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We arrived to Pachaj around 4 in the afternoon and collected our thoughts on our last homestay. We then prepared ourselves for a new experience in a new land. Pachaj a small rural town that lies in between large mountains in a fertile valley that is perfect for growing maize. The people of Pachaj are very welcoming and seemed happy to let outsiders experience their culture as they all happily welcomed us into their homes. Almost immediately we experience the rich culture there.

With Semana Santa currently going on, many of us either participated in a procession or attended as it passed by on the dusty streets. The next day we woke up to the sound of the local chicken busses, colorful converted school bus used as public transportation, taking people to and from Pachaj around Quetzaltenango.

We then went to Armando’s tree nursery where we learned our mission to reforest the world. Armando, our host and founder of Chico Mendez Reforestation Project, has carried on the mission of the Brazilian reforestation activist that bears its name. Each day 10 million trees are chopped down and not many are replanted. Trees are one of the main sources of our existence, what are we supposed to do when they disappear? This is the battle Chico Mendez fought for and now we continue his legacy,
through Armando’s guidance. “Say no to weapons,say no to violence,say no to war, say yes to intelligence”. -Armando

-Quincy Rozeff