Wow. Six weeks have gone by. It’s nearly over and I’m not sure where to begin. We have settled in to our final location in Guatemala City, our last stop on this journey before we have to say our goodbyes. We are surrounded by pine trees, city sounds, and most importantly by each other. After 2 weeks of individual homestays in San Juan la Laguna, it is comforting to be back together as one single Dragons clan.
This last chapter is called transference. It is a time marked by reflection: first looking back at our experiences together in Guatemala and then looking forward to our separate futures.
So how did we get here?
Good question. Since many of you will likely be wondering exactly where your child traveled and what exactly they did over the last 6 weeks, the instructors have made an interactive resource to chart our travels. Check it out!
During our six weeks together, we have been on a journey that highlights the diversity of Guatemala’s experiences, peoples, customs, and cultures. From the jungles of Petén to the beaches of Livingston, and the shores of Lake Atitlán, we learned alongside people from all walks of life. Ex-combatants of the armed conflict, Afro-Guatemalan Garifuna peoples from the Carribean coast, Maya Q’eqchi’ in Rio Dulce, Tz’utujil peoples on Lake Atitlan, K’iche’ and Kaqchikel populations in the Western Highlands have all shared unique perspectives of cultural preservation and resistance in the face of hundreds of years of repression.
That’s how we got here. But what about looking forward?
Today, our final activities together address the difficulty of putting such a profound and life altering experience into words that can be shared with loved ones at home. This is not an easy task.
Be patient! Summarizing the impact and learning from this trip for students is not going to happen all at once. In fact, students will continue processing this experience long after they say their goodbye tomorrow morning.
Loved ones at home, take a deep breath and just listen. As students share their stories, friendships and emotions with you all, keep in mind that you are just as much a part of this “transference” as we are. Appreciate this gift. We definitely appreciate you.