001. I was visiting Honduras with my school, similar to a program you are doing with your school. I had no idea what to expect! My mind raced with anticipation of the journey to come. What would my homestay family be like? Would we be able to understand each other? What if I forget something on the packing list? My questions were soon confirmed: I did forget some things on the packing list, and my homestay family did have trouble understanding me. But it didn’t matter. I joined my homestay father on jaunts into the countryside and to town. I convinced my homestay mom to teach me how to do chores around the house. I quickly learned how to communicate by engaging in daily life, taking advantage of opportunities to talk with locals, and playing the longest ongoing game of charades ever. My Spanish improved immensely, and I found a new direction in life.

I’ve followed the journeys of Guatemala Dragons courses from afar on the Yak Board and in conversations with students and instructors, but this will be my first time in these communities. I look forward to sharing my knowledge and experience of my travels but also learning alongside you about these incredible people and places. What an amazing experience to be a part of an instructor team with Nicté and Juancho! I’m grateful to them for inviting us to their communities, teaching us about Guatemala, and sharing their stories.

See you all soon in Guatemala!

Dave