Day 1 (The Journey to Quetzaltenango-Xela)
The crew woke up at 7:00, some of them (Marisol, Hailey, Schuyler, and Walter) got up a little earlier to take a dip in the hotel swimming pool. To their surprise, the water was not heated, so they definitely had a refreshing swim.
We then packed up the bus and headed for our home city of Quetzaltenango, otherwise known as Xelajú or Xela. The trip lasted about five hours and we arrived at our hotel, Hotel Modelo, at around noon. When we unloaded, we met to discuss our safety procedures, went through our first aid kits, and discussed our emergency plan. Although we do not anticipate any issues, we believe that it is certainly better to be over prepared than not.
Following this brief meeting, we then had lunch in the hotel restaurant. The starter was a delicious vegetable soup, and then they had a choice of either a vegetarian dish, steak, or octopus and pasta. The group was very adventurous, evenly trying both the steak and octopus, agreeing that the octopus was cooked to perfection.
After lunch, the students were introduced to the two Habitat families, whose houses we will be working on beginning tomorrow. The families and we spent a little over an hour together and we had a chance to speak with them. Each one of our students introduced themselves in Spanish and gave the families a brief description of their role on this trip.
In our free time, we took the students out to run some errands, and get Guatemalan cash, which are called Quetzales, from the ATM machines. While we were out, we happened to view a procession in commemoration of the beginning of the Lenten season. There was smell delicious street food in the streets, but please know the students did not eat any. We finished our tour by viewing a human powered Ferris wheel. It was pretty amazing!
We will be having dinner at around 7:00 this evening and we will probably be turning in early in order to be fresh for our first day of work tomorrow.
Here are some photos of today: