Blog . Final Blog Post from Guatemela
Hi, everyone. This is Max Beers with my last blog post from Guatemala. Looking back on some of my experiences and some of my footage, I’m excited for going home and seeing loved ones, but at the same time I will miss my home-stay family in Antigua and the community with whom we were working in San Miguel Duenas. I already can’t wait to come back some day. What was to be our final workday today, was cancelled due to a tropical storm, massive amounts of rain, and local flooding. Therefore Logan, our liaison with Constru Casa, stopped by at our home-stay today to say good bye, and to give us our volunteer paperwork. My Kent State colleague, Dustan and I plan on getting our rain jackets on and spending one last evening wondering around Antigua. In the morning, I’m going to be picked up at 8:30 a.m. to head to the airport in Guatemala City! Here are some final reflections from on the ground here in Guatemala:
Q: Describe the different ecosystems you have visited, and include one impactful experience with nature that you have had in each of them.
A: Well, a lot of the natural areas consist of highlands, volcanoes and valleys. The plant life is tropical and the temperature ranges from 60-95 F during the day, but at night it cools down (perfect after a hard day’s work). During the rainy season (as now), it typically rains in the afternoon and brings the temperature down, which is nice.
Q: How has this service and videography trip abroad been a window for you? How has it been a mirror?
A: Seeing and documenting Guatemala through a viewfinder for the past two weeks has been an experience I will never forget. It is sort of like a window, because you can choose to be outside interacting doing the service part, or you can also be inside observing behind the camera. The experience also has been like a mirror of myself - how much I truly take for granted of what I possess.
Q: What (and/or who) will you miss the most when you leave?
A: I will miss the families, and especially the children who welcomed us so generously and let us play some fun games of soccer. I will also miss the farm fresh food, beautiful weather, and cultural atmosphere!
Q: How do you plan to stay connected with the country, the culture, and/or specific people?
A: Well, from what I hear, sending mail from the States to Guatemala typically gets lost. But with having a “base camp” like Constru Casa and helpful people in the organization, such as Logan, I will be able to email and get a response quickly. That will be my primary way of communicating with the families with whom we worked, side by side.
Q: What do you anticipate as your greatest "re-entry" challenges, upon returning to U.S. culture?
A: Well one thing that might be a challenge for me may be the switch back to an English-speaking culture. I have developed a habit now of asking questions in Spanish. I find myself starting to understand more now, when people are talking back and forth in Spanish.
Q: At this time, looking back on your two weeks in Guatemala, what are the three main highlights that come to mind?
A: One would be when I arrived in Guatemala City and was completely amazed and overwhelmed with the culture that surrounded me. Two is when we put the roof on the first house and everyone just looked at it with amazement. Three is when I jumped out of my kayak in Lake Atitlán into the clear refreshing water, swimming up to the surface and seeing a huge lake surrounded by beautiful volcanoes.
Post script: Please stay tuned to this blog as my CIA colleague, Akeem Pennicooke, and I move into the post-production phase of editing the documentary over the summer. And thank you all, everyone, for your support and encouragement, and making this videography project and service trip even possible.