Day 4: EIC Team Cultural Immersion

The alarm clocks started going off at 5am. The EIC team got ready and had their coffee (Ana got sugar for us to add in- one of the many things we take for granted). We packed our lunch sandwiches and headed out.

After the nearly two hour drive to the community’s school, we were greeted by the kids and their enthusiasm never fails to put a smile on our faces. Today, while half of us worked on the new playground for the school, the other half was divided into teams and went to visit the home of one of the members of the community. Sutherland, Bryanna, and Emil got to go first while Greg and I began mixing the cement and hauling gravel along with our other teammates left from IMG, Ivywise, and Flywire.

The home visits were an incredible experience on their own. Sutherland learned how the locals make their candy and got to make her own candy on the shape of a snake. Emil and Bryanna learned about the process of grinding corn to feed the family’s chickens and to make the dough for the tortillas. Corn is a very crucial part of Guatemalan’s diets as it’s used for the tortillas and served with every meal in Guatemala.

After 11am, Greg and I got put into our respective groups and walked over to the family we were visiting. Norma welcomed my group to her home and she walked us from the school to her family’s house. She lives about 10 minutes from the school and in the same land, she shares her home with her parent’s and one of her brothers. We had the pleasure of meeting her mother as well, whom mostly speaks the native language and just a bit of Spanish. Norma has 3 kids and you could see how as the generations get younger, they are starting to lose a lot of the native’s culture- starting with the language. However, Norma is adamant about teaching her children the customs of the people of Quiche, even if they don’t learn the language.

During the home visit she taught us how she sews the beautiful hair pieces that the women often wear in their head for special occasions. That’s how she makes her money. She also showed us how to make tortillas and had me try to make some- thankfully I’ve had some practice beforehand! At the end, we presented her with a few gifts that we brought for her and her family as a thank you for inviting us into her home. Norma and her children were very thankful for every single gift; once again reminding me how important the work that School The World and our teams do, and how thankful the community is for all of it.

During the afternoon, everyone worked extremely hard. We were tasked with finishing the floor on one of the three classrooms we are building. There was a lot of mixing and shoveling cement from one place to the other but we were able to finish most of it. As simple as this task may sound, mixing cement by hand is an incredibly arduous job. Needless to say, everyone was exhausted at the end of the day. Tomorrow, we will need to finish the rest of the floors for the other two classrooms so for tonight, we will all get plenty of rest!

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